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Agency Statutory Abnegation In The Deregulatory Playbook, William W. Buzbee May 2019

Agency Statutory Abnegation In The Deregulatory Playbook, William W. Buzbee

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

If an agency newly declares that it lacks statutory power previously claimed, how should such a move—what this article calls agency statutory abnegation—be reviewed? Given the array of strategies an agency might use to make a policy change or move the law in a deregulatory direction, why might statutory abnegation be chosen? After all, it is always a perilous and likely doctrinally disadvantageous strategy for agencies. Nonetheless, agencies from time to time have utilized statutory abnegation claims as part of their justification for deregulatory shifts. Actions by agencies during 2017 and 2018, under the administration of President Donald ...


The Federal Government Has An Implied Moral Constitutional Duty To Protect Individuals From Harm Due To Climate Change: Throwing Spaghetti Against The Wall To See What Sticks, Hope M. Babcock May 2019

The Federal Government Has An Implied Moral Constitutional Duty To Protect Individuals From Harm Due To Climate Change: Throwing Spaghetti Against The Wall To See What Sticks, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The continuing failure of the federal government to respond to the growing threat of climate change, despite affirmative duties to do so, creates a governance vacuum that the Constitution might help fill, if such a responsibility could be found within the document. This Article explores textual and non-textual constitutional support for that responsibility, finding that no single provision of the Constitution is a perfect fit for that responsibility. However, the document as a whole might support constitutionalizing an environmental protection norm as an individual right or affirmative government obligation given the norm's importance to the enjoyment of other constitutional ...


From Paris To Pittsburgh: U.S. State And Local Leadership In An Era Of Trump, Vicki Arroyo Apr 2019

From Paris To Pittsburgh: U.S. State And Local Leadership In An Era Of Trump, Vicki Arroyo

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

States and cities have long been leaders on clean energy and climate policy. Their work has informed development of federal policies including motor vehicle standards and the Clean Power Plan. With the election of President Trump and the increasingly severe impacts of climate change, subnational leadership has become even more important and urgent. In response, many states and cities have pledged to enact new policies to mitigate the effects of climate change and help communities adapt. This Article focuses on recent developments in subnational leadership on both climate mitigation and adaptation to demonstrate the breadth and depth of engagement by ...


A Fixed Rule For A Changing World: The Legacy Of Lucas V. South Carolina Coastal Council, J. Peter Byrne Apr 2018

A Fixed Rule For A Changing World: The Legacy Of Lucas V. South Carolina Coastal Council, J. Peter Byrne

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In light of the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Lucas decision, this Article reexamines the actual relevance of the opinion by weighing the framing, reach, and aftermath of Justice Scalia’s majority opinion. This Article argues that Justice Scalia’s opinion consciously framed the regulatory takings doctrine in a more favorable way for private property owners, and by doing so, helped pave the way for subsequent denial that environmental and climate concerns are a valid basis for any government action. Justice Scalia attempted to create a regulatory environment that protects private real estate investments instead of protecting the ...


Coloring Outside The Lines: A Response To Professor Seamon’S Dismantling Monuments, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2018

Coloring Outside The Lines: A Response To Professor Seamon’S Dismantling Monuments, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In Dismantling Monuments, Professor Richard H. Seamon defends President Donald Trump’s recent proclamations modifying the boundaries of two national monuments, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears, that Presidents Clinton and Obama each designated at the ends of their Administrations. Professor Seamon is not alone in making these arguments, as I am not alone in saying that Professor Seamon’s arguments, while well-intentioned, are wrong. He exaggerates the persuasive power of congressional silence. He elevates the importance of the statute’s original intent. Professor Seamon and I read the text and legislative history of the Antiquities Act differently—he sees unlimited ...


Illegal Marijuana Cultivation On Public Lands: Our Federalism On A Very Bad Trip, Hope M. Babcock Jun 2017

Illegal Marijuana Cultivation On Public Lands: Our Federalism On A Very Bad Trip, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Fueled by increasing demand for marijuana, illegal cultivation of the drug on public lands is causing massive environmental harm. The federal government lacks the resources to wage what would be a difficult and costly campaign to eradicate these illegal grow sites and instead focuses its limited resources on enforcing the federal marijuana ban. Marijuana decriminalization might allow legally grown marijuana to squeeze out its illegal counterpart, but the political likelihood of decriminalization is low. The key is reducing demand for the illegal drug by changing public buying preferences. However, doing this depends on an available legal alternative. This Article discusses ...


