Wednesday, August 31, 2005
The best science link I can suggest regarding climate change is RealClimate � Climate Science. It is not easy to read if you don't immerse yourself in climate science, but it provides a much better rounded view than the pronouncements of any one climate scientist. The discussion on storms can be found here. Climate change and storms
Science reported a study by Pezza and Simmonds that indicates the South Atlantic experienced its first hurricane in March 2004. The hurricane, which hit Brazil, was caused by unusual metereological conditions associated with large scale atmospheric circulation patterns. These patterns are being influenced by climate change so perhaps this hurricane is the first of many. Science review of study published in Geophys. Res. Lett.
Science published a study by Korner showing that growth in mature deciduous trees does not improve their ability to absorb CO2. So tree growth caused by elevated CO2 levels will not increase the ability of forests to serve as carbon sinks. Link: Carbon Flux and Growth in Mature Deciduous Forest Trees Exposed to Elevated CO2.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
The European satellite Envisat shows that the ozone hole over antarctica is currently 4 million square miles -- about the size of Europe. It still has 2 - 3 weeks of seasonal expansion. For a great graphic, see the Envisat photo. Link: BBC NEWS - Major ozone loss over Antarctic.
Monday, August 29, 2005
There's more than one way to skin the standing cat. The Northern District of Califonia refused to dismiss a NEPA suit against the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Export-Import Bank of the United States for funding fossil fuel power projects without analyzing global warming effects. Link: Planet Ark : Court Allows Suit Linking US Aid and Global Warming. See the decision at plaintiffs' site. FOE Decision
Some of you may have been amazed by the data reported by John McGinnis of Northwestern University about political preferences of law school faculty. See the NY Times report If the Law Is an Ass, the Law Professor Is a Donkey. Based on the NY Times coverage, 70-90% of us are flaming Democrats. That might typify environmental law faculty, but.... Consider Al Leiter's response. Another meaningless study
The battle between the Interior political management and career National Park Service officials is raging. See LA Times article. Controversy Over Plans for Changes in U.S. Parks.
A draft NPS management policy circulating within Interior radically affects NPS policies in favor of snowmobiles, cell towers, grazing, and other public uses. Links to draft NPS management policy
The NY Times editorial today discusses just a few policy adjustments. NY Times editorial My review of the draft NPS management policy indicates that it would:
- change the mission of National Parks from preservation to conservation,
- expand the purposes of the park
- stress public use of parks over protection of park resources,
- change the impairment standard to only prohibit "irreversibly" harm to the integrity of park resources,
- remove the policy that requires NPS to err on the side of resource protection when in cases of doubt as to resource impacts
- only require restoration of natural functions and process "whenever feasible, reasonable, and practicable" and inserts similar language throughout the policy
- preclude designation of parks as World Heritage sites or Biosphere Reserves if such a designation would impair public enjoyment of the park
- control park access to protect endangered species only as "a last resort"
- minimize the assertion of water rights for the park and allow long term leasing of water rights unless the leasing would impair park resources
- provide less stringent requirements to protect natural light, sound, and smells
- will no longer minimize the use of motorized equipment and modes of transportation to protect natural ambient sound conditions
- allow off road vehicle use on roads and other routes unless it is necessary for public safety or to prevent impairment
- more readily allow expansion of Park roads and non-NPS roads in parks
Retired career NPS personnel have produced a revealing and strongly analysis of the policy. NPS career employee analysis. Arnold and Porter has opined that it is illegal. A & P opinion. And Interior is backpedalling from the firestorm over the draft as quickly as possible.
Stay tuned -- now I wonder: do clearcuts "permanently and irreversibly" affect national park resources ????
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Adell Amos joins the U. of Oregon faculty and will serve as Director of the Environmental and Natural
Resources Law (ENR) Program. Adell is teaching water resources and wildlife law. Adell graduated from Oregon, clerked on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for Chief Judge Procter Hug, Jr, and practiced at Interior, representing USFWS and the National Park Service on water resource issues, including water rights litigation, and the full spectrum of state and federal environmental laws. (John Bonine announcement)
In the most recent ABA Water Resources Committee newsletter, Judith Royster of Tulsa contributed a nice analysis of the 9th Circuit's en banc decision in Skokomish Indian Tribe v. United States, 410 F.3d 506 (2005). The 9th Circuit eliminated the panel's discussion of reserved indian water rights, which had applied the primary/secondary use analysis of New Mexico in the federal reserved water rights context to indian reserved water rights and had indicated that fishing was not a primary purpose of the reservation. See Skokomish panel decision, 401 F.3d 979 (9th Cir. 2005). However, otherwise, the panel's decision remained intact. The panel's decision had been a loss for tribes on treaty, state law, and § 1983 claims against defendant municipalities and on Federal Power Act claims against the US. The tribe's damage claim based on its treaty rights was transferred to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims by the panel, which held that it did not arise under the Federal Tort Claims Act, but instead under the Tucker Act and the Indian Tucker Act. http://www.abanet.org/environ/committees/waterresources/newsletter/aug05/waterres0805.pdf
Monday, August 22, 2005
Donlan and colleagues advocate an alternative to pre-Columbian biodiversity as a goal --pleistocene biodiversity [roughly 13000 years ago]. Re-wilding North America. My first thought is that this is a plot to embarrass conservation biologists, but what do you think?
