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

Jan 27 2012

Twitter Link Round-Up: Seaweed Could be the Next Alternative Fuel and Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline

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: Seaweed Could be the Next Alternative Fuel and Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline

Jan 13 2012

Twitter Link Round-Up: EPA Publishes Database of GHG Emittors and Frackers Look to New York

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: EPA Publishes Database of GHG Emittors and Frackers Look to New York

Apr 04 2011

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: 9th Circuit Sends California’s AB 32 Back to Reconsider Alternatives

Published by under Climate Change

Mount Whitney, in California, is the highest point in the contiguous US, via wikimedia

The 9th Circuit recently issued its final ruling that a key part of California’s landmark climate change bill, AB 32, had not properly considered all alternatives and must be reevaluated.  The part in question is the “scoping plan” that the Air Resources Board was required to develop under the bill as a way to achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020. The plan was challenged by several environmental justice advocacy groups because it relied heavily on a cap-and-trade system to achieve the required results, a method the groups say would harm poverty stricken areas by allowing pollution sources to buy their way out of reducing emissions.  The organizations argue that air pollution disproportionately affects low-income areas and may get worse if polluters could buy their way to compliance.  The 9th Circuit decided that the Air Resources Board had not properly analyze all potential alternatives to the cap-and-trade program and therefore violated the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act.  The scoping plan has been sent back to the agency to be reconsidered, delaying implementation of AB 32.  This decision comes less than a year after Proposition 23, which would have suspended AB 32 until unemployment had dropped below 5.5%, was defeated by California voters. Continue Reading »

Comments Off on One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: 9th Circuit Sends California’s AB 32 Back to Reconsider Alternatives

Mar 23 2011

World Water Day 2011

Published by under Water/Maritime

Water droplet rebounding, via wikimedia

March 22 was World Water Day and in honor of that event, below are some great stories about the importance of water all over the world and some tips on how to conserve it in your everyday life.   The Nature Conservancy also has 30 days worth of water conservation tips on their site. A sample of the tips are here:

Enjoy a vegetarian meal.  The water footprint of beef is 1500 gallons
– Cut your shower time by 5 minutes and save 20 gallons of water per shower.
– Carry a reusable bottle.  It takes 1.5 gallons to make the average plastic bottle
-Use a dishwasher.  An efficient dishwasher can save 16 gallons versus hand washing

Read on beyond the jump for more water-related news from this week. Continue Reading »

Comments Off on World Water Day 2011

Jan 28 2011

Twitter Link Round-Up: Wild Lands, Invasive Rats, and EPA’s Veto Power

Published by under News

Photo by Kelci Block

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

– NYT: @nytimesscience Proposed bill in the House would limit EPA’s veto power and restore the Spruce No. 1’s permit http://nyti.ms/hNNunA

– SA: @sciam A new study shows how climate change could destabilize already weak nations http://bit.ly/eW2Itn

– NYT: @nytimesgreen The Supreme Court declines to intervene in a case of federal vs. state water rights http://nyti.ms/f95cBN

– NYT: @nytimesgreen Henry Waxman (D-CA) is pressing for investigation on who is funding climate skeptic http://bit.ly/gTxNd7 Continue Reading »

Comments Off on Twitter Link Round-Up: Wild Lands, Invasive Rats, and EPA’s Veto Power

Next »