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Vibrant Environment

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.

Building Partnerships to Implement Restoration Projects

Wetlands landscape
By Russell Furnari , Manager of Environmental Policy Enterprise, Public Service Enterprise Group
Monday, June 7, 2021

Effectively addressing the ever-evolving challenges for coastal communities is a daunting task, one that requires the coordinated effort of government, nongovernmental organizations, and corporations. In a time of limited resources and increased requirements for cost-sharing to obtain government funding for local projects, the support of all stakeholders is required if we are to effectively address community and environmental needs.

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.

A Breeding Ground for Wetlands Preservation

A shallow and humble vernal pool holds a secret under its surface - thousands of
By Sonja Michaluk , Research Scientist and First-Year Student at Carnegie Mellon University
Tuesday, June 1, 2021

I am honored to be invited as a guest blogger for ELI’s Vibrant Environment Blog. As a first-year student at Carnegie Mellon University, I am studying computational genomics, statistics, and water sustainability.

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.

Visionaries: Working Together to Restore Wetlands in Rhode Island

Point Judith Light at Narragansett Bay
By Wenley Ferguson, Director of Habitat Restoration, Save The Bay
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Paul McElroy saw potential for restoration in areas often overlooked and considered blighted by most. From the banks of the Woonasquatucket River to an abandoned landfill in Narragansett Bay, he saw what could be.

Wetlands Warrior Lauren Driscoll Recognized for National Wetlands Leadership

Lauren Driscoll
By Marcus Humberg, Communications Specialist, Washington State Department of Ecology
Monday, May 24, 2021

As we celebrate National Wetlands Month in May, one of the Washington State Department of Ecology’s best and brightest—and a longtime “hero” of Washington State’s wetlands—Lauren Driscoll has been recognized for her lifetime of wetlands program development work by ELI.

The Reclamation Project: Engaging Community for 15 Years Through Participatory Eco-Art

Reclamation Project installation of mangrove propagules
By Xavier Cortada, Artist and Professor of Practice, University of Miami’s Department of Art and Art History
Thursday, May 20, 2021

I was introduced to mangroves early in my childhood during family trips to Bear Cut in Key Biscayne, Florida—the same plants that grew in my family’s hometown on the northern coast of Cuba. In 2003, I first used mangrove imagery in my artwork as a metaphor for the immigrant. I imagined the mangrove propagules floating along the water and setting root on a sandbar. Little by little they would grow alongside each other, capture sediment, create land, and build new habitats. Like immigrants in a community who come together to support one another, the roots of each mangrove tree come together to create a formidable structure that protects against the dangers of storm surge.