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Full-Text Articles in Law

Climate Zoning, Christopher Serkin Apr 2024

Climate Zoning, Christopher Serkin

Notre Dame Law Review

As the urgency of the climate crisis becomes increasingly apparent, many local governments are adopting land use regulations aimed at minimizing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The emerging approaches call for loosening zoning restrictions to unlock greater density and for strict new green building codes. This Article argues that both approaches are appropriate in some places but not in others. Not all density is created equal, and compact multifamily housing at the urban fringe may actually in-crease GHG emissions. Moreover, where density is appropriate, deregulation will not necessarily produce it. And, finally, green building codes will increase housing costs and so …


Fears, Faith, And Facts In Environmental Law, William W. Buzbee Jan 2024

Fears, Faith, And Facts In Environmental Law, William W. Buzbee

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Environmental law has long been shaped by both the particular nature of environmental harms and by the actors and institutions that cause such harms or can address them. This nation’s environmental statutes remain far from perfect, and a comprehensive law tailored to the challenges of climate change is still elusive. Nonetheless, America’s environmental laws provide lofty, express protective purposes and findings about reasons for their enactment. They also clearly state health and environmental goals, provide tailored criteria for action, and utilize procedures and diverse regulatory tools that reflect nuanced choices.

But the news is far from good. Despite the ambitious …


The Lawlessness Of Sackett V. Epa, William W. Buzbee Jan 2024

The Lawlessness Of Sackett V. Epa, William W. Buzbee

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

When the Supreme Court speaks on a disputed statutory interpretation question, its words and edicts undoubtedly are the final judicial word, binding lower courts and the executive branch. Its majority opinions are the law. But the Court’s opinions can nonetheless be assessed for how well they hew to fundamental elements of respect for the rule of law. In particular, law-respecting versus law-neglecting or lawless judicial work by the Court can be assessed in the statutory interpretation, regulatory, and separation of power realms against the following key criteria, which in turn are based on some basic rule of law tenets: analysis …


Grid Governance In The Energy-Trilemma Era: Remedying The Democracy Deficit, Daniel E. Walters, Andrew N. Kleit May 2023

Grid Governance In The Energy-Trilemma Era: Remedying The Democracy Deficit, Daniel E. Walters, Andrew N. Kleit

Faculty Scholarship

Transforming the electric power grid is central to any viable scenario for addressing global climate change, but the process and politics of this transformation are complex. The desire to transform the grid creates an “energy trilemma” involving often conflicting desires for reliability, cost, and decarbonization; and, at least in the short run, it is difficult to avoid making tradeoffs between these different goals. It is somewhat shocking, then, that many crucial decisions about electric power service in the United States are made not by consumers or their utilities, nor by state public utilities commissions or federal regulators. Instead, for much …


Oil, Indifference, And Displacement: An Indigenous Community Submerged And Tribal Relocation In The 21st Century, Jared Munster Apr 2023

Oil, Indifference, And Displacement: An Indigenous Community Submerged And Tribal Relocation In The 21st Century, Jared Munster

American Indian Law Journal

Coastal land loss driven by erosion and subsidence, and amplified by climate change, has forced the abandonment and resettlement of the remote Louisiana Indigenous community of Isle de Jean Charles. This relocation, to a relatively ‘safer’ site inland has led to division among the residents and will inevitably cause irreparable damage to the culture and traditions of the Houma and Biloxi Chitimacha Confederation of Muskogees peoples who called this small, isolated island home. Driven to the water’s edge by European colonization of south Louisiana, this community developed a dynamic subsistence lifestyle based on agriculture, hunting, and fishing which survived undisturbed …


Climate Choice Architecture, Felix Mormann Jan 2023

Climate Choice Architecture, Felix Mormann

Faculty Scholarship

Personal choices drive global warming nearly as much as institutional decisions. Yet, policymakers overwhelmingly target large-scale industrial facilities for reductions in carbon emissions, with individual and household emissions a mere afterthought. Recent advances in behavioral economics, cognitive psychology, and related fields have produced a veritable behavior change revolution. Subtle changes to the choice environment, or nudges, have improved stake-holder decision-making in a wide range of contexts, from healthier food choices to better retirement planning. But the vast potential of choice architecture remains largely untapped for purposes of climate policy and action. This Article explores that untapped potential and makes the …


