Posts By: VJEL


by Kerianne Morrissey  The ongoing threat of climate change leads to an increasing number of disasters every year. Animal agriculture is one of the drivers contributing to the acceleration of global warming.[1] In the United States, the current emergency preparedness legal frameworks, at both the state and federal levels, are inadequate. The framework provides exceptions… Read more »

How the Tides have Shifted for Virginia Energy Policy in 2020

By Antonia Douglas Under Governor Northam’s direction, Virginia’s Energy Policy shifted quite dramatically from when he first took office in January 2018 to what we have at the end of the 2020 Legislative Session. For years, legislators, policymakers, and business – Dominion Energy – have been avoiding the writing on the wall that climate change… Read more »

Rural Farm Electrification

By Max Matt Roughly 9 percent of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions come from the agriculture sector.[1] As with transportation, electricity generation, commercial, and industrial activities, this fact begs the question: what can we do about it? Some activities within agriculture emit greenhouse gases inherently – for example: cows burping.[2] Until, a recently-discovered, cow… Read more »

You Can’t Check This Box: A Win for Environmental Justice

by Jerry Thomas             In a stark contrast to the decision in St. Francis Prayer Ctr. v. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (hereafter, Select Steel), the Fourth Circuit in Friends of Buckingham v. State Air Pollution Control Board delivered a major victory for environmental justice (EJ). Select Steel created something called the rebuttable presumption defense; because… Read more »


by Jacqueline R. Waller Environmental Justice is the latest civil rights movement in the United States. Can someone say, “Finally!” But what is environmental justice? Environmental justice is the fight for equal environmental protection under the law, that includes the right to work and play in safe and healthy communities, and communities free of life-threatening… Read more »

Origin of Livestock Provision in Nat. Organic Program

By Alida Mooney Walking up to Kiss the Cow farm is like strolling into a children’s book. Nestled into the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains, Kiss the Cow is home to nine milking cows, five heifers, and a hearty colony of chickens, turkeys, and ducks darting between the legs of the farmers and scuttling around…. Read more »

Pesticide Warning Labels: We Need Transparency

By Kenny Bozarth             In its most recent review, the EPA concluded that Roundup is safe if used as directed.[1] Further, the EPA found that there are no risks to children who play in residential areas treated with Roundup.[2] The EPA states there is no evidence that glyphosate-based weed-killers cause cancer by considering a “significantly… Read more »

We Need Lawyers that ‘Speak Science’ Now More than Ever!

By Erin Miller On Thursday, March 26, 2020, the EPA released a statement explaining that they will stop enforcing environmental regulations because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This unprecedented decision to put in place a temporary policy which gives the EPA discretion to refrain from enforcing civil violations during this pandemic will certainly have long lasting… Read more »

Changes to Renewable Energy Growth: The Death of the ITC and Decline in Production from COVID-19

By Brian Pattison The largest growing source of energy generation in the world is currently renewable energy.[1] An EIA report from January, 2019 forecasts that renewable energy will continue to increase at a sharp rate as coal-fired and nuclear generation decreases each year.[2] Utility-scale solar is expected to grow by 10% in 2019 and an… Read more »

Earth Day’s 50th Sees Explosion in Rights of Nature Movement Worldwide

Linda Sheehan, April 2020 The 50th anniversary of Earth Day, expected to be celebratory, arrives at a somber moment. COVID-19 human tragedies continue to ravage communities, and UN Environment warns that “nature is sending us a message” we must heed to avoid future pandemics. This Earth Day demands both deep reflection and bold action…. Read more »