Using The Federal Public Trust Doctrine To Fill Gaps In The Legal Systems Protecting Migrating Wildlife From The Effects Of Climate Change, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2017

Using The Federal Public Trust Doctrine To Fill Gaps In The Legal Systems Protecting Migrating Wildlife From The Effects Of Climate Change, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Not unlike before the biblical flood, the world stands on the brink of catastrophe awaiting rescue by a virtual ark. The most vulnerable to this looming catastrophe are the world’s wildlife. Changes in global temperature and precipitation as well as sea level rise and acidification of the ocean are already affecting wildlife by limiting the availability and quality of habitat and the abundance of prey, and by increasing predation and disease. Sea level rise and unstable storm patterns threaten coastal wildlife, while changing precipitation and temperature patterns are drying out habitat, making some habitat more susceptible to wildfires, and ...


A Brook With Legal Rights: The Rights Of Nature In Court, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2016

A Brook With Legal Rights: The Rights Of Nature In Court, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Over two decades ago, Professor Christopher Stone asked what turned out to be a question of enduring interest: should trees have standing? His question was recently answered in the affirmative by a creek in Pennsylvania, which successfully intervened in a lawsuit between an energy company and a local township to prevent the lifting of a ban against drilling oil and gas wastewater wells. Using that intervention, this Article examines whether such an initiative might succeed on a broader scale. The Article parses the structure, language, and punctuation of Article III, as well as various theories of nonhuman personhood to see ...


Climate Exactions, J. Peter Byrne, Kathryn A. Zyla Jan 2016

Climate Exactions, J. Peter Byrne, Kathryn A. Zyla

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay presents a legal device by which local governments can put a price on climate emissions and loss of resiliency generated by new real estate development. Local governments commonly impose fees, a type of monetary exaction, on new development to offset public costs that such development will impose. This Essay argues that monetary fees offer significant potential as a tool to help local governments manage land development’s contribution to climate change. Such “climate exactions” can put a price on the carbon emissions from new development and also on development that reduces the natural resiliency of the jurisdiction to ...


What Can Be Done, If Anything, About The Dangerous Penchant Of Public Trust Scholars To Overextend Joseph Sax’S Original Conception: Have We Produced A Bridge Too Far?, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2015

What Can Be Done, If Anything, About The Dangerous Penchant Of Public Trust Scholars To Overextend Joseph Sax’S Original Conception: Have We Produced A Bridge Too Far?, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Article examines the tendency of many legal scholars to overextend the scope of a previous scholar’s original idea—in this case, Professor Joseph Sax’s reconceptualization of the largely moribund common law public trust doctrine. Legal scholars are induced to write immoderately either to enhance their standing within the academic community or, more selflessly, to achieve law reform. These expansionist tendencies, however, are not without risk—a common law doctrine that becomes too unmoored from its historical shackles may lose the support of the courts that is required for its implementation. The Article examines whether a combination of ...


Voluntary Commitments As Emerging Instruments In International Environmental Law, Edith Brown Weiss Jan 2014

Voluntary Commitments As Emerging Instruments In International Environmental Law, Edith Brown Weiss

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Today we confront a critical environmental challenge: how to protect the human environment for ourselves and future generations in the face of our unprecedented capacity to alter fundamental physical cycles with global and longrange implications for the robustness of our planet.

Scientists observe that we are leaving the stable Holocene Epoch, embarking on a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, in which humans are the major force for change to the planet. There is evidence that the fundamental carbon and nitrogen cycles are accelerating significantly, and that the hydrological cycle is speeding up. The latter can lead to devastating impacts from ...


How The Supreme Court Uses The Certiorari Process In The Ninth Circuit To Further Its Pro-Business Agenda: A Strange Pas De Deux With An Unfortunate Coda, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2014

How The Supreme Court Uses The Certiorari Process In The Ninth Circuit To Further Its Pro-Business Agenda: A Strange Pas De Deux With An Unfortunate Coda, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Article examines the proposition that the Roberts Court has an unusually strong pro-business slant through the lens of the Court's certiorari process. The Article uses data from the grant or denial of certiorari petitions filed in environmental cases over a sixteen-year period in both the Ninth and District of Columbia Circuits, selected because each court hears a large number of environmental cases. The recent record in the Ninth Circuit, where environmentalists win below only to lose in the high court, or lose below and subsequently have their petitions denied, is quite different from that in the D.C ...


