Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Today I got a walk through of the U of Idaho College of Law's new building here in Boise, which renovates the historic WPA-era Ada County Courthouse. It's a great piece of historic preservation and will place the law school's Boise campus between the State Capitol, the State Supreme Court, and the Idaho State Bar building. It will truly be a great new home for the College's Boise campus. We move into the new building this summer.
Incidentally, the building will also be a model of sustainability as it is tied to the city's downtown geothermal heating district, which is the largest in the country.
Below are several pictures of the work-in-progress.
EPA has just released a new environmental justice mapping tool. I gave it a test drive and found it to be easy to use and potentially quite useful. Here is a screenshot from the program of the PM2.5 exposure near my old residence in San Francisco:
More from the EPA press release:
EPA Releases EJSCREEN, An Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool
Washington — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released EJSCREEN, an environmental justice screening and mapping tool that uses high resolution maps combined with demographic and environmental data to identify places with potentially elevated environmental burdens and vulnerable populations. EJSCREEN’s simple to understand color-coded maps, bar charts, and reports enable users to better understand areas in need of increased environmental protection, health care access, housing, infrastructure improvement, community revitalization, and climate resilience.
“EJSCREEN provides essential information to anyone seeking greater visibility and awareness about the impacts of pollution in American communities,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “EJSCREEN has been a valuable resource for EPA to advance our commitment to protect Americans most vulnerable to pollution. I’m excited to share this tool with the public to broaden its impact, build transparency, and foster collaboration with partners working to achieve environmental justice.
“State environmental agencies appreciate EPA’s collaborative work on the use and release of this important tool,” said Dick Pedersen, Director of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality and past President of the Environmental Council of States. “Citizens having access to environmental and demographic data is extremely important in helping states implement environmental programs and ensure public health and environmental protection for all. To that end, EJSCREEN facilitates vital citizen engagement.”
EJSCREEN can help governments, academic institutions, local communities, and other stakeholders to highlight communities with greater risk of exposure to pollution based on 8 pollution and environmental indicators, including traffic proximity, particulate matter, and proximity to superfund sites. These indicators are combined with demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community 5-year Summary Survey enabling users to identify areas with minority or low-income populations who also face potential pollution issues.
EJSCREEN’s capabilities could provide support for educational programs, grant writing, and community awareness efforts so that users can participate meaningfully in decision-making processes that impact their health and environment. While EJSCREEN is being shared publicly to improve work on environmental justice, EPA is not mandating state governments or other entities use the tool or its underlying data.
EJSCREEN does not direct EPA decisions; it does not provide a basis for identifying areas as EJ communities, and it is not an appropriate standalone tool for making a risk assessment. As a screening tool, its data may have levels of uncertainty, and is therefore incomplete in capturing the total number of pollution problems people face.
Today’s release of EJSCREEN initiates a stakeholder engagement period over the next six months. EPA will collect feedback on the datasets and design of the tool – as well as how it could be further enhanced – and will release a revised version in 2016.
Environmental justice is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA’s goal is to provide all people with equal access to the environmental decision-making process to maintain a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
To access the tool, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/ejscreen.
Sunday, June 7, 2015
McKinsey, the business consulting firm, is taking on urbanism. From the new report's website:
The result is How to make a city great (PDF–2.1MB), a new report arguing that leaders who make important strides in improving their cities do three things really well:
- They achieve smart growth. Smart growth identifies and nurtures the very best opportunities for growth, plans ways to cope with its demands, integrates environmental thinking, and ensures that all citizens enjoy a city’s prosperity. Good city leaders also think about regional growth because as a metropolis expands, they will need the cooperation of surrounding municipalities and regional service providers. Integrating the environment into economic decision making is vital to smart growth: cities must invest in infrastructure that reduces emissions, waste production, and water use, as well as in building high-density communities.
- They do more with less. Great cities secure all revenues due, explore investment partnerships, embrace technology, make organizational changes that eliminate overlapping roles, and manage expenses. Successful city leaders have also learned that, if designed and executed well, private–public partnerships can be an essential element of smart growth, delivering lower-cost, higher-quality infrastructure and services.
