The 2016 Resumed Review Conference relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (UNFSA) took place at U.N. Headquarters in Manhattan from May 23-27, 2016. The outcome document serves as an example of the challenges and limitations of international ocean governance.
In the years since the 2010 Resumed Review Conference, there has been positive news in the field of international conservation of the marine environment. Chile, Palau, and the United States have created new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in their Exclusive Economic Zones. In early 2015, representatives of 104 nations began drafting a legally enforceable international treaty, which is still under negotiation, for the protection of biodiverse areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). The treaty would limit unregulated activities on the High Seas and lead to the creation of a global MPA network.
The last thing the push for TSCA reform needs is another delay, and Senator Paul's unexpected interest in H.R. 2576 has caused just that. Under typical circumstances, a Member's focused interest in legislation is refreshing, and as today highlights, entirely too infrequent. In this instance, the circuitous road to TSCA reform is anything but typical—the complexity of the legislation has invited an unusual divisiveness that has frustrated passage—and delay is the enemy of the good.
Earlier this month, the Deepwater Horizon trustees quietly released their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which set out how the natural resource restoration monies totaling up to $8.8 billion will be “manage[d], implement[ed], and administ[ered]” over the long term. The SOPs therefore provide important details about how the restoration program will operate moving forward. The trustees approved these procedures on May 4, 2016.
Timing is everything. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, updating and reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which hasn’t been revised since its passage in 1976. The overwhelming vote (403–12) reflected the fact that the chemical industry, much of the environment community, and most other interested parties have agreed on the need for such reform for years, if not decades.
ELI was founded in 1969—a time when U.S. environmental law was in its infancy and needed a place for cultivation and growth (an imperative that is still incredibly relevant today given the interconnectedness and severity of conservation challenges across the globe). At that moment in time, individuals across the country looked around and saw rivers catching on fire, poor air quality making it hard for children to breathe, and unfettered toxic pollution.
Welcome to our new ELI Blog: Vibrant Environment. I hope that through this blog we will find ourselves talking both to long-time friends and partners as well as new readers. ELI is a big tent, and we are pleased to invite you into our community. With this blog, we hope to transcend what might often be our typical audience of environmental lawyers and practitioners and communicate about the important work that we are doing conversationally. The blog will provide a platform for ELI staff to comment on current events and projects.
Now that the proposed consent decree among the United States, five Gulf states, and BP has been released, there is greater certainty about the amount of funding that will flow to the Gulf for restoration and recovery efforts.
Last updated June 2, 2015