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This Month's News & Analysis

Volume 47, Issue 10 — October 2017

Comment(s)

Proposal for a Multilateral Border Carbon Adjustment Scheme That Is Consistent With WTO Law

by Brian Chang

As the world considers how to respond to the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, one possible policy response is the adoption of border carbon adjustment (BCA) schemes that are compatible with international trade law. This Comment suggests that international trade law will permit BCAs on products from the United States if such schemes are designed to avoid the World Trade Organization's prohibitions on disguised protectionism and arbitrary or unjustified discrimination.

Assessing State Laws and Resources for Endangered Species Protection

by Alejandro E. Camacho, Michael Robinson-Dorn, Asena Cansu Yildiz, and Tara Teegarden

This Comment provides a comprehensive analysis of state endangered species laws and state funding to implement the federal ESA. It suggests that increased coordination between the states and federal agencies regarding the protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species has some benefits, and opportunities for partnerships between states and the federal government may enhance species protection. However, a close analysis of current state laws and state-level experience reveals that conservation laws in most states are inadequate to achieve the ESA’s conservation and recovery goals.

Articles

The CAA Motor Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program: Is It Cost Effective?

by Arnold W. Reitze Jr.,

Under the Clean Air Act, state-run vehicle inspection and maintenance (I/M) programs aim at preventing both manufacturers and consumers from circumventing or tampering with emissions control technology. Recent manufacturer cheating scandals, however, were detected by means other than I/M programs, and much I/M enforcement has been targeted at relatively low-level offenses. This Article traces the evolution of the I/M program and examines whether it currently provides benefits greater than its costs to vehicle owners, using Utah’s Wasatch Front (which includes Salt Lake City) to illustrate how the program operates in practice. It concludes that there is little current information to support or reject the efficacy of the I/M program, and that a fresh look is warranted to improve its effectiveness.

Legal Pathways to Carbon-Neutral Agriculture

by Peter Lehner and Nathan A. Rosenberg

This Article, excerpted from Michael B. Gerrard & John C. Dernbach, eds., Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (forthcoming in 2018 from ELI), examines the agricultural strategies, practices, and technologies available to increase soil carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It details pathways for amending existing federal and state legal regimes and enacting new ones, and recommends improving public agricultural research, development, and extension efforts; reforming federal subsidy and conservation programs; and revising trade policy, tax policy, regulatory strategies, financing for carbon farming, grazing practices on government land, and greenhouse gas pricing. It also describes how the private and philanthropic sectors can stimulate carbon farming; strategies for reducing emissions that stem from farm inputs and that result from food processing, distribution, consumption, and waste; and the potential to encourage consumption of climatefriendly foods through national dietary guidelines, procurement at all levels of government, and privatesector initiatives such as certification schemes and healthier menu options.

Dialogue

The State of Compensatory Mitigation

by Kathryn Campbell, Karen Bennett, Collis Adams, Donna Collier, and Vince Messerly

Compensatory mitigation has been a rapidly growing industry among states, nonprofits, and the private sector ever since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) released their 2008 Mitigation Rule, providing clarification to aid agencies, states, permittees, consultants, and others involved in the mitigation process. Since then, further efforts have been made to provide guidance through various rules, memorandums, and policy updates. However, with the Trump Administration’s plans for change, what can the mitigation industry expect moving forward? In conjunction with the 2017 National Wetlands Awards, ELI hosted a panel discussion on May 18, 2017, to address some of these uncertainties. Panelists discussed the future prospects and challenges that face the many aspects of this industry and what it means for wetlands protection. Here, we present a transcript of the discussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.

In the Courts

Pipeline approval must consider downstream carbon emissions.

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In the Courts Archive

In the Agencies

NMFS denies ESA listing for Pacific bluefin tuna.

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In the Agencies Archive

In the Congress

House passes Federal Power Act amendment on hydropower.

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In the Congress Archive

In the States

New Jersey proposes to amend air pollution rules.

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In the States Archive