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Blogs & Resources

ACOEL members contribute regularly to the ACOEL Blog, writing on topics of current interest in their respective fields. Recently-published blogs are featured below, or you can search the ACOEL blog archive using the search feature.

 

Current Blogs

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Reflections from My Octopus Teacher
April 08, 2021

Since the pandemic started, like many people, I have watched way more TV than I had previously watched. Recently, my daughter suggested we watch a film entitled My Octopus Teacher on Netflix. (I will be honest, the title did not generate great enthusiasm in me, but I reluctantly agreed...

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Houston Highway Tests Biden’s Promise of Equitable Infrastructure
April 07, 2021

The Biden Administration has acknowledged the racist history of the U.S. interstate highway system and its ongoing negative impacts on many Black neighborhoods. Presidential Memorandum on Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies (Jan. 26, 2001). Last week, the Administration announced its...

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Interior Secretary Debra Halland: Restorer of Balance?
April 05, 2021

Debra Halland made history when the Senate voted 51-40 on March 15, 2021 to confirm her to be Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI). She is the first Native American ever to serve in a cabinet position. DOI has a budget of more than $12 billion and...

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Canada Given Green Light to Carbon Pricing: Why the Supreme Court of Canada’s Decision Should Matter to Those South of Our Northern Border
April 01, 2021

On March 25, 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (“GGPPA”), which establishes a national pricing benchmark for greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. Reference re Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, case numbers 38663, 38781, and 39116. Several provinces challenged the law, arguing that it...

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A Property Right To Exclude Others: Cedar Point Nursery’s Implications For Regulatory Enforcement
March 30, 2021

The Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid (No. 20-107), a case that has generated considerable amicus participation and press coverage. In that case, union organizers, relying on a California law, entered the property of a fruit nursery with bullhorns in hand in...

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The Massachusetts Climate Bill is Very Much “Not Dead”
March 23, 2021

In January, when Governor Baker vetoed the Legislature’s effort to go big on climate, my colleague Zach Gerson made clear that the bill was not even “mostly dead.” I am pleased to say that Zach’s diagnosis was correct. The climate bill is very much alive.

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A pencil and calculator on top of a printout of graphs, charts, and figures.
Thirteen Years Later, D.C. Circuit Says “Reasonable Possibility” Provision of NSR Rule Is Good Enough
March 17, 2021

On March 5, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied a challenge to a more than decade-old EPA rule related to the records that source owners must keep in order to support claims that certain of their activities are not subject to EPA’s New Source Review...

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STEPHEN E. HERRMANN ENVIRONMENTAL WRITING AWARD
March 16, 2021

The American College of Environmental Lawyers (“ACOEL”) announces its annual Stephen E. Herrmann Environmental Writing Award (“Herrmann Award”) for the 2020-21 academic year. Stephen E. Herrmann is a distinguished, nationally recognized environmental lawyer. For some forty years, Mr. Herrmann has been a leader in the area of environmental...

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Loving—and Living with—the Neutrality of Administrative Law
March 15, 2021

One salutary feature of administrative law—the core practice of many environmental litigators—is its predominant neutrality. There is nothing partisan about the principles that an agency must draw a “rational connection between the facts found and the choice made” when issuing regulations; must base important decisions on “genuine” not “contrived”...

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Photo of a factory with active smoke stacks
THE CLEAN POWER PLAN IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE CLEAN POWER PLAN!
March 04, 2021

The Obama administration adopted the Clean Power Plan to reduce power sector greenhouse gas emissions in line with its commitments under the Paris Agreement climate accord. The Clean Power Plan invoked Clean Air Act § 111(d)’s “Best System of Emissions Reductions” to require states to implement low-carbon electricity dispatch...