Virtual Water, Water Scarcity, And International Trade Law, Edith Brown Weiss, Lydia Slobodian Jan 2014

Virtual Water, Water Scarcity, And International Trade Law, Edith Brown Weiss, Lydia Slobodian

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

We are facing a fresh water crisis during this century. In less than two decades, by 2030, the requirements for fresh water are expected to exceed the currently available and accessible fresh water supplies by 40%. Many countries are expected to be water stressed later in this century; some areas of the world already are. Some people may even lack water to meet basic human needs, such as drinking, washing, and sanitation. In rural areas in certain regions, people may lack water to grow good food crops, even for their own consumption. This has major implications for the welfare of ...


The Rebirth Of The Neighborhood, J. Peter Byrne Jan 2013

The Rebirth Of The Neighborhood, J. Peter Byrne

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay argues that new urban residents primarily seek a type of community properly called a neighborhood. “Neighborhood” refers to a legible, pedestrian-scale area that has an identity apart from the corporate and bureaucratic structures that dominate the larger society. Such a neighborhood fosters repeated, casual contacts with neighbors and merchants, such as while one pursues Saturday errands or takes children to activities. Dealing with independent local merchants and artisans face-to-face provides a sense of liberation from large power structures, where most such residents work. Having easy access to places of sociability like coffee shops and bars permits spontaneous “meet-ups ...


Why Changing Norms Is A More Just Solution To The Failed International Regulatory Regime To Protect Whales Than A Trading Program In Whale Shares, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2013

Why Changing Norms Is A More Just Solution To The Failed International Regulatory Regime To Protect Whales Than A Trading Program In Whale Shares, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Whales capture the public's imagination like no other wild animal. They have played a central role in "the social construction of modern ecological thought." Indeed, the survival of whales has been a symbol of the environmental movement since the latter quarter of the twentieth century, when the "slogan 'save the whales' was a call to arms to save the planet from humanity's folly. " Stories about whale conservation implicate cultural clashes, interspecies morality, and global politics. They offer lessons in how not to manage a natural resource, and simultaneously show how both governmental and individual activism can overcome this ...


The Sad Story Of The Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf Reintroduction Program, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2013

The Sad Story Of The Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf Reintroduction Program, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

A reflection on the past, present and future of environmental law in this 20th Anniversary Edition offers an opportunity to revisit the Endangered Species Act, particularly the Northern Rocky Mountain States federal wolf reintroduction program. Environmental programs that depend on public support for their effectiveness are problematic when the government fails to understand and compensate for this fact. This essay explores the proposition that the federal government's failure to anticipate and respond to the negative reaction of people adversely affected by proposed solutions to environmental problems is contributing to a lack of progress despite great strides in our scientific ...


Putting A Price On Whales To Save Them: What Do Morals Have To Do With It?, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2013

Putting A Price On Whales To Save Them: What Do Morals Have To Do With It?, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The author explores the moral implication of a proposal to create an international market in whale shares as an alternative to the dysfunctional International Whaling Commission. She finds the proposal amoral because whales, like humans, have an intrinsic right to life. Since this leaves whales vulnerable to whale hunting nations, she suggests that international environmental organizations might help a whale preservation norm emerge in whaling nations by using education and interventionist activities that focus on whaling’s cruelty to ultimately encourage the citizens and governments of those nations to change their self-image as whale eating cultures.


Can Vermont Put The Nuclear Genie Back In The Bottle: A Test Of Congressional Preemptive Power?, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2012

Can Vermont Put The Nuclear Genie Back In The Bottle: A Test Of Congressional Preemptive Power?, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Even before the nuclear core meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors in Japan re-stoked public anxiety about nuclear energy, Vermont’s Senate, under the auspices of Vermont Act No. 160, voted to block continued operation of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant after the expiration of its forty-year operating license. This article examines whether a state can legislatively override a permit issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission extending the license of a power plant. The author places this question within a broader federalism context, in which states assert their sovereign rights to regulate the environment in the shadow of federal ...


