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Vibrant Environment

State Policies Are Still Needed to Reduce Radon Risk

Radon can enter homes in numerous ways (Photo: US EPA)
By Tobie Bernstein, Senior Attorney; Director, Indoor Environments and Green Buildings Program
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

January is National Radon Action Month, a good time for policymakers to consider what action they can take to address one of the most important—and preventable—indoor health risks facing their constituents. Radon is responsible for around 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year. That makes it the second leading cause of lung cancer overall and the leading cause among non-smokers, according to EPA.

2017 Year in Review

2017 Year in Review
By Scott Fulton, President, Environmental Law Institute
Wednesday, December 27, 2017

As we get ready to ring in the New Year, the editors of Vibrant Environment thought it might be nice to take a look back at some of the work ELI did in 2017.

The Environmental Justice Act of 2017: A Monumental Opportunity

Capitol Hill
By Scott W. Badenoch, Jr., Visiting Attorney
Monday, November 27, 2017

On October 24, 2017, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA) announced The Environmental Justice Act of 2017 (EJA), S. 1996, H.R. 4114, a bill focused on strengthening legal protections against environmental harms for communities of color, low-income communities, and indigenous communities. The EJA would be the first federal law of its kind, and follows in a 25 year legacy of legislative efforts, starting with the great Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) in the 1990s, to codify environmental justice (EJ) once and for all.

Courts Side With Developers in Pair of Dakota Access Pipeline Cases

DAPL
By Robert Kelsey, Associate Editor, Environmental Law Reporter
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

As reported in the Environmental Law Reporter’s Weekly Update this month, two cases involving the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline have been decided in the courts.

Chief among those cases was Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. Dakota Access. In that case, a district court held that the Dakota Access pipeline could continue to operate while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers corrects deficiencies in its environmental assessment for the project.

Environmental Protection in the Trump Era

Environmental Protection in the Trump Era
By John Pendergrass, Vice President, Programs and Publications
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Here at ELI, we’ve seen a growing demand for unbiased answers and analysis on how deregulatory initiatives by the Administration and Congress will impact environmental protection, governance, and the rule of law. To that end, we recently collaborated with the American Bar Association’s Civil Rights and Social Justice Section to publish an ebook to aid understanding of the legal mechanisms that the White House, federal agencies, and Congress are using to change the regulatory approach to environmental, natural resources, and health and safety protections. The book attempts to answer these questions: What are the pathways and potential impacts of these ongoing regulatory changes? What are the opportunities for the public and other stakeholders to engage relative to these initiatives?

Emerging Environmental Issues in Native Communities

ELI will examine emerging legal issues in Native American Communities.
By Cynthia Harris, Staff Attorney
Monday, September 18, 2017

Tribes and Native villages are demonstrating reinvigorated environmental activism as they face increased pressures on natural resource use. Consequently, some of the most significant new developments in environmental law are occurring in Indian country. This month, ELI features a two-part webinar series on “Emerging Environmental Issues in Native Communities.”

This Month in ELR - The State of Environmental Justice: An Obama Administration Retrospective

Nuclear power plant, Tihange
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pres. Barack Obama made a number of promises related to environmental justice when he hit the 2008 campaign trail: he said he would strengthen the EPA Office of Environmental Justice, expand the environmental justice small grants program, and empower minority communities to respond to health threats. For the most part, he delivered.

This Month in ELR—Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, and Access to Water

Native American totem pole, Ketchikan, Alaska, Jeremy Keith
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Access to water is a fundamental climate change issue. It is related to significant political, social, and ecological struggles that indigenous peoples face internationally and here in the United States, as recent protests at the Dakota Access Pipeline clearly illustrate. Yet, governments and courts have done little to address such climate change inequities. So argues Dr. Itzchak Kornfeld, the Giordano Research Fellow at the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in The Impact of Climate Change on American and Canadian Indigenous Peoples and Their Water Resources.

Environmental Literacy is a Key to Overcoming Climate Denial

Children in class, Amanda Mills
By Stephen R. Dujack, Editor, The Environmental Forum®
Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The sage lexicographers at the Oxford Dictionary chose the hyphenated couplet post-truth as the Word of the Year for 2016 — twelve months that saw made-up facts supersede real facts on a daily basis. An analysis by BuzzFeed concluded that “in the final three months of the U.S. presidential campaign, the top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets” including the New York Times, Washington Post, and 17 others — combined.

How Federal Agencies Are Improving Consideration of Environmental Justice in the NEPA Processes

Factory smokestack
By James M. McElfish, Jr., Senior Attorney; Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program
Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Earlier this year, more than a dozen federal agencies produced a new resource document that pulls together methods that they use to evaluate environmental justice (EJ) concerns when preparing environmental analysis of proposed actions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

This new document, Promising Practices for EJ Methodologies in NEPA Reviews (the Promising Practices report), was the product of more than three years of work by a NEPA Committee established by the federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice.