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Vibrant Environment

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.

How Mandatory Are China’s Local Environmental Standards?

Zhuoshi Liu
Monday, March 23, 2020

Since China strengthened its environmental enforcement efforts in 2014, the quality of the country’s environment has been gradually improving. At the same time, however, many regulated businesses are finding it difficult to comply with the increasingly stringent local environmental standards imposed by local regulators.

Environmental Public Interest Litigation Could Be Instrumental in Protecting China’s National Parks

Panda
Zhuoshi Liu
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

With its vast land and sea territory spanning 9.6 million square kilometers (3.7 million square miles), China is one of 17 mega-biodiversity countries in the world. It is home to nearly 10% of all plant species and 14% of all animals on earth. Protecting China’s uniquely rich biodiversity is therefore paramount to the country itself and to the entire world.

Citizen Science & Environmental Agency Programs in the United States

NPS photo
George Wyeth
Monday, March 9, 2020

Citizen science—the gathering of environmental data by non-professionals—has taken root across the United States and internationally. However, much of this activity has focused on public awareness and education; the connection to government agencies is less publicized.

At the request of EPA, ELI is investigating how state, tribal, and local environmental agencies are using citizen science in their work. We have found a tremendous diversity of approaches, from programs organized and led by government to cases in which agencies are the end-users of information gathered by others such as community groups. We have also found some areas in which contributions by members of the public could be of great value to state or local environmental programs.

2019 Year in Review: Environmental Compliance & Enforcement

Avital Li
Monday, February 3, 2020

Since 2015, ELI has served as Secretariat for the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE). Now a month into the new year, we thought it was an opportune time to look back at INECE’s accomplishments from 2019, reflect on key developments pertaining to environmental compliance and enforcement, and share some news for 2020.

Water Act Rule Poses Challenges for States

Rebecca L. Kihslinger
James M. McElfish, Jr.
Monday, January 27, 2020

On January 23, 2020, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a final Navigable Waters Protection Rule to redefine “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). This new rule repeals a Reagan-era definition rule and adopts an even more limited definition of the waters of the United States that are subject to the federal Clean Water Act.

2020 Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review Winners Announced

Linda Breggin
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Each year, the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review (ELPAR)—a collaboration between Vanderbilt University Law School (VULS) and ELI—identifies articles that propose innovative law and policy approaches to pressing environmental problems. This year's awardees propose creative approaches to a range of cutting-edge environmental issues:

Portable Electronic Devices in Hazardous Areas

Digital Multimeter
Gayle Nicoll
Monday, January 13, 2020

There are plenty of blog posts stating portable electronic devices (PEDs) and industrial settings don’t mix, but most are about distracted working: PED use is unsafe because employees are distracted and unfocused and accidents can happen. That’s not this post. Instead, I want to talk about the legal and safety challenges that pose liabilities when PEDs are intentionally used as part of the work environment—especially within designated hazardous environments.

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.