On Fires, Floods, And Federalism, Andrew Hammond Jan 2023

On Fires, Floods, And Federalism, Andrew Hammond

UF Law Faculty Publications

In the United States, law condemns poor people to their fates in states. Where Americans live continues to dictate whether they can access cash, food, and medical assistance. What’s more, immigrants, territorial residents, and tribal members encounter deteriorated corners of the American welfare state. Nonetheless, despite repeated retrenchment efforts, this patchwork of programs has proven remarkably resilient. Yet, the ability of the United States to meet its people’s most basic needs now faces an unprecedented challenge: climate change. As extreme weather events like wildfires and hurricanes become more frequent and more intense, these climate-fueled disasters will displace and impoverish more …


Challenging Equality: Property Loss, Government Fault, And The Global Warming Catastrophe, Laura S. Underkuffler Aug 2022

Challenging Equality: Property Loss, Government Fault, And The Global Warming Catastrophe, Laura S. Underkuffler

Northwestern University Law Review

One of the bedrock principles of American property law is that all property owners and all property are protected equally. We do not believe—when it comes to compensation for loss—that poor owners are compensated rigidly and rich owners are not, or that property in private homes is protected rigidly and property in commercial or industrial structures is not. When it comes to compensation due to public or private fault, we believe in absolute equality. Equal treatment of property is at the heart of the liberal state and is the promise of American property law.

This Essay challenges that bedrock idea. …


Buka Siape Sambehin Injin: Komentar Atas Putusan Tentang Izin Lingkungan Pltu Celukan Bawang, Andri Gunawan Wibisana, Fajri Fadhillah Mar 2022

Buka Siape Sambehin Injin: Komentar Atas Putusan Tentang Izin Lingkungan Pltu Celukan Bawang, Andri Gunawan Wibisana, Fajri Fadhillah

Jurnal Hukum & Pembangunan

This paper examines administrative court’s view in the Izin Lingkungan PLTU Celukan Bawang case. The paper puts emphasis on the use of actual losses to assess the plaintiffs’ legal standing and the deadline for filing a lawsuit. This paper considers that the court was incorrect in interpreting the legal standing by focusing on the absence of plaintiffs’ actual losses. The court also took a conservative position in determining the deadline for filing the lawsuit. This paper criticizes the court’s failure to take into account the issue of climate change addressed by the plaintiffs, so that the court missed a golden …


Delegating Climate Authorities, Mark P. Nevitt Jan 2022

Delegating Climate Authorities, Mark P. Nevitt

Faculty Articles

The science is clear: the United States and the world must take dramatic action to address climate change or face irreversible, catastrophic planetary harm. Within the U.S.—the world’s largest historic emitter of greenhouse gas emissions—this will require passing new legislation or turning to existing statutes and authorities to address the climate crisis. Doing so implicates existing and prospective delegations of legislative authority to a large swath of administrative agencies. Yet congressional climate decision-making delegations to any executive branch agency must not dismiss the newly resurgent nondelegation doctrine. Described by some scholars as the “most dangerous idea in American law,” the …


Significant Impacts Under Nepa: The Social Cost Of Greenhouse Gases As A Tool To Mitigate Climate Change, Sydney Hofferth Jan 2022

Significant Impacts Under Nepa: The Social Cost Of Greenhouse Gases As A Tool To Mitigate Climate Change, Sydney Hofferth

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The increased severity of the impacts of climate change demand a re-evaluation of the legal tools that could combat it. The National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) was passed to force government agencies to account for the environmental impacts of their actions. However, as it exists today, NEPA fails to require agencies to consider how their actions will mitigate or exacerbate climate change. This Note argues that agencies should be required to consider the social cost of the greenhouse gases associated with potential major actions at various stages of NEPA analysis. This change would result in increased transparency and public engagement …


Tightening The Legal ‘Net’: The Constitution’S Supremacy Clause Straddle Of The Power Divide, Steven Ferrey Dec 2021

Tightening The Legal ‘Net’: The Constitution’S Supremacy Clause Straddle Of The Power Divide, Steven Ferrey

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

This article analyzes Constitutional Supremacy Clause tensions in preempting state law that addresses climate change and the rapid warming of the Planet. Net metering laws, enacted in 80% of U.S. states, are a primary legal mechanism to control and mitigate climate warming. This article analyzes three recent federal court decisions creating a preemptive Supremacy Clause stand-off between federal and state law and presents a detailed state-by-state analysis of which those 80% of states’ laws could be preempted by legal challenge.

