Archive for the 'News' Category

Nov 23 2012

News This Week: Climate Change Threatens Thanksgiving and the World Bank Warns that 4 Degrees of Warming would be Catastrophic

Published by under News

Photo by Kelci Block

A carbon tax has long been bandied about as perhaps the best and least controversial (though still incredibly controversial) option for reducing emissions that contribute to climate change. However, a carbon tax is trickier to implement effectively than most believe. [Grist]

Climate change may ruin your Thanksgiving along with everything else. For example, drought in the Midwest may make wheat too scarce to feed the quarter of a billion turkeys we eat every year.  [Mother Jones] [Grist]

Two international treaties regarding sharing multi-national rivers could become reality in the coming months. Such treaties are important to prevent upstream countries from building dams and performing other actions that harm their downstream neighbors. [Yale 360]

The World Bank has published its first major statement on climate change since the leadership changed in July. It emphasized the scientific underpinnings supporting climate change and refuted the idea that action on climate change is antithetical to economic development. It’s conclusion: four degrees of warming must be avoided to prevent immense suffering. [Scientific American] [Think Progress] [Scientific American (2)]

Comments Off on News This Week: Climate Change Threatens Thanksgiving and the World Bank Warns that 4 Degrees of Warming would be Catastrophic

Nov 16 2012

News This Week: Preventing Flooding in Sandy’s Aftermath and BP Reaches a Settlement

Published by under News

Photo by Kelci Block

EDITOR’S NOTE: Normally, this post would be served by posting a digest from the Twitter feed at @WMELSBlog. However, presumably due to the API changes Twitter made, the add-on that creates that digest is not working. So, keep an eye on the twitter feed for all the stories we’re posting and in the meantime, I’ll be making these shorter collections of big news stories from the week.

—————————-

BP, the oil company responsible for the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf, will plead guilty to the 14 criminal charges leveled against it  and pay over $4 billion in penalties. This settlement does not cover any federal civil charges that may be pending, including those for damage to natural resources. It also does not include fines under the Clean Water Act, which could amount to over $21 billion. [New York Times]

It goes almost without saying that sound levees are important, especially during hurricanes. Surprisingly, however, in New Jersey there is no state agency in charge of overseeing the levees and the levees would have to get to an incredible state of disrepair before the federal government would step in to fix them. [NPR]

New York City is considering building a movable steel barrier to keep future flooding, like what happened during Hurricane Sandy, out of low-lying areas. The project could cost up to $29 billion dollars including having to shore up the areas around the barrier. [New York Times]

Evidence suggests that the world needs to reduce its carbon emissions more and faster to avoid the catastrophic warming of the globe. One estimate found that even if we doubled the current rate of reduction, we will experience a 6 degree warming before the end of the century. [Scientific American]

In other NYC flooding news, the Gowanus Canal flooding has caused concerns about health and safety problems in the neighborhood. Gowanus Canal is one of the most contaminated bodies of water in the country and a Superfund site. [New York Times] Continue Reading »

Comments Off on News This Week: Preventing Flooding in Sandy’s Aftermath and BP Reaches a Settlement

Nov 08 2012

The Environment on the Ballot: 2012 Edition

Published by under News

Voting Sign in California, via wikimedia

Though the major news networks focused mostly on the presidential and congressional elections, the voters also decided on some environmental measures, especially in the states and localities. Below is a collection of the biggest results.

Virginia Passes Eminent Domain Limitations: Virginia voters passed by a large margin a constitutional amendment that will prevent private property from being taken by the government for the benefit of private parties. The amendment also contains language that expands the definition of “just compensation” to include lost profits and loss of access, which could increase the cost of even public projects requiring the use of eminent domain. For poorer localities, expanding public transportation routes or other infrastructure improvements could be financially out of reach. [Washington Post]

Fracking Ban Invites Lawsuits: The City of Longmont, Colorado passed Ballot Question 300, which effectively banned all hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as fracking) within the city limits. Opponents of the measure warned that lawsuits from oil companies and landowners would be forthcoming. The state is currently in a lawsuit with Longmont over an earlier ordinance the city passed forbidding drilling in residential areas. The state claims that the ordinance is preempted by state law. The linked article also has an interesting statistic: 90% of all oil and gas wells in the country are fracked. [Denver Business Journal]

North Dakota Passes “Right to Farm” Amendment: Measure 3 amended the ND Constitution to forbid passage of any law that would restrict farmers and ranchers from using “agricultural technology, modern livestock production and ranching practices.” The amendment was primarily designed to prevent changes to factory farming practices such as battery cages, but opponents worry that it could allow farmers to avoid pollution regulations. [InForum] [BNA (W&M Access Needed)]

GMO Labeling Law Fails in California, but Clean Energy Fund Passes: A hotly contested effort to require labeling on all raw and processed foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMO) failed by a few percentage points. However, California passed another measure that would close a tax loophole for multi-state businesses and use the revenue to fund clean energy projects. [CNN] [Christian Science Monitor]

Michigan Rejects Increase in Alternative Energy Goals: Voters on Tuesday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment in Michigan that would have set a goal that the state get 25% of its energy from alternative sources by 2025. The current goal is to have 15% by 2015. State Treasurer Andy Opponents to the measure argued that it would raise electricity costs for consumers and spent $23 million to get their message out.[Michigan Live] [BusinessWeek]

Obama Reelection Allows EPA to Advance Environmental Regs: Among the various environmental regulations that are currently underway and will likely proceed under an Obama second term are: cooling water intake rules, new Clean Water Act guidance on intermittent streams and isolated wetlands, regulations on hydraulic fracturing practices, stormwater regulations from power plants and construction sites, stricter regulation of antimicrobial pesticides, greenhouse gas rules under the Clean Air Act, and new regulations of perchlorate in drinking water. EPA is also discussing expanding the list of industries required to report to the Toxic Release Inventory and Congress is working on a bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). [BNA (W&M Access Needed)] [BNA (W&M Access Needed)]

 

Comments Off on The Environment on the Ballot: 2012 Edition

Oct 12 2012

Twitter Link Round-Up: Environmental Issues in SCOTUS and Indonesian Palm Oil Increasing CO2 Emissions

Published by under News

Photo by Kelci Block

Afraid you missed something interesting in the world of environmental law?  Read on for a (non-comprehensive) list of articles posted on our Twitter feed @WMELSBlog.

Comments Off on Twitter Link Round-Up: Environmental Issues in SCOTUS and Indonesian Palm Oil Increasing CO2 Emissions

Sep 28 2012

Twitter Link Round-Up: Decision in Kivalina v. Exxon and House Passes “Stop the War on Coal Act”

Published by under News

Photo by Kelci Block

Afraid you missed something interesting in the world of environmental law?  Read on for a (non-comprehensive) list of articles posted on our Twitter feed @WMELSBlog.

Comments Off on Twitter Link Round-Up: Decision in Kivalina v. Exxon and House Passes “Stop the War on Coal Act”

Sep 21 2012

Twitter Link Round-Up: Makers of Pink Slime Sue and Elephant Slaughter on the Rise

Published by under News

Photo by Kelci Block

Afraid you missed something interesting in the world of environmental law?  Read on for a (non-comprehensive) list of articles posted on our Twitter feed @WMELSBlog.

Comments Off on Twitter Link Round-Up: Makers of Pink Slime Sue and Elephant Slaughter on the Rise

Next »