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Vibrant Environment

Clear Corona Skies: Air Quality in the United States During a Global Pandemic

Caitlin F. McCarthy
Monday, April 27, 2020

With the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day still on our minds, air quality is thriving throughout the United States’ most populous areas. It is a goal long fought for by leaders in environmental law and policy, but it has only been achieved with the cost of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

Public Nuisance Lawsuits May Mitigate Meat Industry’s Environmental Impact

Micah Bradley
Linda Breggin
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

In “Animal Agriculture Liability for Climatic Nuisance: A Path Forward for Climate Change Litigation?,” Prof. Daniel E. Walters lays out a new path for climate litigation: environmental litigators should bring federal public nuisance suits to remedy environmental harms caused by animal agriculture.

Turning A Blind Eye to Drinking Water Risks

ELR Staff
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Drinking water contamination in Flint, Michigan, has garnered nationwide attention, but it is neither isolated, nor a primarily urban problem. As Madeline Kane explains in the April issue of ELR—The Environmental Law Reporter, a hidden water crisis is straining thousands of smaller communities that share Flint’s risk factors—shrinking populations, social marginalization, and deficient funds.

Earth Day 1970: A Look Back at Student Activism and Freedom of the Press

1970s
Stephen R. Dujack
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

It is now half a century since the first Earth Day. Not only did I help run our school’s “teach in” in 1970, it is also 50 years since my entrance into environmental journalism. A first-person history may help to affirm the importance of the environmental protections that soon followed, as well as of a robust student press to push today’s issues.

Charles Lee: Charting a Path Forward for Environmental Justice

smokestack sunset
ELR Staff
Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Over the past few years, considerable energy has been devoted toward advancing environmental justice (EJ) at the state level. State agencies can be robust laboratories for experimenting with ways to advance EJ, as they’re often tasked with making decisions under state and federal environmental law. As EJ pioneer Charles Lee explains in the March issue of ELR—The Environmental Law Reporter, state lessons can cross-fertilize and inform work at other levels of government, and the role of nongovernmental players is also critical to driving transformative change. Lee believes it is essential that those working to advance EJ systemically expand their discourse.

Federal Court Applies Environmental Justice

Photo by Caitlin Morris.
James M. McElfish, Jr.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, explicitly relied on environmental justice (EJ) concepts to vacate and remand a Virginia state air pollution permit for a compressor facility associated with an interstate natural gas pipeline. This is one of only a very few federal court decisions to address EJ expressly, and is noteworthy because of its explicit application of EJ elements.

Sinking Politics and Climate Migrants: Legal Opportunities for the United States (Part 2)

Jessica Oo
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

In the past, some domestic and international attempts to alleviate the burdens of migrant populations and establish legal protections for them have been implemented, but many of these protections are not specific enough and lack legally binding measures adequate to ensure that peoples displaced by weather-related disasters are protected on a global scale. International norms are important, as they can at least symbolically set a standard that national governments can follow.

Sinking Politics and Climate Migrants: Legal Opportunities for the United States (Part 1)

Jessica Oo
Monday, December 16, 2019

Countries around the world are slowly sinking and the list of vulnerable communities is only getting longer. According to the International Displacement Monitoring Center, 28 million people in 2018 were displaced from their homes due to regional conflict, violence, and environmental disasters.

Environmental Justice in Your City

Lovinia Reynolds
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

For decades, environmental justice advocates have imagined and advanced a vision of environmental governance that protects the most vulnerable communities from harmful pollutants and negative health impacts. Addressing environmental injustice in the diverse contexts of communities around the United States has resulted in a myriad of policy tools and programs for achieving environmental justice at all levels of government. While environmental injustice has global prevalence, environmental injustices are at their core local issues with a local solution space.

Wildfire Liability, Environmental Justice, and Climate Change

ELR Staff
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

As climate change worsens, so does the risk of wildfires. This is especially so in the western United States, as seen all too well in California in recent weeks. Adding fuel to the fire are the increasing number of homes built near areas prone to wildfires, the wildland-urban interface (WUI), which increases the risk to people and their homes, makes wildfires harder to control, and prohibits fires from being allowed to burn naturally.