If state net metering laws affected only ordinary technologies, this issue would not be front and center with global warming. …


Held V. State, Alec D. Skuntz Oct 2021

Held V. State, Alec D. Skuntz

Public Land & Resources Law Review

On March 13, 2020, a group of 16 Montana children and teenagers filed a complaint in the First Judicial District, Lewis and Clark County against the State of Montana and several state agencies. These young Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief against Defendants for their complicity in continuing to extract and release harmful amounts of greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change. Plaintiffs premised their argument on the Montana Constitution’s robust environmental rights and protections. The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss which the District Court granted in-part and denied in-part. Held provides a roadmap for future litigation by elucidating …


When Fast-Tracking Slows You Down: Reconsidering Nationwide Permit 12 Use For Large-Scale Oil Pipelines, Megan Rulli Oct 2021

When Fast-Tracking Slows You Down: Reconsidering Nationwide Permit 12 Use For Large-Scale Oil Pipelines, Megan Rulli

Dickinson Law Review (2017-Present)

The consumption of oil pervades everyday life in America. The network of pipelines transporting oil from field to consumer is largely invisible. Until a major news event bursts pipelines onto headlines, this indispensable and invisible system fuels the country without fanfare. At the same time, concern over global climate change has made new large-scale projects for fossil fuel extraction and consumption highly controversial. The Keystone XL (“KXL”) pipeline was originally designed to transport crude oil extracted from oil sands in Canada to the Gulf of Mexico for international export. After more than a decade of false starts, the project currently …


Vecinos Para El Bienestar De La Comunidad Costera V. Ferc, Malcolm M. Gilbert Aug 2021

Vecinos Para El Bienestar De La Comunidad Costera V. Ferc, Malcolm M. Gilbert

Public Land & Resources Law Review

The D.C. Circuit Court remanded three Brownsville, TX LNG approval orders to FERC for failing to adequately explain conclusions around environmental justice and climate concerns. The Court ordered FERC to reevaluate whether the projects are in the public interest. The LNG terminals and pipeline will disproportionately impact low-income, minority communities, and substantial greenhouse gas emissions from production and export will contribute to anthropogenic climate change. This case note explores the role that environmental justice and climate change play in federal agency decision-making processes, analyzes the legal framework for the Court's decision, and discusses how the outcome of this litigation could …


Reimagining Exceptional Events: Regulating Wildfires Through The Clean Air Act, Emily Williams Jun 2021

Reimagining Exceptional Events: Regulating Wildfires Through The Clean Air Act, Emily Williams

Washington Law Review

Wildfires are increasing in both frequency and severity due to climate change. Smoke from these fires causes serious health problems. Land managers agree that prescribed burns help mitigate these negative consequences. Prescribed burns are lower-intensity fires that are intentionally ignited and managed for an ecological benefit. They reduce the amount of smoke produced and limit wildfire damage to natural systems and human property.

The Clean Air Act (CAA) is designed to regulate air pollution to protect public health, yet it exempts wildfire smoke through the exceptional events designation while imposing strict regulations on prescribed burns. Congress and the Environmental Protection …


The Rule Of Five Guys, Lisa Heinzerling Apr 2021

The Rule Of Five Guys, Lisa Heinzerling

Michigan Law Review

A Review of The Rule of Five: Making Climate History at the Supreme Court. by Richard J. Lazarus.


