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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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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
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
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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Woe Is WOTUS, Redux
June 30, 2020

Posted on June 30, 2020 by Seth Jaffe Sometimes, history repeats itself.  Sometimes, that is not a good thing. After the Obama WOTUS rule was promulgated in 2015, the challenges came fast...

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Surprise! New WOTUS Rule Leads to Conflicting Rulings
June 30, 2020

Posted on June 30, 2020 by Rick Glick It was clear to everyone, including this humble blogger, that EPA’s new rule defining Waters of the United States (WOTUS) would bring little clarity...

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Welcoming Our New Honorary Member: John Echohawk
June 29, 2020

Posted on June 29, 2020 by Andrea Field One of the perquisites of serving as President of the ACOEL is being able to select this year’s Honorary Fellow of the College. ...

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Texas’ Affirmative Defense SIP Provisions: National Policy or Regional Action
June 23, 2020

Posted on June 23, 2020 by Paul Seals Why is the legal challenge of EPA’s approval of the affirmative defense provisions in Texas’ state implementation plan (SIP) the subject of a...

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The American College of Environmental Lawyers Announces Newly-Elected Fellows for 2020
June 22, 2020

Posted on June 22, 2020 by Blogmaster The American College of Environmental Lawyers is proud to announce the election of twenty-seven new Fellows and one Honorary Fellow to membership in the...

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The Future Is As We Now See It – Environmental Development Resiliency and Disaster Planning
June 17, 2020

Posted on June 17, 2020 by Kevin Murray Successful real estate developers and development attorneys must effectively anticipate and manage risk. Management of visible and known risks seem simple; what separates...

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Return to Maui and Upstate Forever
June 16, 2020

Posted on June 16, 2020 by Patrick A. Parenteau Despite losing his bid to have the U.S. Supreme Court declare that wastewater  discharges through groundwater can never be subject to the...

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EPA Finalizes New Clean Water Acts Section 401 Certification Rules- Will States Bite Back?
June 10, 2020

Posted on June 10, 2020 by Rick Glick On June 1, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency released its new rules implementing section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Section 401 provides that...

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Remembering that BLM Stands for Black Lives Matter, Not That Government Agency
June 8, 2020

Posted on June 8, 2020 by Andrea Field Saying nothing about racial injustice should never have been an option.  And it is not an option now.  Saying I lack the right...


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...