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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.

D.C.’s Flushable Wipes Law Gets Clogged in District Court

Flushable wipes (Your Best Digs / Flickr)
By Robert Kelsey, Associate Editor, Environmental Law Reporter
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Flushable wipes have proven to not be so flushable and are wreaking havoc on some of the world’s major cities. Municipalities like New York City, spend millions of dollars to remedy clogging issues the wipes cause. New York City officials said in 2015 that "wipe-related equipment problems," have cost the city more than $18 million since 2010.

James W. Rubin, Esq.—A Life Well Lived

In Remembrance of Jim Rubin
By Ignacia S. Moreno, CEO & Principal, The iMoreno Group, PLC, Ethan G. Shenkman, Partner, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, Russell F. Smith III , Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2010-2017., and Tseming Yang, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law
Wednesday, January 3, 2018

At James W. Rubin’s memorial service on November 4, 2017, a vast network of friends and colleagues remembered him for his brilliant mind, relentless spirit, infectious sense of humor, and unwavering dedication to his family. The four of us consider ourselves fortunate to have worked closely with Jim at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) and to be his friends.

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.

Ninth Circuit Reinforces Executive Power to Withdraw Public Lands From Mining Extraction

The Colorado River, Grand Canyon
By Robert Kelsey, Associate Editor, Environmental Law Reporter
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Following President Trump’s announcement that he was reducing the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, there have been questions as to the extent of the executive branch’s power to manage federal lands. The announcement has put the Antiquities Act, which grants the president the authority to protect federal lands, under a microscope. Recently, two cases concerning the U.S.

Human Rights Day 2017: A Reflection on Human Rights and Environmental Rule of Law

Eleanor Roosevelt and the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights
By Nora Moraga-Lewy, Research Associate
Monday, December 11, 2017

December 10, 2018, will mark the 70th anniversary of the U.N. General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The Declaration outlines inalienable rights entitled to every human being, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, language, political or other affiliation, social or national origin, birth, or other status.

Carbon Capture and Sequestration: A Step Toward Deep Decarbonization?

Coal power plant emissions (Pixabay).
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Last month, Trump Administration officials attended the latest round of U.N. climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany, but they weren’t there to discuss reducing emissions. Rather, they touted the promises of nuclear energy, natural gas, “clean coal,” and carbon capture. This is not surprising, given the President’s views on climate policy and his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. But even had Trump decided otherwise, the current Agreement does not do enough to reduce the risk of catastrophic climate change.

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.

Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade: Many Targets, But No Silver Bullets

African elephant in Botswana (Sponchia / Pixabay).
By John Hare-Grogg, Research Associate, Benjamin Solomon-Schwartz, Public Interest Law Fellow, and Carl Bruch, Senior Attorney; Director, International Programs
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

International illegal wildlife trade (IWT) threatens global biodiversity, imperils certain charismatic species, and fuels organized crime. Wildlife trafficking is the world’s fourth most lucrative crime, after only the trafficking of drugs, humans, and arms. Approximately 350 million plants and animals are sold on the black market every year, with an estimated value of between US $7 billion and $23 billion.

Achim Steiner Receives ELI’s Environmental Achievement Award

Achim Steiner
By Laura Frederick, Grants & Development Writer
Monday, November 6, 2017

On October 18th, the Environmental Law Institute hosted its annual ELI Award Dinner. Affectionately known as the “environmental law prom,” over 650 of the best and brightest environmental professionals from across the country descended upon Washington, D.C., to connect with colleagues and honor this year’s winner of the ELI Environmental Achievement Award.