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Vibrant Environment

Tribal Energy Project Development

windmills
By Stella Pritchard, Intern
Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Tribal Energy Project, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program, aims to advance renewable energy sufficiency on tribal lands through government assistance. This assistance is three-pronged, providing financial support, technical and legal assistance, and tribal education and training on renewable energies. The goal is to improve tribal economies by using land to create more sustainable energy pathways that bolster the tribal community and create jobs within tribal nations.

Disinformation: Public Enemy Number One

Question marks
By Scott Fulton, President, Environmental Law Institute
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

One of the great things about working at ELI is the regular infusion of fresh perspectives. At any given time, about 20 percent of the staff consists of students and recent graduates, most of whom are with us temporarily. The applicant pool for these jobs is incredibly competitive, guaranteeing that some of the brightest young minds in the country will always be in residence at the Institute.

What We Learned From COVID-19: Opportunities for Reframing Environmental Law

Earth covered by COVID-19
Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Already under ever-increasing threats from climate change, the world faced another crisis in 2020: the COVID-19 pandemic. A public health emergency of this scale requires swift and effective policy action—but in many cases, the United States fell short, revealing ongoing failures to address systemic injustices exacerbated by the disease. In this month’s issue of ELR—The Environmental Law Reporter, members of the Environmental Law Collaborative, an affiliation of environmental law professors, examine the country’s legal responses to COVID-19, offering thoughts about pandemic ripple effects and their implications for environmental policy, as well as potential opportunities going forward. The article is excerpted from their book, Environmental Law, Disrupted, to be published by ELI Press later this year.

Leveraging Federal Relief Funds to Create Healthier Schools

Apple on stack of books
By Tobie Bernstein, Senior Attorney; Director, Indoor Environments and Green Buildings Program, and Jessica Sugarman, Research Associate
Wednesday, June 9, 2021

As summer approaches, school systems throughout the United States are planning for in-person and hybrid learning next fall. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Congress has appropriated $190 billion to assist those efforts; the recent American Rescue Plan Act alone provides around $122 billion for PK-12 public education.

Tying the West’s Energy Knot: Challenges and Recommendations in Interstate Transmission Siting (Part 3)

Solar voltaic system
By Nareg Kuyumjian, Research and Publications Intern, ELI
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Parts One and Two of this blog series covered the debate and regulatory framework regarding interstate electricity transmission. Part Three will conclude the series by identifying key challenges energy policymakers should expect to face regarding interstate transmission siting, and policy recommendations on how to mitigate them.

When in Doubt, Reach Out: The Role of Environmental Ombudsmen in Compliance Assistance

Leaves of an oak tree
By Kevin Si, Research and Publications Intern, ELI
Friday, May 28, 2021

Local and tribal governments are on the hook to meet a multitude of environmental requirements. Consider the effort needed to comply with NPDES permitting requirements for municipal wastewater and stormwater facilities, drinking water standards for public water systems under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and regulations governing municipal landfills under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, to name just a few. Hard-working officials and environmental managers must ensure that these requirements are met, often with their agencies strapped for funding and operating with a limited staff.

Now Is the Time to Address the Hidden Health Risks of Home Cooking

Cooking over a stove top, Joshua Resnick/shutterstock.com
By Amy Reed, Senior Attorney
Monday, May 17, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has focused increased attention on indoor air quality and ventilation. Yet, many people remain unaware of the health risks posed by an activity that occurs every day in their homes: cooking.

Tying the West’s Energy Knot: The Regulatory Framework of Interstate Electricity Transmission (Part 2)

Wind mills at sunset
By Nareg Kuyumjian, Research and Publications Intern, ELI
Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Part One of this blog series discussed interstate electricity transmission as an integral part of grid resilience through a California and Western EIM case study. Part Two builds on this background by evaluating the regulatory framework that underpins the division of transmission siting authority and analyzing its legal implications.

Tying the West’s Energy Knot: Interstate Transmission Development (Part 1)

Solar photovoltaic panels
By Nareg Kuyumjian, Research and Publications Intern, ELI
Monday, May 10, 2021

Last August, over half a million California residents simultaneously lost power during the state’s first rolling blackout in 20 years. Critics of renewable energy have pointed to California’s recent gains in wind and solar power penetration to argue that the large-scale outage suggests a correlation between increased variable renewable energy and increased grid vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, in an analysis released in January, CAISO, California’s energy market operator, attributed the large-scale outage to a climate change-induced heat wave, which led electricity demand to exceed existing resource adequacy. In the same report, CAISO proposes “consideration of transmission build out” to overcome transmission constraints across multiple interstate electricity lines as a key to preventing future outages. Whether and how to move electrons across state borders, however, has been at the center of California’s energy transition debate for years.

NEPA Compliance and Litigation: Maybe Not as Burdensome as Some Think

Courthouse
By Hallie Ruttum, J.D. Candidate, Vanderbilt University Law School, and Linda Breggin, Senior Attorney; Director of the Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs
Wednesday, May 5, 2021

In “Measuring the NEPA Litigation Burden: A Review of 1,499 Federal Court Cases,” Prof. John C. Ruple and Kayla M. Race quantitatively demonstrate that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance and litigation burdens may be overstated—findings they argue should inform any revisions to NEPA. The article was originally published in Lewis & Clark Law School’s Environmental Law in 2020. The piece was also selected as a top 20 article for the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review in 2020, an ELI-Vanderbilt Law School project that identifies innovative environmental law and policy proposals each year.

All blog posts are the opinion of its author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of ELI the organization or its members.