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Vibrant Environment

The Real Propaganda on Race

leaf
By Scott Fulton, President, Environmental Law Institute
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

It’s easy to grow numb in the face of the parade of problems our country has been experiencing, but news of the Trump Administration’s recent decision to defund diversity training across the federal government and to try to prevent federal contractors and grantees from engaging in such training jolted me with the force of a defibrillator. It is shocking that in the midst of a period of the worst racial unrest in many decades, this is what the Administration is bringing forward.

What Did CEQ Do?

White House
By James M. McElfish, Jr., Senior Attorney; Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program
Monday, September 14, 2020

Acting in response to Executive Order No. 13807, Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) rewrote the governmentwide regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) this year. CEQ published its proposal to substantially amend the NEPA rule on January 10, 2020, and published its final rule on July 16, 2020 (85 Fed. Reg. 43304). The new rule becomes effective today, September 14, 2020, and CEQ added language to the final rule to provide that it will apply directly to federal agency actions and preempt all “inconsistent” agency procedures as of that date.

A Road Map to Net-Zero? BLM’s Authority to Mitigate Climate Change on Public Lands

Public land
Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Almost one-quarter of all U.S. CO2 emissions come from fossil fuels extracted from public lands. Producing more than 274 million barrels of oil, 3.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas, and 302 million tons of coal each year, BLM’s management decisions have a significant impact on climate change. In this month’s issue of ELR—The Environmental Law Reporter, authors Jamie Gibbs Pleune, John Ruple, and Nada Wolff Culver argue that the Bureau has not only the authority, but a legal duty to mitigate climate change in its permitting decisions. Using existing legal structures, they provide a road map for requiring all new BLM oil and gas development to achieve net-zero emissions.

The Trade of Bats: Current Issues and Potential Solutions

Bat
By Laura Cadot, Research and Publications Intern, ELI
Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The trade of bats is an issue that has been brought to the forefront during COVID-19, a zoonotic disease outbreak that likely originated in wildlife trade and may even be linked to bats. However, we still lack sufficient understanding of the issues involved with bat trade at both the national and international levels.

E-Waste Management in Taiwan: A Replicable Model for the United States?

E-waste
By Paloma Quiroga, Research and Publications Intern
Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Among the dizzying array of commercials and advertisements we see every day, a new electronic product seems to join the lineup every other month. Almost like clockwork, for example, Apple releases its newest edition of the iPhone early in the fall. The company generates worldwide anticipation for the new model, with people frantically pre-ordering and lining up hours in advance to purchase a phone they only plan to use until the following year, when Apple will once again release a newer, sleeker generation of the iPhone.

COVID-19 Reveals Environmental Justice Gaps in National Environmental Policy

Air quality
By Ananya Bhattacharya, Research and Publications Intern, ELI
Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Numerous studies have shown that Black and Latinx communities in the United States face higher hospitalization and mortality rates from COVID-19 and are disproportionately harmed by the virus. While many cite comorbidities and underlying health issues as the reasons for this disparity, the root of this problem is systemic racism. Recent research has found that social determinants like access to healthcare, employment, and clean air and water are the true inequities that have made COVID-19 deadliest for communities of color.

ELPAR 2020: Opportunities and Challenges for FERC to Price Carbon Emissions

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Electricity generation, one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions, rarely accounts for the social cost of damages caused by carbon dioxide emissions. Embedding these costs into market rates is one way to address the pressing need for decarbonization. In this year’s Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review (ELPAR), a special issue of The Environmental Law Reporter, authors Bethany Davis Noll and Burcin Unel argue that addressing the price of emissions falls within the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The authors examine how imposing a cost on carbon aligns with FERC’s main goal of ensuring just and reasonable rates, and they explore opportunities and limits for FERC’s authority.

No Trespassing: The U.S. Environmental Movement’s Long History of Exclusion

road closed
By Dominic Scicchitano, Research Associate
Monday, July 27, 2020

In recent years, scholars, journalists, and activists have drawn attention to the sexist, racist, classist, and homophobic attitudes that surround the U.S. environmental movement. Though the movement’s problematic aspects may come as a surprise to some, the exclusionary nature of mainstream contemporary environmentalism is no accident. The crusade to address the nation’s environmental issues was designed this way from the outset.

Public Participation at a Distance: Engaging in Gulf Restoration Processes During the Pandemic

laptop
By Stephanie Oehler, Public Interest Law Fellow
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Public meetings are a fundamental component of many policymaking and planning processes, including the natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) process that aims to restore the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and the permitting and environmental review procedures for individual projects.

Remote Depositions—An Expert’s Perspective

drawing of person in web meeting
By A.J. Gravel , Senior Managing Director of Environmental Solutions, FTI Consulting
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

I have been deposed dozens of times over the course of my career as an expert in forensic history and environmental cost analysis. Due to COVID-19, however, I recently sat for my first remote deposition wherein all parties (myself, defending attorney, deposing attorney, court reporter, and observers) were in different locations across the country and were connected to the deposition using a digital platform.

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