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Lower Granite Dam, Snake River, Washington (earthen berm portion at left) Photo: US Army Corps of Engineers
FIGMENTS OF THE IMAGINATION
March 02, 2021

I first saw Grand Coulee Dam as a 10-year old. My family and I were on our way to Spokane, Washington to attend Expo ’74, officially titled the “International Exposition on the Environment.” Expo ’74 was notable for being the first environmentally themed World’s Fair. It...

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Cost-Benefit Analysis Is Very Complicated — And Very Important
March 01, 2021

It’s only a slight rhetorical exaggeration to say that the limited bandwidth left to environmental issues other than climate change in recent years has been largely occupied by concerns about PFAS – Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as “Forever chemicals.” A fascinating story in Bloomberg Environment & Energy...

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“Go back to where you came from” – a personal journey
August 07, 2019

Posted on August 7, 2019 by Brenda Mallory The first time that I remember being told “go back to where you came from,” I was 18. Although not the first time I was targeted because of my race, it was the first time I remember those words. I had...

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“DISCARDED” or “NOT DISCARDED”: That Is the Question (or “Asked and (finally) Answered!”)
July 31, 2019

Posted on July 31, 2019 by Karen Crawford On July 2, 2019, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petition brought by an environmental group for review of EPA’s Transfer-Based Exclusion for secondary hazardous materials in California Communities Against Toxics v. EPA (D.C. Cir. July 2, 2019) (No. 18-1163). ...

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Implementing the CLCPA: New York is Amping up the Electrification of its Transportation Sector
August 26, 2020

Posted on August 26, 2020 by Gail Port In September 2019, I wrote about the banner year it had been for the environment and environmental legislation in New York, particularly with the...

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BLM Rescission of the Methane Waste Prevention Rule Has Been Vacated; Two Thoughts About the Implications
August 12, 2020

Posted on August 12, 2020 by Seth Jaffe Last month, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers vacated BLM’s rescission of the 2016 methane “Waste Prevention Rule.”  Although Judge Rogers found many flaws in the rescission...

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Hats Off to the Green New Dealers
August 10, 2020

Posted on August 10, 2020 by Leslie Carothers Watching the U.S. government botch the response to the pandemic may deepen pessimism about our prospects for meaningful action to prevent catastrophic climate...

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Assistant Attorney General Clark’s Clean Water Act Edict: A Solution to a Non-Existent Problem?
July 30, 2020

Posted on July 30, 2020 by Jeffrey Porter During the dog days of summer in a general election year, Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark, the nation’s top environmental lawyer, has...

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Trump Upends NEPA Rules in the Name of Speed
July 28, 2020

Posted on July 28, 2020 by Rick Glick On July 15, 2020 President Trump announced a “top to bottom overhaul” of the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) regulations, complaining about the...

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Full Funding Finally
July 23, 2020

Posted on July 23, 2020 by Philip Tabas The US’s most important conservation program is about to get the assured funding that its creators envisioned 55 years ago. The US House...

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The “Next” Pandemic : How States Can Avert It.
July 10, 2020

Posted on July 10, 2020 by Nicholas Robinson The “next” pandemic in the USA is not a question of “if” but of “when.” Just as States scramble to win or shore up their victories against ...

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JUST PLAIN NUTS REDUX
July 2, 2020

Posted on July 2, 2020 by Dick Stoll In my ACOEL post of June 10, 2019, I led with this: “Seth Jaffe’s recent ACOEL post correctly laments that the current judicial review regime...

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A New Map of Climate Resilient Landscapes
July 1, 2020

Posted on July 1, 2020 by Philip Tabas After 12 years of work by more than 150 Nature Conservancy scientists we now have an interactive map of resilient lands that can withstand...


ACOEL PRESS RELEASES

ACOEL Announces New Website
March 2, 2021

The American College of Environmental Lawyers is pleased to announce the availability of its new website to ACOEL members...

ACOEL announces the admission of 27 new active Fellows for 2020
October 1, 2020

ACOEL is pleased to announce the admission of 27 new active Fellows for 2020. The names of our new...