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Volume 36, Issue 6 — June 2006


Getting Into the Act: Enticing the Consumer to Become "Green" Through Tax Incentives

by Roberta F. Mann, Mona L. Hymel

Editor's Summary: Surveys show that the public will choose green alternatives if given the chance, yet average consumers are not making environmentally friendly choices in their everyday lives. In this Article, Profs. Roberta Mann and Mona Hymel examine this conundrum in the context of energy use and argue that well-designed tax incentives can encourage green behavior. After examining the elements necessary to create market demand, Mann and Hymel set forth the basic principles of a successful tax incentive program. The authors then look at the myriad of tax incentives available to promote consumer investment in alternative and fuel-efficient technologies. They conclude that although existing tax incentives encourage consumers to make green choices, the programs are poorly coordinated and fall short of their fullest potential. Federal, state, and local governments must therefore work together to achieve the common goal of preserving our environment.

Ossifying Ossification: Why the Information Act Should Not Provide for Judicial Review

by Margaret Clune

Editors' Summary: The Information Quality Act (IQA) was created to ensure the "quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity" of information disseminated by federal agencies. Although the Act's implementation guidelines allow for an administrative appeal process, the IQA does not provide for judicial review. Thus far, the courts have rejected claims for judicial review of agency IQA decisions. Those who support a broad reading of the Act, therefore, are likely to seek legislative relief. In this Article, Margaret Clune argues against allowing judicial review of IQA requests. In addition to demonstrating why neither the IQA nor the APA allow for judicial review, she implores Congress not to make the IQA judicially reviewable. Doing so would improperly delegate policy questions to the courts, exacerbate existing problems of the IQA, and overburden the federal courts.

Radioactive Warfare: Depleted Uranium Weapons, the Environment, and International Law

by Robert Thompson

Editor's Summary: No one can deny the terrible toll that a nuclear bomb has on humans and our environment. But what about the impacts of weapons containing depleted uranium (DU), a low-level radioactive waste product? A number of countries, including the United States, have used DU munitions during times of war. In this Article, Prof. Robert Thompson discusses the health and environmental impacts of DU munitions. He also examines international laws and guiding principles, including the Hague and Geneva Conventions, which may be helpful in addressing DU contamination. Although more questions than answers remain about the use of DU, Professor Thompson argues that given its inherently dangerous and toxic nature, nations wishing to use DU must first prove that it can be used without harming future generations.

Collaborative Problem-Solving: An Option for Preventing and Resolving Environmental Conflicts

by Barry E. Hill, Nicholas Targ

Editor's Summary: Resolving environmental disputes through litigation can be time-consuming and expensive, particularly for community groups and nongovernmental organizations. Moreover, the end results are often disappointing for all of the parties involved. Not surprisingly, collaborative problem-solving is becoming an attractive alternative to traditional methods of dispute resolution. After providing background on the regulatory climate that led to the increased use of negotiation techniques, Barry Hill and Nicholas Targ examine the keys to successful collaborative problem-solving. They then demonstrate how this tool has benefited industry, the community, and the government, using case studies from real-life environmental justice disputes.

Massachusetts v. EPA: The D.C. Circuit's Failure to Extend the Clean Air Act to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

by Zachary Tyler

Editors' Summary: On July 15, 2005, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld EPA's decision not to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from automobiles, thereby thwarting efforts to use the CAA to curb climate change. In this Article, Zachary Tyler analyzes the court's decision, arguing that the court should have reached the opposite conclusion. Tyler looks at the events that led to the dispute, including how the Clinton and Bush Administrations differed in their interpretation of the CAA with respect to GHGs. He also examines the majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions and their differing views on standing, the CAA, and policy considerations. He concludes that while the court left certain issues unresolved, their ruling is a clear setback in efforts to curb climate change.