The NY Times reported on web trafficking of endangered species today. This strikes me as having the potential for excellent paper topics on the gaps in the law and ways to plug them.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Science reported on a peer reviewed study indicating the attempt to reinvigorate the inbred Florida Panther population by transplanting panthers from Texas succeeded. The study is somewhat controversial because it relies on data that has been reported by other scientists, but not published. Link: WILDLIFE BIOLOGY: 'Genetic Rescue' Helps Panthers but Puts Researchers on the Spot -- Stokstad 309 (5738): 1162 -- Science.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
John Bonine of Oregon -- who always has great questions -- offered a list of biggest ideas in Environmental Law over the summer on ENVLAWPROFESSORS and solicited additions. So far, here's the first draft of our collective wisdom:
- attorneys fees - (environmental plaintiff friendly rules)
- biodiversity preservation
- citizen suits
- cost/benefit analysis
- cost/benefit balancing as pollution standard setting approach (as well as health/environmental quality and technology based models)
- ecologically sustainable development
- economic incentives approaches
- ecosystem services
- ecosystem management (indicator species or other)
- environmental impact assessment
- free market environmentalism (not the same as 4 or 6)
- information strategies (e.g. TRI)
- injunctions - relaxed standard
- polluter pays principle
- precautionary principle
- preservation of wild and lonely places
- public participation/citizen democracy
- public trust doctrine
- risk assessment (similar to 4, but different)
- standing - relaxed standard for judicial review of administrative action
- strict or absolute liability
- technology forcing approaches to regulation
Feel free to add others!
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Just when economists had us convinced....
Excerpted Abstract: Rewards or punishments (whether material or image-related) create doubt about the true motive for which good deeds are performed and this "overjustification effect" can induce a partial or even net crowding out of prosocial behavior by extrinsic incentives. In some settings, disclosing one’s generosity may backfire. Finally, we analyze the choice by public and private sponsors of incentive levels, their degree of confidentiality and the publicity given to agents’ behavior. Sponsor competition is shown to potentially reduce social welfare.
On Monday, August 15, a judge sanctioned lawyers who filed a RICO suit against a community activist and three Forest Service employees opposing a luxury condominium project. The lawyers were fined $267,000 for filing the frivilous SLAPP suit on behalf of the developer.Link: Los Angeles Times: Law Firm Sanctioned for Forest Service Suit.
GAO has issued a report faulting EPA, among other things, for failing to require businesses to provide financial assurances that they are able to clean up environmental contamination caused by their use of hazardous substances. GAO claims that EPA had a duty to issue financial assurance regulations under CERCLA § 108(b).
GAO Report Highlights
Full GAO Report
Monday, August 15, 2005
Animal feeding operations have argued that the Clean Air Act did not apply, that there are no sound methodologies for measuring their emissions, and that there are no cost effective technologies for reducing emission. However, over 2000 dairy, feedlot, and similar livestock operations have now signed EPAs air quality compliance agreement for animal feeding operations. The operations pay a relatively small penalty and emission monitoring study fee while making their operations available for monitoring so that standardized emissions monitoring methodologies can be developed and agreeing to install LAER/BACT if they are major sources. Link: Animal Feeding Operations Air Quality Compliance Agreement .
Link: SSRN Top Downloads.
1 249 hits Chevron Step Zero
Cass R. Sunstein, U. Chicago
2 53 hits Sustainable Development and
Private Global Governance
Douglas A. Kysar, Cornell
3 50 hits The Scope of Regulatory Bargaining
Jim Rossi, Florida State
4 47 hits The Accidental Environmentalist: Judge Posner on Catastrophic Thinking
Lisa Heinzerling, Georgetown
5 45 hits Political Institutions, Judicial Review, and Private Property: A Comparative Institutional Analysis
Daniel H. Cole, Indiana
6 40 hits Governance of International Institutions: A Review of the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation's Citizen Submissions
David L. Markell, Florida State
7 36 hits Operational versus Rhetorical Sustainability: Conflicting Goals, Values and Functions
David Barnhizer, Cleveland-Marshall
8 35 hits Mustering the Missing Voices: A Collaborative Model for Fostering Equality, Community Involvement and Adaptive Planning in Land Use Decisions II Alejandro E. Camacho, Notre Dame
9 33 hits Mustering the Missing Voices I
Alejandro E. Camacho, Notre Dame
10 25 hits Lucas's Unlikely Legacy: The Rise of Background Principles As Categorical Takings Defenses
Michael C. Blumm, Lucus Ritchie, Lewis and Clark
Saturday, August 13, 2005
***Stern, A Three Layer Atmosphere Ocean Model of Global Climate Change
Using sophisticated multicointegration econometric modelling, Stern suggests that climate changes from anthropogenic forces occur slowly but continue warming over a long time. For example, the level of warming from anthropogenic forces to date is 3.25K, only 1/2 of which will occur in the first 100 years.
***Amundsen, Baldursson, Mortensen, Price Volatility and Banking in Green Certificate Markets
Banking of green certificates for renewable power improves the market by reducing average price, decreasing market volatility, and creating speculation that smoothes the market. Banking of Green Certificates
For a full list with abstracts, see New Economics Papers: nepenv_20050725_13_papers
For a full list with abstracts, Download nepenv_20050725_13_papers.html