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Vibrant Environment

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.

Getting to the Meat of the Matter

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting a variety of industries, from travel to retail to restaurants. But perhaps the hardest-hit are meat and poultry processing plants, which have been experiencing outbreaks throughout the United States. In April, President Trump issued an Executive Order declaring these plants “critical infrastructure” to make sure they stay open, and the number of cases in these plants continued to rise in the days and weeks that followed. According to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, as of June 15 there have been over 25,000 reported positive cases tied to meatpacking facilities in at least 235 plants in 33 states, and at least 90 reported worker deaths at 39 plants in 24 states.

Perspectives From Our Wetland Heroes: Part 3

By Trinity Favazza, Founder, Action for Amphibians, and Rob Wade , Outdoor Education and Science Coordinator, Plumas County Office of Education
Friday, May 15, 2020

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is pleased to announce the winners of the 31st Annual National Wetlands Awards: Mark Beardsley; John W. Day Jr.; Trinity Favazza; Ted LaGrange; Sam Lovall; and Robert Wade. Together, these awardees have restored, researched, and protected thousands of acres of wetlands nationwide; their examples have inspired many members of their community to act and make a difference to protect and improve these vital natural resources.

Perspectives From Our Wetland Heroes: Part 2

By John W. Day, Professor Emeritus, Louisiana State University, and Sam Lovall, Friends of the Detroit River
Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is pleased to announce the winners of the 31st Annual National Wetlands Awards: Mark Beardsley; John W. Day Jr.; Trinity Favazza; Ted LaGrange; Sam Lovall; and Robert Wade. Together, these awardees have restored, researched, and protected thousands of acres of wetlands nationwide; their examples have inspired many members of their community to act and make a difference to protect and improve these vital natural resources.

Perspectives From Our Wetland Heroes: Part 1

By Ted LaGrange , Wetland Program Manager, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and Mark Beardsley, Principal of EcoMetrics and founder of Riparian Reconnect in Buena Vista, Colorado
Monday, May 11, 2020

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is pleased to announce the winners of the 31st Annual National Wetlands Awards: Mark Beardsley; John W. Day Jr.; Trinity Favazza; Ted LaGrange; Sam Lovall; and Robert Wade. Together, these awardees have restored, researched, and protected thousands of acres of wetlands nationwide; their examples have inspired many members of their community to act and make a difference to protect and improve these vital natural resources.

NEPA: Time for a Tune-Up

By Dava Kaitala, General Director, Construction Permitting and Sustainability, BNSF, and John Lovenburg
Friday, December 27, 2019

The passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was a seminal moment in the history of U.S. environmental federal policy, advancing protection of the environment in decisionmaking. Unfortunately, the process has become increasingly cumbersome, lengthy, and frustrating to many parties.  Moving forward, an improved focus on the quality and alignment of decisions is needed.

Giving a Green Light to Green Streets

By Cynthia R. Harris, Staff Attorney; Director of Tribal Programs; Deputy Director of the Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs
Friday, November 22, 2019

Urban areas are a significant source of pollution entering streams, lakes, and rivers because of stormwater runoff produced by impermeable surfaces such as asphalt and concrete, which prevent water from being absorbed and naturally filtered. The conventional strategy for managing urban stormwater is through gray infrastructure, such as gutters, pipes, and basins. But today, many localities are using green infrastructure, conserving or mimicking natural spaces and processes to retain and infiltrate stormwater where it is generated.

A Future Without Fertilizer: How Microbes Are Changing Traditional Agriculture Practices

By Mackenzie Allen, Research & Publications Intern
Monday, October 21, 2019

Present-day food consumption relies on high-yielding crops, and these high-yielding crops rely on nitrogen to be able to deliver 40-60% of the world’s food supply. Typically, synthetic nitrogen is provided to crops through the use of fertilizers. In 2015, an estimated 3.54 billion people were fed by synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.

Wetlands Then and Now: Nominations for the 31st National Wetlands Awards Now Open

By Dominic Scicchitano, Research Associate
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

During the 19th century’s period of rapid population growth, America’s wetlands were largely considered to be an eyesore and an obstacle to development. These were bodies of water that needed to be drained in order to make way for agriculture, buildings, and major roadways. The successive Swamp Land Acts of 1849, 1850, and 1860 turned titles of federally owned swamp and “overflowed” land over to states, who in turn agreed to drain the land to make it fit for cultivation.

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