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Full-Text Articles in Law

Reducing Septic-Reliant Households: How A Comprehensive Legal Scheme Could Improve Water Quality, Environmental, And Human Health, Karlin Foor, Anna Bailey Apr 2023

Reducing Septic-Reliant Households: How A Comprehensive Legal Scheme Could Improve Water Quality, Environmental, And Human Health, Karlin Foor, Anna Bailey

Virginia Coastal Policy Center

Considering the [...] concerns of septic reliance in Virginia, this paper will present and explicate three issues pertaining to the Maryland Sustainable Growth and Preservation Act (the “Septic Law”). Maryland's Septic Law represents an effort at a statewide legal scheme for approaching the issue of rapid development on septic. It may function as a useful starting point for Virginia to approach the danger that failing septic poses to Virginian citizens and the health of the Chesapeake Bay, a vital contributor to the state economy and cultural heritage. Part II opens with an overview of Maryland’s Septic Law. Part III evaluates …


Environmental Law, Travis M. Trimble Jan 2022

Environmental Law, Travis M. Trimble

Scholarly Works

In 2021, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, in an issue of first impression, concluded that the United States is not a "person" under the contribution provision of the Oil Pollution Act (OPA),2 and therefore the provision did not waive the sovereign immunity of the United States. For this and other reasons a plaintiff could not recover in contribution from the United States for the plaintiffs costs of cleaning up an oil spill, even where the plaintiff alleged the spill was the result of the sole negligence of the United States. The United States District …


Realigning The Clean Water Act: Comprehensive Treatment Of Nonpoint Source Pollution, Robin M. Rotman, Ashley A. Hollis, Kathleen M. Trauth Sep 2021

Realigning The Clean Water Act: Comprehensive Treatment Of Nonpoint Source Pollution, Robin M. Rotman, Ashley A. Hollis, Kathleen M. Trauth

Faculty Publications

Nonpoint source pollution is the biggest threat to water quality in the United States today. This Article argues for stronger federal controls over nonpoint source pollution. It begins by examining the history of water quality regulation in the United States, including the passage and amendment of the Clean Water Act and the evolving definition of “navigable waters” over time. The Article then discusses recent rulemaking and litigation developments, including the Clean Water Rule, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, and the County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund case. It offers three recommendations. First, the Article calls for a congressional …


The Law Of Enhanced Weathering For Carbon Dioxide Removal: Volume 2 – Legal Issues Associated With Materials Sourcing, Romany M. Webb Jan 2021

The Law Of Enhanced Weathering For Carbon Dioxide Removal: Volume 2 – Legal Issues Associated With Materials Sourcing, Romany M. Webb

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the increase in global average temperatures well below 2°C, and ideally to 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels will likely require the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This could be achieved in various ways, including by enhancing natural weathering processes in which carbon dioxide reacts with silicate-based rocks, eventually forming carbonate minerals (e.g., limestone). Research suggests that the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered through this natural process can be increased by grinding silicate-rich minerals (e.g., olivine) or rocks (e.g., dunite) to increase their surface area and then spreading the powder over land or …


Using Citizen Suits To Remedy Environmental Injustice And Achieve Clean Water In California, Paul Kneitz Apr 2020

Using Citizen Suits To Remedy Environmental Injustice And Achieve Clean Water In California, Paul Kneitz

Poverty Law Conference & Symposium

Nearly fifty years since the passage of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) in 1972, widespread pollution of California’s surface and groundwater continues across the state. “Over half of California’s lakes, bays, wetlands, and estuaries are too polluted to swim, drink, or fish,” according to the State Water Resources Control Board. Poor and working-class communities suffer disproportionately from the negative externalities and environmental impacts of water pollution, including effects on human health and wellness.

With a focus on the CWA citizen suit provision, this paper examines how the legal and administrative processes for water pollution control have not effectively addressed the …


Trash Talk: An Exploration Of The Problem Of Marine Debris And Some Virginia-Specific Solutions, Elizabeth Pindilli Apr 2020

Trash Talk: An Exploration Of The Problem Of Marine Debris And Some Virginia-Specific Solutions, Elizabeth Pindilli

Virginia Coastal Policy Center

In an effort to address the problem of marine debris, the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (Virginia CZMP) undertook a planning process that resulted in the Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan (VMDRP) in 2014. In light of the policy issues raised in the VMDRP, this paper will explore the issue of marine debris and some possible solutions that can be pursued in Virginia.

