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Vibrant Environment

Show Me! Laying the Foundation for the Next Generation of Environmental Peacebuilding

Carl Bruch
Wednesday, May 6, 2020

As documented by the New Security Beat, environmental peacebuilding has grown dramatically as a field in recent years. Across the security, development, and diplomatic communities, there is increased recognition that disputes related to natural resources and the environment can escalate to violence, fund armed conflict, and provide an incentive for peace spoilers.

What Judges Are Saying About Climate Science

U.S. Supreme Court Building
Scott Fulton
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

It’s amazing how quickly humanity’s concern can shift when circumstanc­es demand it, and the coronavirus pandemic has riveted our attention. Even today, Earth Day, talking about anything else risks seeming detached or indifferent to the enormous suffering, disruption, and dislocation that the COVID-19 vi­rus has unleashed on the world. But I need to alert you to a new ELI report analyzing the other major challenge that will be waiting for us on the other side of our current crisis, one that, like the pandemic, is deeply informed by science.

Turning A Blind Eye to Drinking Water Risks

bathroom sink dispensing brown colored water
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?

Chinese countryside
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

wetland habitat
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: