Posts Categorized: EcoPerspectives Blog

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 »

Back to the Future: Environmental Drones Crash into Constitutional Protections

Summary: New drone technology is offering environmental groups an innovative way to ensure compliance with environmental laws. Drones can collect images at a distance while providing environmental groups with important information about ecosystems or with incriminating evidence of individuals who violate the law. Although drone use can provide benefits to environmental advocates in furthering their… Read more »

Starting with a Messy Slate: The Role of Environmental Law in Haiti after the 2010 Earthquake

 Summary: The country of Haiti does not have a history of effective environmental regulation and this has continued after the devastating 2010 earthquake due to a lack of political and economic infrastructure. Deforestation, air and water pollution, and lack of sanitation systems have led to public health problems and resource scarcity. However, by internalizing the… Read more »

EME Homer City v. EPA: Another Victory for Clean Air

 Summary: While many of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions this term were controversial, the air quality cases were marked victories for the environment. One of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions, EME Homer City Generation v. EPA, upheld the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, (CSAPR). By reinstating CSAPR, the Court sustained EPA’s efforts to improve the National… Read more »

Opinion of the Court in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA Displays a Curious Alignment of Justices

Summary: Last week the Supreme Court handed down its second Clean Air Act case of the term, Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA. This plain English guide to the Supreme Court’s opinion summarizes its three holdings, split 5-4, 5-4, and 7-2. It also assesses implications for EPA, business, and industry. ________________________________________ By Christopher D. Ahlers Assistant… Read more »

Of National Monuments and Men: Organs Mountain-Desert Peaks and President Obama’s Use of the Antiquities Act

Summary: President Obama recently declared the Organs Mountain-Desert Peaks as a national monument only months after the House of Representatives passed a bill that would curtail his authority to do so under the Antiquities Act. In order to appease critics of broad executive authority, President Obama must use the Antiquities Act in a manner that… Read more »

The Opaque Hand: Making Social (and perhaps Environmental) Change through Capital Markets

 Summary: In 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  Deep in this bulwark of financial regulatory overhaul, Congress passed a provision aimed to achieve a purely social good by requiring manufacturers to disclose their supply chains for minerals believed to fund the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  This… Read more »

Muddy Clarity for Farming: EPA’s Proposed “Waters of the United States” Definition


Summary: This EcoPerspective discusses the EPA’s and Army Corps of Engineers’ attempt at redefining the meaning of  “waters of the United States.” Since the Supreme Court decision in Rapanos v. United States, the jurisdictional reach of those agencies over waters with a significant nexus to navigable waters has been somewhat unclear. However, the agencies’ new… Read more »

Of Plastic and Playgrounds: Re-Thinking the Relationship Between Work, Recreation, and the Environment

Bouldering_JDbend 2

Summary: This EcoPerspective takes a critical look at the indirect effects of outdoor recreation on the environment. Large numbers of people are inspired through recreation and related activities to protect the wild and untrammeled places left in the world. But recreation, in itself, has its own environmental consequences. The desire alone to protect these natural… Read more »