This abstract has been adapted from the author's introduction.


An Emerging Containment Of (Legal) Concern: Pfas Legal Issues At The State And Federal Level, Michael S. Heard Snow, Conor M. Jennings Apr 2020

An Emerging Containment Of (Legal) Concern: Pfas Legal Issues At The State And Federal Level, Michael S. Heard Snow, Conor M. Jennings

Virginia Coastal Policy Center

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are a class of man-made industrial chemicals that have been widely used in a variety of ways, primarily in water-resistant coatings and fire-fighting foam. Their widespread use has led to broad contamination threats to human drinking water sources, including surface and groundwater. As a result, they are an emerging contaminant of concern that are swiftly turning into a global health threat on the forefront of regulatory and policy debates. PFAS have been detected in both aquatic life and humans, and research is increasingly clear that there are concrete health risks to excessive exposure. Currently …


The Law Of Enhanced Weathering For Carbon Dioxide Removal, Romany M. Webb Jan 2020

The Law Of Enhanced Weathering For Carbon Dioxide Removal, Romany M. Webb

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Despite scientists’ dire warnings about the catastrophic impacts of climate change, the greenhouse gases that cause it continue to be emitted in substantial amounts. While there is no question that deep, across the board cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are essential, many scientists now agree that simply cutting future emissions will not be enough. It will also be necessary to remove previously-emitted greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. This paper explores one greenhouse gas removal technique – enhanced weathering – which involves spreading finely ground silicate rocks or other materials with similar chemical composition over land or ocean waters. The materials …


Environmental Injustice: How Treaties Undermine The Right To A Healthy Environment, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson, Ella Merrill Nov 2019

Environmental Injustice: How Treaties Undermine The Right To A Healthy Environment, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson, Ella Merrill

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Our planet faces unprecedented threats, including irreversible global warming, loss in biodiversity, and water pollution and water scarcity. The impacts of these environmental crises also threaten human rights and exacerbate inequality. Slowing these worsening environmental trends – and addressing the impacts of environmental change on populations – will require cumulative policy responses at the national and international level.


Phase Ii Ms4 Permit Requirements: A Survey Of Public Education And Outreach & Public Involvement And Participation Efforts, Connor Jennings, Donnie Autry Apr 2019

Phase Ii Ms4 Permit Requirements: A Survey Of Public Education And Outreach & Public Involvement And Participation Efforts, Connor Jennings, Donnie Autry

Virginia Coastal Policy Center

Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), various types of stormwater discharges must be regulated through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program, since the water often flows untreated into local waterways and potentially could contain high levels of pollution and contaminants. Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) consist of any conveyance designed to collect or convey stormwater (e.g., storm drains, underground pipes, gutters, curbs) that are not part of a combined sewer system or water treatment plant. Generally, these systems are owned by municipalities but can also include large users such as public universities, hospitals, and military bases. …


Groundwater Injection Projects: Mitigating The Risk Of Emerging Contaminants, Conor Jennings Apr 2018

Groundwater Injection Projects: Mitigating The Risk Of Emerging Contaminants, Conor Jennings

Virginia Coastal Policy Center

The Hampton Roads region is one of the fastest growing population centers in Virginia, meaning that demand for clean drinking water is only increasing. In response to this growing problem, the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD), whose mission is to treat the region’s wastewater, has developed and begun to implement the Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT) project to better reclaim treated wastewater by directly injecting it into the aquifer. Currently, HRSD’s treated wastewater is simply released into surface waters but this process does not help replenish the aquifer because the natural replenishment of the underground aquifer through surface water …


Breathing Air With Heft: An Experiential Report On Environmental Law And Public Health In China, Erin Ryan Jan 2018

Breathing Air With Heft: An Experiential Report On Environmental Law And Public Health In China, Erin Ryan

Scholarly Publications

This article explores the gritty intersections of daily life and environmental law in modern China, an industrial powerhouse still struggling to reconcile economic opportunity with breathable air, clean water, healthy food, and safe products. With comparative perspective on analogous challenges in the United States, the article reports on these critical domestic challenges for China at a pivotal moment in its reemergence as a dominant world power. China’s continued geopolitical rise may well hinge on its ability to respond successfully to the environmental causes of growing social unrest. In 2011, in the midst of this maelstrom, I brought my husband, young …


Report To The Governor And The Chairmen Of The House Committee On Agriculture, Chesapeake And Natural Resources And The Senate Committee On Agriculture, Conservation And Natural Resources, Pursuant To House Bill 1774, Commonwealth Center For Recurrent Flooding Resiliency Dec 2017

Report To The Governor And The Chairmen Of The House Committee On Agriculture, Chesapeake And Natural Resources And The Senate Committee On Agriculture, Conservation And Natural Resources, Pursuant To House Bill 1774, Commonwealth Center For Recurrent Flooding Resiliency

Virginia Coastal Policy Center

This report was required by House Bill 1774 (2017), in which the General Assembly requested that the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency convene a workgroup to study the administration of the Commonwealth’s current stormwater management program, as well as the potential treatment and use of water in roadside ditches in rural, Tidewater Virginia localities.

Under the Virginia Stormwater Management Act, the Department of Environmental Quality administers stormwater management requirements for any localities that opt out of becoming a Virginia Stormwater Management Program authority, but only for land disturbances of one acre or more that are covered by the Virginia …


Drilling For Common Ground: How Public Opinion Tracks Experts In The Debate Over Federal Regulation Of Shale Oil & Gas Extraction, Elizabeth Ann Glass Geltman Jan 2016

Drilling For Common Ground: How Public Opinion Tracks Experts In The Debate Over Federal Regulation Of Shale Oil & Gas Extraction, Elizabeth Ann Glass Geltman

Publications and Research

Public interest in environmental and health impacts from shale oil and gas extraction (what the public calls “fracking”) is growing. Industry claims the public outcry against the new technology is not grounded in science. In February 2013, Resources for the Future (“RFF”) published a list of high priority “risk pathways” that experts from NGOs, academia, government, and industry all agreed were real concerns about fracking. This article used the risk matrix to evaluate whether public comments in dockets of federal agencies that proposed regulation concerning hydraulic fracturing tracked expert concern. The article found that the public tracked many of the …


Drinking Water Protection And Agricultural Exceptionalism, Margot J. Pollans Jan 2016

Drinking Water Protection And Agricultural Exceptionalism, Margot J. Pollans

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Providing safe drinking water is a basic responsibility of government. In the United States, local water utilities shoulder much of this burden, but federal drinking water law sets these utilities up to fail. The primary problem arises in the context of nonpoint source pollution, where federal drinking water law favors end-of-line clean up by water utilities over pollution prevention by farmers and other nonpoint source polluters. This system is both inefficient and unfair.

Although the Safe Drinking Water Act requires local utilities to provide safe water, it gives them few tools to engage in water pollution prevention and instead emphasizes …


Drugs On Tap: Managing Pharmaceuticals In Our Nation’S Waters, Gabriel Eckstein Sep 2015

Drugs On Tap: Managing Pharmaceuticals In Our Nation’S Waters, Gabriel Eckstein

Faculty Scholarship

Pharmaceuticals in the environment and public water supplies are believed to have serious impacts on human and environmental health. Current research suggests that exposure to certain drugs and their residues may result in a variety of adverse human health effects. Other studies more conclusively show that even minute concentrations of pharmaceuticals in the environment can have detrimental effects on aquatic and terrestrial species. Unfortunately, the cost of removing these pernicious substances is out of the financial reach of most municipalities and wastewater and drinking water treatment operators.

Despite the concerns, little effort has been made to develop broad management, mitigatory, …


Plain Meaning, Precedent, And Metaphysics: Interpreting The “Navigable Waters” Element Of The Federal Water Pollution Offense, Jeffrey G. Miller Jan 2015

Plain Meaning, Precedent, And Metaphysics: Interpreting The “Navigable Waters” Element Of The Federal Water Pollution Offense, Jeffrey G. Miller

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article, the third in a series of five, examines the meaning of “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. It traces the traditional judicial interpretation of navigable waters and how Congress and EPA attempted to extend its meaning, then examines how the term has been applied in the context of tributaries and wetlands, isolated waters, groundwater, and EPA’s unitary theory of navigable waters. The author then analyzes EPA and the Corps’ 2014 proposed amendments to the definition of “waters of the United States,” and concludes that those amendments may resolve much of the interpretive crisis.


