ELI Primary Menu

Skip to main content

Vibrant Environment

Strengthening Rental Housing Policies to Improve Public Health

The New York City Council recently moved to strengthen indoor air quality protec
By Amy Streitwieser, Staff Attorney
Monday, March 12, 2018

Earlier this year, the New York City Council took a notable step forward in addressing common indoor environmental health hazards. The Council passed Law 2018/055, which amends the city’s housing maintenance code to require private landlords to prevent and remediate indoor asthma triggers in their multifamily residential buildings.

Bonus Round: ELI Brainstorms New Ideas for Serious Games

Games can produce valuable information about strategies for taking on environmen
By Emmett McKinney, Research Associate, Azi Akpan, Research Associate, Lovinia Reynolds , Research Associate, and John Hare-Grogg, Research Associate
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Games are not always, well, fun and games. Or maybe they are—which is their greatest strength. As noted by a 2011 article in The Economist, “The main reason why games are different is that they marry the power of modern technology to the insatiable human desire for play.” Lengthy reports often fail to reach their target audiences or deliver information in an engaging format. “Serious games” can be tremendously valuable for developing new approaches to address social challenges. By allowing their audience to interact with the content, play different roles, test out ideas, fail and learn, and change their strategy, games provide effective frameworks for engaging with (and maybe finding solutions to) emerging social, economic, and environmental challenges.

SCOOP & STACK Causing Cracks: Oklahoma Tightens Regulations to Curb Fracking Earthquakes

A USGS map reveals the dramatic increase in seismic activity in Oklahoma (USGS).
By Miriam Aczel, Visiting Researcher, Environmental Law Institute
Monday, March 5, 2018

After a slew of earthquakes triggered from shale oil and gas operations, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), the state’s oil and gas regulator, released new rules designed to reduce seismic activity. Hydraulic fracturing—fracking—is being used in combination with horizontal drilling to extract shale oil and gas in what has been called the “US’s hottest new area for horizontal development” in the state’s SCOOP [1] and STACK [2] shale plays, located in the Anadarko Basin.

Pearls of Wisdom From a Mississippi Fisherman: A Conversation With Ryan Bradley (Why I Participate in Gulf Restoration)

on Gulf Spill Restoration
By Azi Akpan, Research Associate
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Historically, the Gulf Coast region has produced more seafood than anywhere else in the continental U.S., both in volume and dollar value. Before the BP oil spill, in 2009, the Gulf seafood industry provided over 213,000 full- and part-time jobs. The oil spill has had a devastating impact on people working in the Gulf’s seafood industry. As a result of the BP oil spill, over 88,000 square miles of the Gulf’s federal waters—nearly 37%—were closed to fishing. There were also fishing closures in the state waters of Alabama (40% closed), Florida (2% closed), Louisiana (55% closed), and Mississippi (95% closed). Fishermen are still facing financial instability years after the spill, and have observed significant declines in landings and stock quality. Here, we highlight one Gulf fisherman’s perspective.

Offshore and Still on the Horizon, Part 2: President Trump’s Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Plan

An oil platform off the coast of California (arbyreed/Flickr)
By Jay Austin, Senior Attorney; Editor-in-Chief, Environmental Law Reporter®
Monday, February 26, 2018

As readers of this blog know, a recent refrain in environmental law has been “can he do that?” – the ongoing reexamination of presidential and executive branch authority in light of a dizzying array of proposed reversals, revisions, and rescissions of existing policies and rules. At ELI, we’ve attempted to answer that question through our “Environmental Protection in the Trump Era” report, which will get updated later this spring. My own contributions have included the chapter on offshore oil and gas drilling, as well as a more detailed look at last April’s Executive Order 13795 on “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” which extends the new watchword of “energy dominance” to the outer continental shelf.

“New Arctic” Is a Dream Meltdown

Inukshuks near Baffin Bay (Wikimedia Commons)
By Stephen R. Dujack, Editor, The Environmental Forum®
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I went to the North Pole in April, the favored month for travel in the High Arctic. That was 16 years ago. According to the 2017 National Climate Assessment, the region’s warming began accelerating around the time of my visit. It is no longer the same frozen ecology and economy I had seen.

War and Peace: Colombia’s Environmental Degradation Paradox

Policía Antinarcóticos  stand on guard after burning a coca laboratory near Tuma
By Nora Moraga-Lewy, Research Associate
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Colombia’s government and FARC rebels signed a historic peace accord in late 2016, ending a civil war that caused over 220,000 deaths and the internal displacement of over 7 million people. In addition to devastating lives and livelihoods, the civil war was destructive to the environment. Following historic negotiations and the congressional ratification of a revised agreement, Colombia still faces environmental risks in a time of relative peace. It is crucial that ongoing talks and reforms in the wake of over five decades of conflict take these factors into account in order to ensure sustained peace and development for the future.

Measuring Up: Smart Meter Lessons From the United Kingdom

Smart meters can bring many benefits for both energy utilities and consumers (
By Miriam Aczel, Visiting Researcher, Environmental Law Institute
Monday, February 12, 2018

Smart meters—small, electronic devices that track and record energy consumption and communicate information back to the electrical utility—can reduce energy use by empowering consumers with the ability to monitor energy use and make better choices. Smart meters are an upgrade to outdated analog meters because they automatically record information in real time instead of requiring someone to manually record and transmit the collected data.

Of Frogs and Men

Are frogs better than humans at responding to slow threats?
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

In An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore famously used the example of a slowly boiled frog as a metaphor for climate change. That turns out not to be accurate, as biologists say the frog is smart enough to jump out of the pot long before it becomes frog soup. But the problem Gore described is real enough.

Public Health Consequences of Hurricane Harvey Continue to Unfold

Hurricane Harvey poses health risks, even after floodwaters have subsided (DoD).
By Christina Libre , Research Associate
Monday, February 5, 2018

Just over five months have elapsed since Hurricane Harvey battered the Texas Coast, dropping more than 50 inches of rain on parts of the Houston area. The storm’s devastation was swift, killing 88 people and displacing many thousands. Yet, Harvey’s full impacts continue to unfold. Beyond imposing huge material losses, the storm has taken a significant toll on the health of those in its wake. It may be wise to understand storm events like Harvey not only as short-term physical disruptors, but as public health crises that will likely unfold over many years, long after media attention and political will to respond may have cooled.