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Vibrant Environment

Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade: Many Targets, But No Silver Bullets

African elephant in Botswana (Sponchia / Pixabay).
John Hare-Grogg
Benjamin Solomon-Schwartz
Carl Bruch
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

International illegal wildlife trade (IWT) threatens global biodiversity, imperils certain charismatic species, and fuels organized crime. Wildlife trafficking is the world’s fourth most lucrative crime, after only the trafficking of drugs, humans, and arms. Approximately 350 million plants and animals are sold on the black market every year, with an estimated value of between US $7 billion and $23 billion.

Achim Steiner Receives ELI’s Environmental Achievement Award

Achim Steiner
Laura Frederick
Monday, November 6, 2017

On October 18th, the Environmental Law Institute hosted its annual ELI Award Dinner. Affectionately known as the “environmental law prom,” over 650 of the best and brightest environmental professionals from across the country descended upon Washington, D.C., to connect with colleagues and honor this year’s winner of the ELI Environmental Achievement Award.

Scott Pruitt’s EPA: “Back to Basics” or Slash and Burn?

Scott Pruitt (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
ELR Staff
Wednesday, November 1, 2017

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s “back to basics” agenda for the Agency suggests a renewed focus on the fundamentals of environmental protection. But according to a new article in the November 2017 issue of the Environmental Law Reporter, “Pruitt is not preserving the ‘basics’ of our environmental protection system, but deconstructing them.”

Haunted by Dead Electronics? Don’t Let E-Waste Laws Scare You!

E-Waste (Wikimedia Commons)
Cynthia Harris
Monday, October 30, 2017

Electronic waste, or e-waste, is the fastest-growing segment of the municipal waste stream. Nearly 100% is recyclable, and valuable materials like plastics, metals, and glass can be recovered. E-waste also can contain toxic materials, like lead, mercury, and arsenic. Worldwide, up to 50 million tons of e-waste is expected to be dumped in 2017. Yet, in the United States, less than 30 percent is recycled.

2nd Inter-American Congress on the Environmental Rule of Law Convenes in Santiago, Chile

The 2nd Inter-American Congress on the Environmental Rule of Law was held in San
Alejandra Rabasa
Monday, October 23, 2017

On September 4-6, the Organization of American States (OAS), UN Environment, the Global Judicial Institute on the Environment (GJIE), the World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL), the Supreme Court of Chile, and other partners convened the 2nd Inter-American Congress on the Environmental Rule of Law in Santiago, Chile. 

The Endangered Species Act: Are State Backstops Sufficient?

State laws may be insufficient to implement the federal Endangered Species Act.
ELR Staff
Monday, October 16, 2017

The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) enjoys considerable popular support and provides enormous ecological and other benefits beyond the protection of particular species. Yet the Act is not without its skeptics—longstanding calls to overhaul the Act have only gained traction in the 115th U.S. Congress and new Donald Trump Administration.

Environmental Protection in the Trump Era

Environmental Protection in the Trump Era
John Pendergrass
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Here at ELI, we’ve seen a growing demand for unbiased answers and analysis on how deregulatory initiatives by the Administration and Congress will impact environmental protection, governance, and the rule of law. To that end, we recently collaborated with the American Bar Association’s Civil Rights and Social Justice Section to publish an ebook to aid understanding of the legal mechanisms that the White House, federal agencies, and Congress are using to change the regulatory approach to environmental, natural resources, and health and safety protections. The book attempts to answer these questions: What are the pathways and potential impacts of these ongoing regulatory changes? What are the opportunities for the public and other stakeholders to engage relative to these initiatives?

Mitigating Ocean Noise Impacts on Marine Mammals in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction

Underwater noise can cause injury or death to whales (Christopher Michel).
Monday, September 25, 2017

Humans are rapidly increasing their industrial use of the ocean and its resources, resulting in great increases in underwater noise. Commercial shipping, naval sonar, seismic exploration, pile driving, acoustic deterrents for fishing, and seabed mining all produce ocean noise.

The Death of Public Citizen in Pipeline NEPA Analysis

A natural gas pipeline under construction (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).
Howard Nelson
Kenneth M. Minesinger
Gus Howard
Monday, September 11, 2017

Last month, the D.C. Circuit held in a 2-1 opinion that FERC was required to consider the downstream emissions created by power plants to be served by a proposed pipeline in Florida. The case not only raises questions about the scope of FERC’s NEPA review for new natural gas pipeline projects, but also about the application of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Department of Transportation v. Public Citizen, 541 U.S. 752 (2004).

FIFRA at 40: The Case for Stronger Criminal Penalties

Farm workers are at high risk of harmful pesticide exposure (Photo: Aqua Mech.)
ELR Staff
Wednesday, September 6, 2017

In 2010, two sisters—ages 1 and 4—died after licensed exterminators misapplied pesticides too close to their home. In 2011, roughly 60 dead mammals and migratory birds were found on and near a private hunting preserve after pesticides were unlawfully applied in hopes of killing coyotes. And in 2015, an entire family was hospitalized, and now suffers from neurological damage, following the improper pesticide fumigation of their house. Yet, the perpetrators in each of these cases were only charged with misdemeanors.

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