Plain Meaning, Precedent, And Metaphysics: Interpreting The “Point Source” Element Of The Clean Water Act Offense, Jeffrey G. Miller Jan 2015

Plain Meaning, Precedent, And Metaphysics: Interpreting The “Point Source” Element Of The Clean Water Act Offense, Jeffrey G. Miller

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article, the fourth in a series of five, examines the continuing struggles to define “point source” and “nonpoint source” under the Clean Water Act. State regulation of nonpoint sources is neither pervasive nor robust, and most continuing water pollution problems can be traced primarily to nonpoint sources. EPA should define nonpoint sources by regulation and begin to expand the definition of point source by incorporating established case law and Agency practice to bring more nonpoint sources into the point source definition.


Slides: What We Know (And Don’T Know) About The Effects Of Oil And Gas Development On Water Quality, Joseph N. Ryan Jun 2014

Slides: What We Know (And Don’T Know) About The Effects Of Oil And Gas Development On Water Quality, Joseph N. Ryan

Water and Air Quality Issues in Oil and Gas Development: The Evolving Framework of Regulation and Management (Martz Summer Conference, June 5-6)

Presenter: Prof. Joe Ryan, University of Colorado Boulder, Environmental Engineering, AirWaterGas Sustainability Research Network, www.airwatergas.org

28 slides


The Paper Tiger Gets Teeth: Developments In Chinese Environmental Law, Erin Ryan Jan 2014

The Paper Tiger Gets Teeth: Developments In Chinese Environmental Law, Erin Ryan

Scholarly Publications

This very short essay reports on the 2014 amendments to China’s Environmental Protection Law, following a series of internationally reported air and water pollution crises leading to unprecedented public protests. The changes promise more meaningful oversight of industrial pollution and harsher penalties for violations, targeting not only polluters but officials who fail to enforce applicable regulations against them. The amendments also empower certain non-governmental organizations to bring environmental litigation on behalf of the public. Official news accounts openly acknowledge the government’s hope that increased public access to legal redress will reduce the growing trend of mass environmental protests. These are …


Plain Meaning, Precedent, And Metaphysics: Interpreting The “Pollutant” Element Of The Federal Water Pollution Offense, Jeffrey G. Miller Jan 2014

Plain Meaning, Precedent, And Metaphysics: Interpreting The “Pollutant” Element Of The Federal Water Pollution Offense, Jeffrey G. Miller

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article, the second in a series of five, examines the meaning of “pollutant” under the Clean Water Act. Congress and EPA have defined “pollutant” to mean a list of specific substances and broad categories of materials and wastes discharged into water, e.g., “biological materials” and “chemical wastes.” The definition is broad enough to encompass virtually all substances associated with human activity that are discharged to water, regardless of whether the substances cause pollution or are produced through human endeavor. Therefore, “pollutant” is rarely a limiting element. Instead, the issues with the definition of “pollutant” primarily address whether it includes …


Writing A Check That The State Can't Cash: Water Pollution From Coal Mining And The Imminent And Inevitable Failure Of The West Virginia Special Reclamation Fund, Sarah J. Surber Jan 2013

Writing A Check That The State Can't Cash: Water Pollution From Coal Mining And The Imminent And Inevitable Failure Of The West Virginia Special Reclamation Fund, Sarah J. Surber

Applied Safety & Technology Faculty Research

After decades of financial decadence and total dominance over political processes, coal companies have hit desperate times. Cheap, abundant natural gas recently emerged, driving demand for coal for energy production and coal prices down. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally moved to more stringent emissions limitations for coal-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act. Concurrently, the public demanded improvements in safety technology after several tragic mining accidents resulted from lax safety measures and a corporate culture of recklessness. During this time, environmental citizen groups worked to ensure that mining companies no longer violated the Clean Water Act …


Agenda: Drafting Model Laws On Indoor Pollution For Developing And Developed Nations, University Of Colorado Boulder. Center For Energy & Environmental Security, Colorado Natural Resources, Energy And Environmental Law Review Jul 2012

Agenda: Drafting Model Laws On Indoor Pollution For Developing And Developed Nations, University Of Colorado Boulder. Center For Energy & Environmental Security, Colorado Natural Resources, Energy And Environmental Law Review

Drafting Model Laws on Indoor Pollution for Developing and Developed Nations (July 12-13)

On July 12 and 13, 2012, experts convened at Colorado Law to demonstrate the extent to which a model law could help address the global problem of indoor air pollution from inefficient cook stoves. The air pollution that results from inefficiently burning biomass as fuel for cooking has serious health and climatic consequences. The workshop produced two sets of Model Laws and commentaries to help nations solve the problem, and the commentaries were published in the Colorado Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law Review.