- They win support for change. Change is not easy, and its momentum can even attract opposition. Successful city leaders build a high-performing team of civil servants, create a working environment where all employees are accountable for their actions, and take every opportunity to forge a stakeholder consensus with the local population and business community. They take steps to recruit and retain top talent, emphasize collaboration, and train civil servants in the use of technology.
Mayors are only too aware that their tenure will be limited. But if longer-term plans are articulated—and gain popular support because of short-term successes—leaders can start a virtuous cycle that sustains and encourages a great urban environment.
Download the full report, How to make a city great (PDF–2.1MB).
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Friday, June 5, 2015
National League of Cities releases major survey on short-term rental and ridesharing sectors of sharing economy
The National League of Cities just released a major survey of cities across the country detailing their approaches to short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, and ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft. The report also looks at statewide actions on these fronts as well.
This is the most comprehensive data yet on state and local governments' response to the sharing economy. I highly recommend the report, which is available here. Of particular use is the appendix, which provides the status of short-term rental and ride-sharing regulation in thirty major American cities.
My biggest take-away from the report is that states and cities are really "all over the map" in terms of their regulatory approaches. No one approach seems to have emerged as a dominant trend and, interestingly, there does not seem to be any particular political bent to those favoring--or disfavoring--the sharing economy. Perhaps this will change with time.
I would try to summarize the findings, but they are relatively complex; a few minutes with the report will be well worth your time.
Ilya Somin (George Mason) has just published The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain. Here is the book description:
In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that the city of New London, Connecticut, could condemn fifteen residential properties in order to transfer them to a new private owner. Although the Fifth Amendment only permits the taking of private property for "public use," the Court ruled that the transfer of condemned land to private parties for "economic development" is permitted by the Constitution - even if the government cannot prove that the expected development will ever actually happen. The Court's decision in Kelo v. City of New London empowered the grasping hand of the state at the expense of the invisible hand of the market.
In this detailed study of one of the most controversial Supreme Court cases in modern times, Ilya Somin argues that Kelo was a grave error. Economic development and "blight" condemnations are unconstitutional under both originalist and most "living constitution" theories of legal interpretation. They also victimize the poor and the politically weak for the benefit of powerful interest groups, and often destroy more economic value than they create. Kelo itself exemplifies these patterns. The residents targeted for condemnation lacked the influence needed to combat the formidable government and corporate interests arrayed against them. Moreover, the city's poorly conceived development plan ultimately failed: the condemned land lies empty to this day, occupied only by feral cats.
The Supreme Court's unpopular ruling triggered an unprecedented political reaction, with forty-five states passing new laws intended to limit the use of eminent domain. But many of the new laws impose few or no genuine constraints on takings. The Kelo backlash led to significant progress, but not nearly as much as it may have seemed.
Despite its outcome, the closely divided 5-4 ruling shattered what many believed to be a consensus that virtually any condemnation qualifies as a public use under the Fifth Amendment. It also showed that there is widespread public opposition to eminent domain abuse. With controversy over takings sure to continue, The Grasping Hand offers the first book-length analysis of Kelo by a legal scholar, alongside a broader history of the dispute over public use and eminent domain, and an evaluation of options for reform.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School invites applications from legal scholars, practitioners and government officials in environmental, energy and natural resources law to join us as a Visiting Scholar for a sabbatical semester, summer or other short-term visit. Visiting Scholars sponsored by the Sabin Center will conduct scholarly and applied research and write papers and blog posts in collaboration with the Center’s faculty and staff, and will otherwise participate in our events and activities. The Visiting Scholar will be given a desk, phone and desktop computer with internet access, along with a modest travel stipend. Further details are available here.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis – please send your cv and a one-page proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This program is generously supported by the David Sive Memorial Fund.
