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Full-Text Articles in Law

Is There A Right To Life For The Colorado River?, Reed D. Benson Dec 2017

Is There A Right To Life For The Colorado River?, Reed D. Benson

Faculty Scholarship

A recent lawsuit, declaring the Colorado River has legal rights of its own, received national attention in the New York Times and High Country News. While the lawsuit had no chance of success, it highlighted important issues.


Making The Most Of Cooperative Federalism: What The Clean Power Plan Has Already Achieved, Gabriel Pacyniak Dec 2017

Making The Most Of Cooperative Federalism: What The Clean Power Plan Has Already Achieved, Gabriel Pacyniak

Faculty Scholarship

The fate of the EPA's Clean Power Plan-the signature Obama Administration action to reduce greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions from existing power plants under the Clean Air Act-is uncertain at best given pending litigation and the opposition of President Donald Trump. Despite this uncertainty, the development of the Clean Power Plan provides an important case study of how rulemaking under a cooperative federalism statutory structure can prompt broad, beneficial policy engagement by states and stakeholders, even in a contentious regulatory action. In the development of the Clean Power Plan, active state and stakeholder engagement and an iterative process of "trying ...


Reducing Transportation Emissions In The Northeast And Mid-Atlantic: Fuel System Considerations, Gabriel Pacyniak, Drew Veysey, James Bradbury Nov 2017

Reducing Transportation Emissions In The Northeast And Mid-Atlantic: Fuel System Considerations, Gabriel Pacyniak, Drew Veysey, James Bradbury

Faculty Scholarship

In support of states interested in learning more about market-based policy options, the Georgetown Climate Center developed Reducing Transportation Emissions in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Fuel System Considerations to explore technical aspects of a possible regional cap-and-invest policy, as an illustrative example of a market-based approach to a multi-state transportation policy. The paper focuses on two subjects: which fuels might be covered under a policy, and which entities in the transportation fuel supply chain might be responsible for reducing emissions.

The recommendations made in this paper are intended to support robust market-based policies that provide flexibility and enable innovation while ...


Presidential Executive Orders Duel Over Floodplain Definition As S.E. Florida Prepares For Sea Level Rise, Brion Blackwelder Oct 2017

Presidential Executive Orders Duel Over Floodplain Definition As S.E. Florida Prepares For Sea Level Rise, Brion Blackwelder

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


An Examination Of Policy Options For Achieving Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions In New Jersey, Gabriel Pacyniak Oct 2017

An Examination Of Policy Options For Achieving Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions In New Jersey, Gabriel Pacyniak

Faculty Scholarship

An Examination of Policy Options for Achieving Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions in New Jersey surveys emissions and energy trends, describes a “deep decarbonization pathway” for the state, and identifies the types of policies that would be necessary to achieve those reductions. Many of the policies address the power and transportation sectors, which account for more than 60 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions from New Jersey. The report also includes options for improving building efficiency, reducing methane leaks from natural gas infrastructure, restoring natural carbon sinks in forests and wetlands, and incorporating equity considerations to address the needs of frontline ...


Water Governance In Haiti: An Assessment Of Laws And Institutional Capacities, Ryan Stoa Jul 2017

Water Governance In Haiti: An Assessment Of Laws And Institutional Capacities, Ryan Stoa

Faculty Scholarship

The Republic of Haiti struggles to sustainably manage its water resources. Public health is compromised by low levels of water supply, sanitation, and hygiene, and water resources are often contaminated and unsustainably allocated. While poor governance is often blamed for these shortcomings, the laws and institutions regulating water resources in Haiti are poorly understood, especially by the international community. This study brings together and analyzes Haitian water laws, assesses institutional capacities, and provides a case study of water management in northern Haiti in order to provide a more complete picture of the sector. Funded by the Inter-American Development Bank as ...


Is The "Act Of God" Dead?, Clifford J. Villa Jul 2017

Is The "Act Of God" Dead?, Clifford J. Villa

Faculty Scholarship

In more than twenty years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before joining the legal academy, I saw many communities affected by fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. However, I never saw a case where the act of God defense prevailed against environmental liability. Confirming this personal experience, I later learned that the number of reported cases where the act of God defense had prevailed against environmental liability, under all statutes and all federal circuits, was also exactly zero.

This raises two obvious questions: (1) why does the act of God defense so often fail? and ...