Drafting Model Laws On Indoor Pollution For Developing And Developed Nations Workshop, July 12-13, 2012, Boulder, Colorado: Introduction, Lakshman Guruswamy Jul 2012

Drafting Model Laws On Indoor Pollution For Developing And Developed Nations Workshop, July 12-13, 2012, Boulder, Colorado: Introduction, Lakshman Guruswamy

Drafting Model Laws on Indoor Pollution for Developing and Developed Nations (July 12-13)

11 pages.

"This Essay introduces the framework for deliberation and legislative drafting undertaken at the workshop: Drafting Model Laws on Indoor Pollution for Developing and Developed Nations on July 12-13, 2012, in Boulder, Colorado. There are a number of fundamental premises upon which the workshop was based, and this Essay refers to the most salient among them."-- Excerpted from 24 Colo. Nat. Resources, Energy & Envtl. L. Rev. 319 (2013).


Improving Water Quality Antidegradation Policies, Robert L. Glicksman, Sandra B. Zellmer Jan 2012

Improving Water Quality Antidegradation Policies, Robert L. Glicksman, Sandra B. Zellmer

GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works

The Clean Water Act’s principal goal is to “restore and maintain” the integrity of the nation’s surface water bodies. The Act’s adoption was spurred largely by the perception that unchecked pollution had caused the degradation of those waters, making them unsuitable for uses such as fishing and swimming. At the time Congress passed the statute, however, some lakes, rivers, and streams had water quality that was better than what was needed to support these uses. An important question was whether the statute would limit discharges with the potential to impair these high quality waters. EPA’s anti-degradation policy sought to ensure …


Slides: Collaborative Planning And Lessons Learned, Matt Sura May 2011

Slides: Collaborative Planning And Lessons Learned, Matt Sura

Best Management Practices (BMPs): What? How? And Why? (May 26)

Presenter: Matt Sura, University of Colorado Law School

48 slides


Slides: The Costs And Benefits Of Best Management Practices: Insights From The Marcellus Shale, Timothy J. Considine May 2011

Slides: The Costs And Benefits Of Best Management Practices: Insights From The Marcellus Shale, Timothy J. Considine

Best Management Practices (BMPs): What? How? And Why? (May 26)

Presenter: Timothy J. Considine, School of Energy Resources, Department of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming

15 slides


Colorado River Water: Mexico's Perspective On The Ongoing Negotiations, Mario López Pérez Feb 2010

Colorado River Water: Mexico's Perspective On The Ongoing Negotiations, Mario López Pérez

US-Mexico Negotiations on Improved Colorado River Management: An Update (February 19)

Presenter: Mario López, Engineering and Technical Standards Manager, National Water Commission of México

53 slides


Slides: The Peril Of Energy Usage, Mike Tupper Feb 2010

Slides: The Peril Of Energy Usage, Mike Tupper

The Promise and Peril of Oil Shale Development (February 5)

Presenter: Mike Tupper, Executive Vice President, Composite Technology Development, Inc.

9 slides


Agenda: Western Water Law, Policy And Management: Ripples, Currents, And New Channels For Inquiry, University Of Colorado Boulder. Natural Resources Law Center, Western Water Policy Program Jun 2009

Agenda: Western Water Law, Policy And Management: Ripples, Currents, And New Channels For Inquiry, University Of Colorado Boulder. Natural Resources Law Center, Western Water Policy Program

Western Water Law, Policy and Management: Ripples, Currents, and New Channels for Inquiry (Martz Summer Conference, June 3-5)

In many pockets of the American West, stresses and demands on water resources are overwhelming our capacity to effectively manage change and accommodate the diversity of interests and values associated with our limited water resources.

This event will offer an opportunity for lawyers, policymakers, and water professionals to engage the experts on the challenges and emerging solutions to the most pressing water policy and management issues of the day.