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Vibrant Environment

Tying the West’s Energy Knot: Challenges and Recommendations in Interstate Transmission Siting (Part 3)

Solar voltaic system
Nareg Kuyumjian
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Parts One and Two of this blog series covered the debate and regulatory framework regarding interstate electricity transmission. Part Three will conclude the series by identifying key challenges energy policymakers should expect to face regarding interstate transmission siting, and policy recommendations on how to mitigate them.

Visionaries: Working Together to Restore Wetlands in Rhode Island

Point Judith Light at Narragansett Bay
Wenley Ferguson
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Paul McElroy saw potential for restoration in areas often overlooked and considered blighted by most. From the banks of the Woonasquatucket River to an abandoned landfill in Narragansett Bay, he saw what could be.

Wetlands Warrior Lauren Driscoll Recognized for National Wetlands Leadership

Lauren Driscoll
Marcus Humberg
Monday, May 24, 2021

As we celebrate National Wetlands Month in May, one of the Washington State Department of Ecology’s best and brightest—and a longtime “hero” of Washington State’s wetlands—Lauren Driscoll has been recognized for her lifetime of wetlands program development work by ELI.

The Reclamation Project: Engaging Community for 15 Years Through Participatory Eco-Art

Reclamation Project installation of mangrove propagules
Xavier Cortada
Thursday, May 20, 2021

I was introduced to mangroves early in my childhood during family trips to Bear Cut in Key Biscayne, Florida—the same plants that grew in my family’s hometown on the northern coast of Cuba. In 2003, I first used mangrove imagery in my artwork as a metaphor for the immigrant. I imagined the mangrove propagules floating along the water and setting root on a sandbar. Little by little they would grow alongside each other, capture sediment, create land, and build new habitats. Like immigrants in a community who come together to support one another, the roots of each mangrove tree come together to create a formidable structure that protects against the dangers of storm surge.

Seven Areas for Taking Action to Reduce Food Waste

Apples in harvest
Dana Gunders
Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Food waste is a systemwide problem, affecting all stages of the supply chain. Therefore, solving it will take a systemwide approach. A new report by ReFED, Roadmap to 2030: Reducing U.S. Food Waste by 50%, was designed to provide food businesses, governments, funders, and more with a framework to align their food waste reduction efforts.

Navigating the Public Comment Process for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Project

Bridge over Mississippi River
Dominic Scicchitano
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, is seeking comment on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion (MBSD) restoration project. If approved, the MBSD would reconnect the Mississippi River to Louisiana’s Barataria Basin and, through the controlled release of sediment-laden freshwater from the river, allow sediment and nutrients to flow into the basin with the goal of restoring wetlands and slowing the rate of coastal land loss. (Read more about sediment diversions in our earlier blog post.)

The Future of Food: How Drones Seek to Revolutionize Agriculture

Drone flying over crop
Zack Schiffer
Friday, March 19, 2021

The agricultural industry is developing fast. With new and emerging technologies on the rise, industrial agriculture continually strives to incorporate sustainability and efficiency into its operations. Although the industry produces significant pollutants, including animal waste, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and other agricultural inputs and byproducts, incorporating new technologies, such as drones, helps to mitigate the hazardous pollutants associated with industrial agriculture. In addition to mitigating environmental harm, incorporating sustainable technology into agricultural practices can improve water conservation and bolster efficiency.

Assessing the Arctic: Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Bears in Alaska
Caitlin F. McCarthy
Friday, March 5, 2021

High reward or high risk—that’s the potential billion-barrel question. Often referred to as America’s last great wilderness, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) consists of 19.64 million acres in the Alaska North Slope region and is the largest National Wildlife Refuge, supporting an enormous variety of biodiversity and robust Indigenous communities. In 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower declared the refuge a federally protected area, and oil and gas drilling was banned in 1980. In the decades following, numerous presidents and Congresses have resisted efforts to authorize extraction exploration in the area.

Reaching Out With a Digital Helping "Handprint" to Decarbonize Every Sector

Earth surrounded by digital numbers
David Paul Clarke
Thursday, February 4, 2021

“The future has arrived—it’s just not evenly distributed yet,” observed writer William Gibson, whose observation was cited during the Environmental Law Institute’s November 17 webinar, “Digital Solutions to Climate and Water Challenges,” the first in a series that will serve to continue exploring the dynamic intersection of policy and cutting-edge technologies begun in 2019 with ELI’s inaugural GreenTech conference in Seattle.

Abandoned Mine Lands: Deciding the Future of Toxic Contamination

Mining Excavator
Zack Schiffer
Thursday, January 28, 2021

On August 5, 2015, EPA personnel assigned to mitigate pollutants from the foreclosed Gold King Mine in Colorado caused the discharge of toxic wastewater into the Animas River watershed, releasing lead, arsenic, and other metals and toxic elements. Even though Colorado Governor Hickenlooper eventually declared the area a disaster zone, the delayed response and devastating environmental impacts from the Gold King Mine wastewater spill revealed an urgent need to address the nearly 500,000 Abandoned Mine Lands throughout the United States.  According to the EPA, the total cost to clean up AMLs ranges from $50-70 billion. Although the burden of mitigating toxic pollutants from AMLs may appear to rest solely upon the federal government, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) mandates that the party responsible for AML hazardous contamination must assume financial responsibility.

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