Marijuana Agriculture Law: Regulation At The Root Of An Industry, Ryan Stoa Mar 2017

Marijuana Agriculture Law: Regulation At The Root Of An Industry, Ryan Stoa

Faculty Scholarship

Marijuana legalization is sweeping the nation. Recreational marijuana use is legal in eight states. Medical marijuana use is legal in thirteen states. Only three states maintain an absolute criminal prohibition on marijuana use. Many of these legalization initiatives propose to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol, and many titles are variations of the "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act." For political and public health reasons the analogy makes sense, but it also reveals a regulatory blind spot. States may be using alcohol as a model for regulating the distribution, retail, and consumption of marijuana, but marijuana is much more ...


Blood Biofuels, Nadia B. Ahmad Jan 2017

Blood Biofuels, Nadia B. Ahmad

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Trust Or Bust: Complications With Tribal Trust Obligations And Environmental Sovereignty, Nadia B. Ahmad Jan 2017

Trust Or Bust: Complications With Tribal Trust Obligations And Environmental Sovereignty, Nadia B. Ahmad

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Baseline Bar, Nadia B. Ahmad Jan 2017

The Baseline Bar, Nadia B. Ahmad

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


New Strategies For Reducing Transportation Emissions And Preparing For Climate Impacts, Gabriel Pacyniak, Kathryn Zyla, Vicki Arroyo Jan 2017

New Strategies For Reducing Transportation Emissions And Preparing For Climate Impacts, Gabriel Pacyniak, Kathryn Zyla, Vicki Arroyo

Faculty Scholarship

The transportation sector is becoming the largest source of greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions in the United States. The Obama Administration put in place federal vehicle and fuel standards that are significantly reducing emissions. However, these regulations will be insufficient to put the United States on track to achieve needed reductions needed long-term. This is especially true if the 2025 standards announced by the Obama Administration are rolled back by the new Trump Administration. Because current federal standards alone will not attain ambitious climate goals and may be rolled back, state and local activity is essential to make progress towards meeting ...


Policy Readiness For Offshore Carbon Dioxide Storage In The Northeast, Romany Webb, Michael Gerrard Jan 2017

Policy Readiness For Offshore Carbon Dioxide Storage In The Northeast, Romany Webb, Michael Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

Reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is vital to mitigate climate change. To date reduction efforts have primarily focused on minimizing the production of carbon dioxide during electricity generation, transport, and other activities. Going forward, to the extent that carbon dioxide continues to be produced, it will need to be captured before release. The captured carbon dioxide can then be utilized in some fashion, or it can be injected into underground geological formations – e.g., depleted oil and gas reserves, deep saline aquifers, or basalt rock reservoirs – where, it is hoped, it will remain permanently sequestered (“carbon ...


Legal Pathways For A Massive Increase In Utility-Scale Renewable Generation Capacity, Michael Gerrard Jan 2017

Legal Pathways For A Massive Increase In Utility-Scale Renewable Generation Capacity, Michael Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

Decarbonizing the U.S. energy system will require a program of building onshore wind, offshore wind, utility-scale solar, and associated transmission that will exceed what has been done before in the United States by many times, every year out to 2050. These facilities, together with rooftop photovoltaics and other distributed generation, are required to replace most fossil fuel generation and to help furnish the added electricity that will be needed as many uses currently employing fossil fuels (especially passenger transportation and space and water heating) are electrified. This Article, excerpted from Michael B. Gerrard & John Dernbach, eds., Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (ELI Press forthcoming 2018), discusses the four most important legal processes and obstacles involved in this enormous project: site acquisition and approval; the National Environmental Policy Act; state ...


Behavioral Public Choice And The Carbon Tax, Gary M. Lucas Jr Jan 2017

Behavioral Public Choice And The Carbon Tax, Gary M. Lucas Jr

Faculty Scholarship

In response to the historic Paris Agreement on climate change and to the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently finalized Clean Power Plan, economists and other climate policy experts have renewed the call for the United States to adopt a carbon tax. Opposition among the public presents a major obstacle. While a majority of the public supports government action on climate change, most people favor the use of “green” subsidies and command-and-control regulations—a fact that frustrates economists of all political stripes who contend that a carbon tax would be much cheaper and more effective. This Article argues that a cognitive ...