A Risky Business: Generation Of Nuclear Power And Deepwater Drilling For Offshore Oil And Gas, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2012

A Risky Business: Generation Of Nuclear Power And Deepwater Drilling For Offshore Oil And Gas, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Government regulation and licensing of industrial activities that create the possibility of catastrophic risk reflect “a political value judgment that these activities provide a social benefit that is greater than the social cost of the risks that they cause.” However, when a catastrophic accident occurs, the cost-benefit evaluations underlying the value judgment that authorized the activity may need to be rethought. Social rethinking is especially warranted when the accident could have been prevented had either the industry or the government more seriously assessed the risk of a catastrophic event and implemented precautionary steps to avoid it. This was the conclusion ...


The Coming Water Crisis: A Common Concern Of Mankind, Edith Brown Weiss Jan 2012

The Coming Water Crisis: A Common Concern Of Mankind, Edith Brown Weiss

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay argues that fresh water, its availability and use, should now be recognized as ‘a common concern of humankind’, much as climate change was recognized as a ‘common concern of humankind’ in the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and conservation of biodiversity was recognized as a ‘common concern of humankind’ in the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity. This would respond to the many linkages between what happens in one area with the demand for and the supply of fresh water in other areas. It would take into account the scientific characteristics of the hydrological cycle, address ...


Stop The Stop The Beach Plurality!, J. Peter Byrne Apr 2011

Stop The Stop The Beach Plurality!, J. Peter Byrne

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The plurality opinion in Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection articulated a new doctrine of "judicial takings," and justified it with arguments drawing on text, history, precedent, and "common sense." This essay argues that the opinion falls makes a mockery of such forms of interpretation, represents raw pursuit of an ideological agenda, and indicates why the Regulatory Takings Doctrine more generally should be abandoned or limited.


The Evolution Of International Environmental Law, Edith Brown Weiss Jan 2011

The Evolution Of International Environmental Law, Edith Brown Weiss

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In the last forty years, international environmental law has evolved rapidly, as environmental risks have become more apparent and their assessment and management more complex. In 1972, there were only a few dozen multilateral agreements, and most countries lacked environmental legislation. In 2011, there are hundreds of multilateral and bilateral environmental agreements and all countries have one or more environmental statutes and/or regulations. Many actors in addition to States shape the development, implementation of, and compliance with international environmental law. Moreover, environment is increasingly integrated with economic development, human rights, trade, and national security. Analyzing the evolution of international ...


Rising Seas And Common Law Baselines: A Comment On Regulatory Takings Discourse Concerning Climate Change, J. Peter Byrne Jan 2010

Rising Seas And Common Law Baselines: A Comment On Regulatory Takings Discourse Concerning Climate Change, J. Peter Byrne

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In several recent cases considering claims that regulatory measures addressing rising sea levels violate the Takings Clause, courts have given significant normative weight to traditional common law rules, even when such rules have long been superseded by statutory provisions. This essay argues that giving analytic precedence to such common law baselines lacks justification and can pose serious obstacles to reasonable measures to adapt to climate change.


Adaptation To The Health Consequences Of Climate Change As A Potential Influence On Public Health Law And Policy: From Preparedness To Resilience, Lindsay F. Wiley Jan 2010

Adaptation To The Health Consequences Of Climate Change As A Potential Influence On Public Health Law And Policy: From Preparedness To Resilience, Lindsay F. Wiley

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Because the health effects of climate change are likely to be significant and far-reaching, a key component of climate change adaptation will be our public health infrastructure. Perhaps counter-intuitively, recent emphasis in public health law on preparedness for extraordinary events may be to the detriment of our ability to cope with the health impacts of climate change. While existing emergency preparedness law will necessarily be an important backdrop for health-focused climate change adaptation efforts (especially with regard to natural disasters and infectious disease outbreaks), the focus on emergency preparedness in recent years does not necessarily situate us well for handling ...


Corporate Environmental Social Responsibility: Corporate "Greenwashing" Or A Corporate Culture Game Changer?, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2010

Corporate Environmental Social Responsibility: Corporate "Greenwashing" Or A Corporate Culture Game Changer?, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article focuses on the extent to which unenforceable voluntary initiatives undertaken by corporations can change corporate behavior to make businesses more environmentally responsible, i.e. not only comply with the law, but to do more than the law actually requires of them. These initiatives, loosely gathered under the umbrella of a movement called corporate social responsibility (CSR), are often proposed by the government as a way to fill regulatory and enforcement gaps or by industry, often as an alternative to regulatory requirements. In each case, their goal is to improve the compliance record of businesses and, in some cases ...


Making Self-Regulation More Than Merely Symbolic: The Critical Role Of The Legal Environment, Jodi Short, Michael W. Toffel Jan 2010

Making Self-Regulation More Than Merely Symbolic: The Critical Role Of The Legal Environment, Jodi Short, Michael W. Toffel

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Using data from a sample of U.S. industrial facilities subject to the federal Clean Air Act from 1993 to 2003, this article theorizes and tests the conditions under which organizations’ symbolic commitments to self-regulate are particularly likely to result in improved compliance practices and outcomes. We argue that the legal environment, particularly as it is constructed by the enforcement activities of regulators, significantly influences the likelihood that organizations will effectively implement the self-regulatory commitments they symbolically adopt. We investigate how different enforcement tools can foster or undermine organizations’ normative motivations to self-regulate. We find that organizations are more likely ...


How Judicial Hostility Toward Environmental Claims And Intimidation Tactics By Lawyers Have Formed The Perfect Storm Against Environmental Clinics: What's The Big Deal About Students And Chickens Anyway?, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2010

How Judicial Hostility Toward Environmental Claims And Intimidation Tactics By Lawyers Have Formed The Perfect Storm Against Environmental Clinics: What's The Big Deal About Students And Chickens Anyway?, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Since 1976, when the first environmental clinic was started at the University of Oregon’s law school, clinics have proliferated. Today, approximately one out of five law schools has an environmental clinic. With respect to clinics in general, the Association of American Law Schools Directory of Law Teachers lists “nearly 1400 full-time faculty teaching clinical courses.” Yet far from being an uncontroverted part of the academic landscape, clinics—particularly environmental clinics—have endured political blowback from challenging the environmentally destructive behavior of major economic interests. The effectiveness of environmental clinics is no greater than established environmental organizations—perhaps less effective ...


The International Response To Climate Change: An Agenda For Global Health, Lindsay F. Wiley, Lawrence O. Gostin Oct 2009

The International Response To Climate Change: An Agenda For Global Health, Lindsay F. Wiley, Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

As the international community negotiates a successor to the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), there is new reason to hope that meaningful action might be taken to prevent devastating climate change. Even the more ambitious mitigation targets currently under negotiation, however, will not be sufficient to avoid a profound effect on the public's health in coming decades, with the world's poorest, most vulnerable populations bearing the disproportionate burden. The influence of historic and current emissions will be so substantial that it is imperative to reduce global emissions while at the same ...


Healthy Planet, Healthy People: Integrating Global Health Into The International Response To Climate Change, Lindsay F. Wiley Oct 2009

Healthy Planet, Healthy People: Integrating Global Health Into The International Response To Climate Change, Lindsay F. Wiley

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The potentially groundbreaking negotiations currently underway on the international response to climate change and national implementation of commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) include a number of hotly contested issues: (1) what degree of climate change is acceptable as a basis for emissions targets, (2) to what extent and in what ways climate change mitigation should incorporate emissions reductions or increased sinks for developing countries, (3) whether the legal regime governing mitigation can take advantage of the huge mitigation potential of changed practices in the land use and agricultural sectors, (4) how adaptation should be ...


Civic Republicanism Provides Theoretical Support For Making Individuals More Environmentally Responsible, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2009

Civic Republicanism Provides Theoretical Support For Making Individuals More Environmentally Responsible, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The genesis for this essay is the recognition that individual behavior is contributing in a significant way to the remaining environmental problems we have. For a variety of reasons, ranging from the difficulty of trying to identify and then regulate all of these individual sources to the political backlash that might result if such regulation was tried, efforts to control that behavior have either failed or not been tried. The phenomenon of individuals as irresponsible environmental actors seems counter-intuitive given the durability of the environmental protection norm and polls that consistently show that people contribute to environmental causes, are willing ...