The History And Future Of Genetically Modified Crops: Frankenfoods, Superweeds, And The Developing World, Brooke Glass-O'Shea Jan 2021

The History And Future Of Genetically Modified Crops: Frankenfoods, Superweeds, And The Developing World, Brooke Glass-O'Shea

Journal of Food Law & Policy

In a 1992 letter to the New York Times, a man named Paul Lewis referred to genetically modified (GM) crops as "Frankenfood," and wryly suggested it might be "time to gather the villagers, light some torches and head to the castle." Little did Lewis know that his neologism would become the rallying cry for activists around the world protesting the dangers of genetic engineering. The environmental activist group Greenpeace made great use of the "Frankenfood" epithet in their anti-GM campaigns of the 1990s, though they have since backed away from the word and the hardline stance it represents. But genetically …


Measuring Environmental Justice: Analysis Of Progress Under Presidents Bush, Obama, And Trump, Mollie Soloway Jan 2021

Measuring Environmental Justice: Analysis Of Progress Under Presidents Bush, Obama, And Trump, Mollie Soloway

Student Articles and Papers

No abstract provided.


The Carbon Price Equivalent: A Metric For Comparing Climate Change Mitigation Efforts Across Jurisdictions, Gabriel Weil Jan 2021

The Carbon Price Equivalent: A Metric For Comparing Climate Change Mitigation Efforts Across Jurisdictions, Gabriel Weil

Dickinson Law Review (2017-Present)

Climate change presents a global commons problem: Emissions reductions on the scale needed to meet global targets do not pass a domestic cost-benefit test in most countries. To give national governments ample incentive to pursue deep decarbonization, mutual interstate coercion will be necessary. Many proposed tools of coercive climate diplomacy would require a onedimensional metric for comparing the stringency of climate change mitigation policy packages across jurisdictions. This article proposes and defends such a metric: the carbon price equivalent. There is substantial variation in the set of climate change mitigation policy instruments implemented by different countries. Nonetheless, the consequences of …


Presidential Progress On Climate Change: Will The Courts Interfere With What Needs To Be Done To Save Our Planet?, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

Presidential Progress On Climate Change: Will The Courts Interfere With What Needs To Be Done To Save Our Planet?, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

The Biden Administration is undertaking numerous actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition away from fossil fuels as part of the fight against climate change. Many of these actions are likely to be challenged in court. This paper describes the various legal theories that are likely to be used in these challenges, assesses their prospects of success given the current composition of the Supreme Court, and suggests ways to minimize the risks.


Back To The Future: Creating A Bipartisan Environmental Movement For The 21st Century, David M. Uhlmann Oct 2020

Back To The Future: Creating A Bipartisan Environmental Movement For The 21st Century, David M. Uhlmann

Articles

With a contentious presidential election looming amidst a pandemic, economic worries, and historic protests against systemic racism, climate action may seem less pressing than other challenges. Nothing could be further from the truth. To prevent greater public health threats and economic dislocation from climate disruption, which will disproportionately harm Black Americans, people of color, and indigenous people, this Comment argues that we need to restore the bipartisanship that fueled the environmental movement and that the fate of the planet—and our children and grandchildren—depends upon our collective action.


What A Difference A State Makes: California’S Authority To Regulate Motor Vehicle Emissions Under The Clean Air Act And The Future Of State Autonomy, Chiara Pappalardo Sep 2020

What A Difference A State Makes: California’S Authority To Regulate Motor Vehicle Emissions Under The Clean Air Act And The Future Of State Autonomy, Chiara Pappalardo

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Air pollutants from motor vehicles constitute one of the leading sources of local and global air degradation with serious consequences for human health and the overall stability of Earth’s climate. Under the Clean Air Act (“CAA”), for over fifty years, the state of California has served as a national “laboratory” for the testing of technological solutions and regulatory approaches to improve air quality. On September 19, 2019, the Trump Administration revoked California’s authority to set more stringent pollution emission standards. The revocation of California’s authority frustrates ambitious initiatives undertaken in California and in other states to reduce local air pollution …


The Rise And Fall Of Clean Air Act Climate Policy, Nathan Richardson Sep 2020

The Rise And Fall Of Clean Air Act Climate Policy, Nathan Richardson

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The Clean Air Act has proven to be one of the most successful and durable statutes in American law. After the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, there was great hope that the Act could be brought to bear on climate change, the most pressing current environmental challenge of our time. Massachusetts was fêted as the most important environmental case ever decided, and, upon it, the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama built a sweeping program of greenhouse gas regulations, aimed first at emissions from road vehicles, and later at fossil fuel power plants. It was the most …


Implementing Nepa In The Age Of Climate Change, Jayni Foley Hein, Natalie Jacewicz Sep 2020

