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Vibrant Environment

MBTA Takings: A Bird’s Eye View

Migrating Canada Geese (Pixabay)
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) prohibits the taking and killing of migratory birds. But the statute is silent about indirect or unintentional taking or killing that occurs in connection with an otherwise lawful activity. Dueling DOI Solicitor’s Opinions issued by the Obama and Trump Administrations have only served to highlight the ambiguity in the MBTA’s requirements. In A Pendulum Seldom Stops in the Middle: Shifting Views on “Take” of Raptors and Other Migratory Birds, David Freudenthal (former Governor of Wyoming) and attorneys Steven P. Quarles and Rebecca Barho argue that congressional action ultimately is needed.

Helping NGOs Use Environmental Law to Combat Pollution: ELI Launches Environmental Public Interest Litigation Capacity-Building Project in China

ELI worked with the China Environmental Protection Foundation  and Tianjin Unive
By Zhuoshi Liu, Staff Attorney
Monday, July 9, 2018

The neck-breaking growth of the Chinese economy since the late 1970s has alleviated hundreds of millions of people from poverty and is one of the biggest economic achievements that the world has ever seen. However, the amazing growth and all of its benefits came at terrible expense to the environment and ecosystems.

U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Ninth Circuit’s Decision in Barrier Culverts Case

Coho Salmon in Washington (Photo: BLM)
By J. Nathanael Watson, Of Counsel, Stoel Rives LLP
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

On June 11, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 4-4 per curium decision (Justice Anthony Kennedy was recused) affirming the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Washington v. United States, often referred to as the “culverts case.” 

Connecting the Dots: ELI Discussion Series Helps Align Impact Assessment with Environmental Compliance and Enforcement

The Mekong River flows through 6 countries, creating significant transboundary E
By Emmett McKinney, Research Associate
Monday, June 11, 2018

Environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA), as well as compliance and enforcement, form two essential pillars in the foundation of sustainable development. To produce lasting benefits, these systems must work in tandem. As the Secretariat for the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement, ELI brought together over 160 people from 31 countries to exchange ideas on how to strengthen and harmonize these two frameworks. The presentations and recordings are available on the INECE website, here.

A Hard Look’s Gonna Come: The Energy Executive Order, NEPA, and the Social Cost of Carbon

The social cost of carbon quantifies the economic impact of greenhouse gas emiss
Wednesday, June 6, 2018

In March of last year, President Trump issued fossil-fuel friendly Executive Order No. 13783, Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth. Section 5 of this Order directed agencies to discontinue use of the “social cost of carbon” (SCC), a protocol developed under the Obama Administration to monetize the impacts of climate-related disasters and disruption.

The Burden of Unburdening: Administrative Law of Deregulation

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (Gage Skidmore)
By Serena Choi, Research and Publications Intern
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Over the last year, the Trump Administration has launched an extensive regulatory rollback effort, which notably included Executive Order No. 13771 and its two-for-one provision. On May 16, ELI hosted a seminar, “The Burden of Unburdening: Administrative Law of Deregulation,” which examined this deregulatory shift.

Taking Innovative Environmental Law and Policy Proposals From Academia to Practitioners and Policymakers

2018 Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review
By Linda Breggin, Senior Attorney, and John Hare-Grogg, Research Associate
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Some of the smartest people in our law school classes became law professors. But, chances are you don’t know much, if anything, about their academic work. Busy policymakers and legal practitioners simply don’t have the time to read long, heavily footnoted law review articles. Yet, buried in those dense law review articles can be important new and creative law and policy proposals. All too often, however, academics talk about those ideas among themselves, and their proposals are not informed by policymakers, let alone adopted in the law and policy arena.

ELI Supports Judiciary of Indonesia in Sound Adjudication of Environmental Cases

Smoke rising from Indonesia due to illegal burning of peatlands (NASA/GSFC)
By Christina Libre , Research Associate, and Alejandra Rabasa, Senior Attorney; Director, Judicial Education Program
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

This summer, ELI’s Judicial Program, in collaboration with the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) and experts from other corners of the globe, will host a week-long, capacity-building workshop to support members of the Indonesian judiciary in soundly adjudicating cases related to the degradation of natural resources. The project is funded by the Swedish Postcode Foundation, an innovative organization dedicated to seeking long-term solutions to local and global challenges.

Infrastructure Review and Permitting: Is Change in the Wind?

Devil’s Elbow Bridge in Waynesville, MO (Photo: Chuck Coker)
By Serena Choi, Research and Publications Intern
Monday, May 7, 2018

On February 12, 2018, following President Donald Trump’s announcement to rebuild the nation’s “crumbling” infrastructure in his first State of Union address, the White House submitted to Congress the Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America, a legislative roadmap on the Administration’s ambitious $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan.

Everglades Author Would Back Kids

Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a prominent environmental activist.
By Stephen R. Dujack, Editor, The Environmental Forum®
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The survivors of the horrible massacre at the high school in Parkland, Florida, have created a national movement in favor of measures to reduce gun violence. Firearms kill roughly as many Americans as does pollution and thus represent an equivalent threat to public health.