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Volume 36, Issue 5 — May 2006


The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: Potential Mechanisms for Ensuring Compliance and Resolving Disputes

by Daniele Manzella

Editor's Summary: Plant genetic resources are essential to feeding the world's population. With the goal of guaranteeing food security through the conservation, exchange, and sustainable use of the world's plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, as well as the fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from its use, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations adopted the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in November 2001, after seven years of negotiation. In this Article, Daniele Manzella examines the enforceable obligations of the Contracting Parties to the treaty, as well as the contract obligations of parties to material transfer agreements that arise under it, and makes a number of recommendations to ensure the treaty's successful implementation.

Fictional Credits or Progressive Action? Seattle Utility's Greenhouse Gas Offset Program Goes to Court

by Laura H. Kosloff, Slayde Hawkins

Editor's Summary: Several cities have developed innovative initiatives to combat global warming in the absence of concerted federal regulatory action. One such city is Seattle, Washington. In April 2000, the city directed its municipal utility, Seattle City Light, to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions through efficiency, renewable energy, and offsets. In July 2001, City Light became the first U.S. utility to commit to reaching zero net greenhouse gas emissions. Yet this program has not come without its challenges. In this Article, Laura Kosloff and Slayde Hawkins examine City Light's program and the litigation that followed in hopes of providing lessons for other municipalities seeking to address climate change.

Lessons in State Implementation of Marine Reserves: California's Marine Life Protection Act Initiative

by James Mize

Editors' Summary: The oceans are one of earth's most valuable natural resources, yet they continue to be threatened by pollution, overfishing, habitat destruction, and coastal sprawl. Marine reserves, discrete areas of the ocean where no extraction of marine life is allowed, offer a powerful tool for protecting species and ecosystem health. Although most efforts at implementing marine reserves in the United States are taken at the federal level, several states, including California, have developed their own marine reserve programs. In this Article, Capt. James Mize focuses on California's experience in creating marine reserves, focusing primarily on the challenges that arose during its implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act. In so doing, he offers a number of recommendations that other states can use in designing their own programs to protect this important resource.

The Superfund Program at Its 25th Anniversary

by John Quarles, Michael W. Steinberg

Editor's Summary: On December 11, 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed into law CERCLA, commonly referred to as Superfund, creating a federal program to clean up our nation's most polluted hazardous waste sites. Today, every state and nearly every territory of the United States has at least one Superfund site within its borders. In this Article, John Quarles and Michael Steinberg examine the first 25 years of the Superfund program. In so doing, they provide insight as to where this program may lead in the future.

Justified Trespass: How and Why Recreationists May Sometimes Enjoy America's Private Lands

by Matthew Kupono Carr

Editors' Summary: All Americans should have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and wonder that our nation's lands have to offer. Yet while the number of public lands remains somewhat constant, the number of visitors to these places is rapidly increasing. Consequently, as America's recreational resources become more crowded, they are also becoming more degraded, less peaceful, and subject to more use limits. Meanwhile, several recreational opportunities exist on private lands. In this Article, Matt Carr explores the circumstances under which access to these "hidden gems" may be justified, setting forth the legal mechanisms that may be used to secure such access rights. While he acknowledges and respects the rights of landowners, he argues that public access to private lands can benefit society as a whole without unfairly burdening private landowners or negatively impacting the environment.