Voter Psychology And The Carbon Tax, Gary M. Lucas Jr Jan 2017

Voter Psychology And The Carbon Tax, Gary M. Lucas Jr

Faculty Scholarship

Economists across the political spectrum argue that a carbon tax is the most effective and economically efficient policy for addressing climate change. Voters, however, strongly oppose the carbon tax and instead favor “green” subsidies and command-and-control regulations. If carefully designed, these policies might complement a carbon tax, but by themselves, they will make global warming mitigation incredibly expensive and perhaps even infeasible. Moreover, if poorly designed, subsidies and regulations can be counterproductive.

This Article argues that the public dislikes the carbon tax because the tax possesses attributes that make it psychologically unappealing relative to other climate policy instruments. The Article ...


Our Regionalism, Jessica Bulman-Pozen Jan 2017

Our Regionalism, Jessica Bulman-Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

This article provides an account of Our Regionalism to supplement the many accounts of Our Federalism. After describing the legal forms regions assume in the United States — through interstate cooperation, organization of federal administrative agencies, and hybrid state-federal efforts — it explores how regions have shaped American governance across the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. In the years leading up to the New Deal, commentators invoked regions to resist centralization, arguing that state coordination could forestall expansion of the federal government. But regions were soon deployed to a different end, as the federal government relied on regional administration to develop its ...


Predicting Stream Vulnerability To Urbanization Stress With Bayesian Network Mode, Dave Owen, Kristen K. Weil, Christopher S. Cronen, Spencer R. Meyer, Robert J. Lilieholm, Thomas J. Danielson, Leonidas Tsomides Jan 2017

Predicting Stream Vulnerability To Urbanization Stress With Bayesian Network Mode, Dave Owen, Kristen K. Weil, Christopher S. Cronen, Spencer R. Meyer, Robert J. Lilieholm, Thomas J. Danielson, Leonidas Tsomides

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Environmental Racism, American Exceptionalism, And Cold War Human Rights, Carmen G. Gonzalez Jan 2017

Environmental Racism, American Exceptionalism, And Cold War Human Rights, Carmen G. Gonzalez

Faculty Scholarship

Environmental justice scholars and activists coined the terms “environmental racism” to describe the disproportionate concentration of environmental hazards in neighborhoods populated by racial and ethnic minorities. Having exhausted domestic legal remedies (or having concluded that these remedies are unavailable), communities of color in the United States are increasingly turning to international human rights law and institutions to challenge environmental racism.

However, the United States has ratified only a handful of human rights treaties, and has limited the domestic application of these treaties through reservations and declarations that preclude judicial enforcement in the absence of implementing legislation. Indeed, the U.S ...


Introduction: The Post-Carbon World: Advances In Legal And Social Theory, Gregg P. Macey Jan 2017

Introduction: The Post-Carbon World: Advances In Legal And Social Theory, Gregg P. Macey

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Constitutional Challenges And Regulatory Opportunities For State Climate Policy Innovation, Felix Mormann Jan 2017

Constitutional Challenges And Regulatory Opportunities For State Climate Policy Innovation, Felix Mormann

Faculty Scholarship

This Article explores constitutional limits and regulatory openings for innovative state policies to mitigate climate change by promoting climate-friendly, renewable energy. In the absence of a comprehensive federal policy approach to climate change and clean energy, more and more states are stepping in to fill the policy void. Already, nearly thirty states have adopted renewable portfolio standards that create markets for solar, wind, and other clean electricity. To help populate these markets, a few pioneering states have recently started using feed-in tariffs that offer eligible generators above-market rates for their clean, renewable power.

But renewable portfolio standards, feed-in tariffs, and ...


Reviewing Reservoir Operations: Can Federal Water Projects Adapt To Change?, Reed D. Benson Jan 2017

Reviewing Reservoir Operations: Can Federal Water Projects Adapt To Change?, Reed D. Benson

Faculty Scholarship

This Article begins by reviewing the purposes for federal water projects, and identifies some of the trade-offs involved in operating projects for certain purposes. It then addresses the legal factors that determine or influence project operations, beginning with project authorizing statutes and ending with federal environmental laws. The Article examines Corps and Bureau policies regarding project operating plans, the reasons for agency reluctance to review and revise their plans, and some of the factors that prompt the agencies to proceed with reviews. It then summarizes periodic review requirements in two analogous contexts—federal land management plans, and hydropower project licenses ...