Implementing Nepa In The Age Of Climate Change, Jayni Foley Hein, Natalie Jacewicz

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The national government has a crucial role to play in combating climate change, yet federal projects continue to constitute a major source of United States greenhouse gas emissions. Under the National Environmental Policy Act, agencies must consider the environmental impacts of major federal actions before they can move forward. But agencies frequently downplay or ignore the climate change impacts of their projects in NEPA analyses, citing a slew of technical difficulties and uncertainties. This Article analyzes a suite of the most common analytical failures on the part of agencies with respect to climate change: failure to account for a project’s …


The Incidental Environmental Agency, Tara K. Righetti Jul 2020

The Incidental Environmental Agency, Tara K. Righetti

Utah Law Review

State oil and gas conservation agencies are the gatekeepers to oil and gas development: as the agencies charged with granting drilling permits, they decide if, when, where, and how oil and gas will be developed. As such, oil and gas conservation agencies sit on the front lines in the emerging, and increasingly irresolvable, struggle between fossil energy development and the environment. Current oil and gas conservation regulation is designed to promote development, maximize recovery of the resource, and protect the individual property rights of mineral owners. However, advocacy by environmental constituencies, including surface owners and local governments, has challenged the …


Deploying Machine Learning For A Sustainable Future, Cary Coglianese May 2020

Deploying Machine Learning For A Sustainable Future, Cary Coglianese

All Faculty Scholarship

To meet the environmental challenges of a warming planet and an increasingly complex, high tech economy, government must become smarter about how it makes policies and deploys its limited resources. It specifically needs to build a robust capacity to analyze large volumes of environmental and economic data by using machine-learning algorithms to improve regulatory oversight, monitoring, and decision-making. Three challenges can be expected to drive the need for algorithmic environmental governance: more problems, less funding, and growing public demands. This paper explains why algorithmic governance will prove pivotal in meeting these challenges, but it also presents four likely obstacles that …


Disunity Among The United States: Navigating Net-Metering Without Getting Electrocuted, Aundene Szmolyan Jan 2020

Disunity Among The United States: Navigating Net-Metering Without Getting Electrocuted, Aundene Szmolyan

The Journal of Business, Entrepreneurship & the Law

As it stands, the progress towards fighting climate change at the national level is in disarray, and there is a complete disunity of direction and goals at the state level. This paper highlights the disunity by providing a case study of the different regulations, which affect the solar power industry across all fifty states, with a particular focus paid to net metering regulations. Through an examination of this industry, three startling conclusions will emerge. First, investor-owned utilities apply intense political pressure through lobbying efforts to maintain the current status quo of the utility industry’s economic model, which results in the …


Avoiding Maladaptations To Flooding And Erosion: A Case Study Of Alaska Native Villages, Elizaveta Barrett Ristroph Jun 2019

Avoiding Maladaptations To Flooding And Erosion: A Case Study Of Alaska Native Villages, Elizaveta Barrett Ristroph

Ocean and Coastal Law Journal

This article offers perspective on how Alaska Native Villages (ANVs), which are small and rural indigenous communities, are adapting to changes in flooding and erosion. It considers which adaptations might be maladaptations and what might be done to facilitate adaptation short of relocating entire communities. It outlines the United States' legal framework applicable to flooding and erosion and considers why this framework may do little to assist ANVs and similarly situated small and rural communities. Findings regarding adaptation strategies and obstacles are drawn from my Ph.D. research, which involved a review of plans for fifty nine ANVs and 153 interviews …


Juliana V. United States, Daniel Brister May 2019

Juliana V. United States, Daniel Brister

Public Land & Resources Law Review

In 2015, a group of adolescents between the ages of eight and nineteen filed a lawsuit against the federal government for infringing upon their civil rights to a healthy, habitable future living environment. Those Plaintiffs in Juliana v. United States alleged that the industrial-scale burning of fossil fuels was causing catastrophic and destabilizing impacts to the global climate, threatening the survival and welfare of present and future generations. Seeking to reduce the United States’ contributions to atmospheric carbon dioxide, Plaintiffs demanded injunctive and declaratory relief to halt the federal government’s policies of promoting and subsidizing fossil fuels, due to the …