EPA draft assessment of effects of fracking on drinking water finds no "widespread, systemic impacts" but some "vulnerabilities"
From the EPA press release:
EPA Releases Draft Assessment on the Potential Impacts to Drinking Water Resources from Hydraulic Fracturing Activities
Assessment shows hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources and identifies important vulnerabilities to drinking water resources.
WASHINGTON—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing a draft assessment today on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing activities on drinking water resources in the United States. The assessment, done at the request of Congress, shows that while hydraulic fracturing activities in the U.S. are carried out in a way that have not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources, there are potential vulnerabilities in the water lifecycle that could impact drinking water. The assessment follows the water used for hydraulic fracturing from water acquisition, chemical mixing at the well pad site, well injection of fracking fluids, the collection of hydraulic fracturing wastewater (including flowback and produced water), and wastewater treatment and disposal [http://www2.epa.gov/hfstudy/hydraulic-fracturing-water-cycle].
“EPA’s draft assessment will give state regulators, tribes and local communities and industry around the country a critical resource to identify how best to protect public health and their drinking water resources,” said Dr. Thomas A. Burke, EPA’s Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “It is the most complete compilation of scientific data to date, including over 950 sources of information, published papers, numerous technical reports, information from stakeholders and peer-reviewed EPA scientific reports.”
EPA’s review of data sources available to the agency found specific instances where well integrity and waste water management related to hydraulic fracturing activities impacted drinking water resources, but they were small compared to the large number of hydraulically fractured wells across the country. The report provides valuable information about potential vulnerabilities, some of which are not unique to hydraulic fracturing, to drinking water resources, but was not designed to be a list of documented impacts.
These vulnerabilities to drinking water resources include:
water withdrawals in areas with low water availability;
hydraulic fracturing conducted directly into formations containing drinking water resources;
inadequately cased or cemented wells resulting in below ground migration of gases and liquids;
inadequately treated wastewater discharged into drinking water resources;
and spills of hydraulic fluids and hydraulic fracturing wastewater, including flowback and produced water.
Also released today were nine peer-reviewed EPA scientific reports (www.epa.gov/hfstudy). These reports were a part of EPA’s overall hydraulic fracturing drinking water study and contributed to the findings outlined in the draft assessment. Over 20 peer-reviewed articles or reports were published as part of this study [http://www2.epa.gov/hfstudy/published-scientific-papers].
States play a primary role in regulating most natural gas and oil development. EPA’s authority is limited by statutory or regulatory exemptions under the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Where EPA’s exemptions exist, states may have authority to regulate unconventional oil and gas extraction activities under their own state laws.
EPA’s draft assessment benefited from extensive stakeholder engagement conducted across the country with states, tribes, industry, non-governmental organizations, the scientific community and the public to ensure that the draft assessment reflects current practices in hydraulic fracturing and utilizes all data and information available to the agency.
The study will be finalized after review by the Science Advisory Board and public review and comment. The Federal Register Notice with information on the SAB review and how to comment on the draft assessment will be published on Friday June 5, 2015.
For a copy of the study, visit www.epa.gov/hfstudy.
To submit comments on the report, see http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/fedrgstr_activites/HF%20Drinking%20Water%20Assessment?OpenDocument
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
"Largest bribe ever accepted by a public official" to fix land use decisions in a California city gets sentencing
From the US DOJ press release [link corrected] of June 1:
In a case stemming from what is believed to be the largest bribe ever accepted by a public official in an undercover operation, a former member of the Moreno Valley City Council was sentenced this afternoon to 60 months in federal prison for taking a $2.36 million cash bribe from an undercover operative posing as a real estate broker.
Marcelo Co, 64, was sentenced this afternoon by United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal. Co pleaded guilty last year to one bribery count and one count of filing a false corporate tax return.
The case against Co was the result of an investigation by the Inland Regional Corruption Task Force, which is comprised of prosecutors, agents and investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS – Criminal Investigation, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office.
