Posts Categorized: EcoPerspectives Blog

Zero Trash: Using the Clean Water Act to Control Marine Debris in California

Summary:  Trash that is lost, littered, blown, or washed into the ocean is an issue of growing environmental concern.  Los Angeles is a leader in using the federal Clean Water Act tool of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) to mitigate a major contributing source of marine trash: urban stormwater.  California is now in the process… Read more »

All Dried Up: Tensions Rise over Water Shortage in California

Summary: California is currently in the midst of a severe drought that poses substantial risks to agriculture, endangered species, and human society. Water scarcity has caused tensions to ignite among various groups within California. With the drought ongoing, Californians must consider new ways to preserve their limited water resources. ________________________________________ By Laurie Ristino and Joseph… Read more »

China’s Emissions Trading Plan

Summary: In 2016, the Chinese government plans to launch a national market for carbon permit trading. In preparation for this national system, the government rolled out seven test markets, which saw varying degrees of compliance. Overall, there have been no reductions in carbon emissions. But, the system is not doomed. There are several reasons for… Read more »

The Toledo Water Ban: More Money, More Chemicals, More Problems

Summary: The city of Toledo, Ohio issued a water ban on August 2–3, 2014 after a local treatment plant found unsafe levels of microcystin, a type of harmful algal bloom known to cause health defects and even death when ingested. Due to the amount of unregulated agriculture in Ohio, phosphorus and other nutrients that runoff into… Read more »

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Koontz?

Summary: The Supreme Court’s recent exactions decision in Koontz v. St. Johns Water Management District has prompted concerns that it will stifle the compensatory mitigation practices of environmental and natural resources permitting agencies. The form of Koontzphobia is unfounded for three reasons: (1) the statutes and regulations under which the agencies work already require the… Read more »

Alaska’s Atmospheric Public Trust: A Right Without a Remedy?

Summary: A glimmer of (false) hope for public trust plaintiffs.  The Alaska Supreme Court suggested Alaskans might have a right to atmosphere, but declined to provide a remedy.  Adam Murray, of the U.W. Arctic Law & Policy Institute, explains why. ________________________________________ By Adam Patrick Murray Atmospheric public trust plaintiffs are running out of options. The… Read more »

Sustainable Development through Model Forests on the Island of Enchantment

Summary: Though the U.S. Constitution does not have an explicit right to a safe environment, many commonwealths, including Puerto Rico, do. For decades natural resources on the Island of Enchantment have been threatened. As a result, legislation has been enacted in order to protect the environment for future generations. The proposed Puerto Rican Model Forest… Read more »

Where the Wild Things Are: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Wilderness Act

Summary: Thanks to the Wilderness Act, nearly 110 million acres across the United States are forever protected in their naturally pristine state. This month, the Wilderness Act celebrates its 50th anniversary. Considered to be the highest degree of land protection,  “wilderness areas” demonstrate an enduring commitment to preserving our natural heritage. “If future generations are… Read more »

Change Policy in Rhode Island: A Personal Perspective

Summary: Allen Smith, a rising 3L at Vermont Law School, spent the summer in Rhode Island working on climate change policy in both the Statehouse and the Department of Environmental Management. While not only seeing a Climate Bill signed into law, but also being an active part of the implementation process with various state agencies, Smith… Read more »

No News is Not Good News for BLM’s Proposed Rule on Hydraulic Fracking on Federal and Tribal Lands

Summary: The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) highly controversial proposed rule would establish baseline environmental safeguards for the hydraulic fracturing of natural gas on federal and Indian mineral lands. Although BLM’s proposed rule is a good first step in creating a uniform federal scheme for regulating hydraulic fracturing, after about a year of sifting through… Read more »