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Volume 49, Issue 7 — July 2019


Electronic Reporting and Monitoring in Fisheries: Data Privacy, Security, and Management Challenges and 21st-Century Solutions

by Monica Medina and Scott Nuzum

As human populations have more than doubled since 1960, pressure on wild fish stocks has increased dramatically. This Article argues that the establishment of an electronic reporting and monitoring regime in U.S. fisheries is both necessary to ensure compliance with statutory imperatives to manage them according to best available science, and essential for continued long-term viability of the U.S. fishing industry. While privacy issues pose some challenge to adoption of emerging technologies, these are not insurmountable, and generally can be addressed with existing legal mechanisms and commonsense improvements to regulation.

Corporate Renewable Energy Goals: What Does “100% Renewable” Really Mean?

by Sofia O’Connor, James McElfish, and Lovinia Reynolds

There is a movement among companies to use more renewable energy and less energy obtained from fossil fuels. Some are pledging to go “100% renewable,” while many others have set goals to rely on substantial percentages of renewable energy. In addition to setting these goals, many companies report on how much renewable energy they currently use, and convey this information in annual sustainability reports or in publicly issued statements and news releases. As companies commit to relying exclusively or to a larger extent on renewable energy, members of the public should examine what specifically a company means by its goal, and what it means when it reports progress. This Article seeks to demystify the voluntary world of corporate renewable energy claims. It reviews company statements to understand the different strategies companies employ and the actual effects their actions have on the development of new renewable energy projects and the demand for renewable electric power.

Overcoming Impediments to Offshore CO2 Storage: Legal Issues in the United States and Canada

by Romany M. Webb and Michael B. Gerrard

Limiting future temperature increases and associated climate change requires immediate action to prevent additional carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere and to lower the existing atmospheric carbon dioxide load. This could be advanced through carbon capture and storage (CCS), which involves collecting carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released by power plants or similar facilities and injecting it into underground geologic formations, where it will remain permanently sequestered. The techniques developed for CCS can also be used to sequester carbon dioxide that has been removed from the atmosphere using direct air capture or other negative emission technologies. Past CCS research has primarily focused on sequestering carbon dioxide onshore, for example, in depleted oil and gas reservoirs or deep saline aquifers. This Article explores the legal framework governing sub-seabed carbon dioxide injection (offshore CCS) in U.S. and Canadian waters, particularly the Cascadia Basin, where there is a large sub-seabed basalt rock formation with significant storage potential.


Interior’s Authority to Curb Fossil Fuel Leasing

by John D. Leshy

In his recent statements and testimony before the U.S. Congress, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has expressed doubt he has the legal authority to limit his unrelenting campaign to lease fossil fuels on America’s public lands. He has supplemented this by offering a rather bizarre argument that he has no such obligation because carbon emissions are being curbed more in the United States than in many other countries. The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) reported not long ago that these emissions account for about one-quarter of total U.S. carbon emissions. This Comment discusses how Bernhardt’s position seriously misreads the applicable law.


Rethinking the Federal-State Relationship

by Donald Welsh, Julia Anastasio, Scott Fulton, and Sylvia Quast

Cooperative federalism can lead to more efficient and pragmatic environmental protection, and allow states to develop effective programs tailored to their needs and resources. Nevertheless, the future of the federal-state relationship in the environmental context is uncertain as state and federal priorities come into conflict: for instance, EPA’s proposal to revoke California’s authority to regulate tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases. Recent reports have begun a discussion on the future of cooperative federalism and environmental protection, but significant questions remain unanswered. On February 28, 2019, ELI held a discussion of the opportunities presented by increased state autonomy in environmental protection, including panelists expert in interstate environmental coordination and with significant experience in environmental compliance and stewardship. This Dialogue presents a transcript of the discussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.