Co was elected to the Moreno Valley City Council in November 2010 and resigned from his seat in August 2013 after being charged in state court in an unrelated case. Court documents filed in the federal case outline a bribery scheme in which Co told a businessman and an undercover FBI operative posing as a real estate broker that he would control a voting majority of the Moreno Valley City Council and would be able to guarantee land use decisions that would benefit the businessman and the land broker. Co also promised to always vote in favor of land use decisions that would benefit the real estate broker.
Co solicited campaign donations from the FBI undercover operative and the
businessman, who was cooperating with the investigation. Co eventually received payments of $5,000 and $10,000 that he said were to be used to finance the campaigns of individuals who would vote with him on land use issues.
In the fall of 2012, Co met with the undercover operative to discuss a multimillion dollar sale of a 30-acre parcel that he owned. Co told the real estate broker that once he had control of the City Council, he could change the zoning of the property and the land value would dramatically increase. With the City Council election in November 2012, Co told the undercover investigator that he had the votes to alter the zoning and increase the value of Co’s 30-acre parcel, which had been appraised at $710,000. Co proposed that the undercover operative purchase the property for $5.36 million, which would include a cash payment of $2.36 million.
At a meeting on January 30, 2013, Co agreed to sell the property for $5.36 million, but that the publicly filed documents would reflect a sale price of only $3 million. At this meeting, Co accepted $2.36 million in cash.
The tax charge concerns a federal Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 1120) that Co filed for his company, Qwik Pack Systems, for tax year 2010. In that filing with the IRS, Co failed to report well over $100,000 in income. This tax charge is not related to the bribery scheme.
Co must surrender himself to authorities on October 30 to begin serving his sentence.
Monday, June 1, 2015
May was a bang-up month for land use law review articles! Below is a list of all land use law articles posted to the SSRN Property, Land Use, and Real Estate Law eJournal in the month of May. The articles are listed here in reverse order of posting (e.g., articles at the bottom were posted earlier in the month), and the ordering does not reflect the number of downloads.
Congratulations to all on a productive spring!
Buying Back the West
Journal of Land, Resources & Environmental Law, Vol. 24, pp.179-86, 2004
James R. Rasband
Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School
Old Suburbs Meets New Urbanism
Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 1512
Nicole Stelle Garnett
Notre Dame Law School
The Ecosystem Approach Under the Convention on Biological Diversity: A Legal Research Agenda
E Morgera, 'Ecosystem and Precautionary Approaches' in J Razzaque and E Morgera (eds), Encyclopedia of Environmental Law: Biodiversity and Nature Protection Law (EE, 2016), Forthcoming, Scottish Centre for International Law Working Paper Series No. 7, Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2015/17
University of Edinburgh
'Economic Property Rights' as 'Nonsense Upon Stilts': A Comment on Hodgson
Journal of Institutional Economics, Forthcoming
Daniel H. Cole
Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Habitat Restoration on Private Lands in the United States and the EU: Moving from Contestation to Collaboration?
Utrecht Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, p. 33-60, January 2015
Department of Public International Law, Ghent University (Belgium)
Date Posted: May 28, 2015
Accepted Paper Series
The Bunk House Rules: Housing Migrant Labour in Ontario
Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Vol. 11, 2015, Forthcoming, Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper No. 18/2015
Adrian A Smith
York University - Osgoode Hall Law School
Planning for the Future: The Creation of New Corridors for Energy Infrastructure in Alberta, Canada
(2014) 1:2 University of Petroleum & Energy Studies Law Rev 175-216
Allan Ingelson and Chilenye Nwapi
University of Calgary - Faculty of Law and University of Calgary
Economics-Based Environmentalism in the Fourth Generation of Environmental Law
21 (University of Missouri) Journal of Environmental & Sustainability Law 47 (2015)
Donald J. Kochan
Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law
Non-Compliance in a Dangerous Time: The Pitfalls of Section 27 of the Surface Rights Act
The Negotiator, February 2015
Fenner L. Stewart
University of Calgary, Faculty of Law
Natural Resource Restoration
Tulane Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2015
Kanner & Whiteley, LLC
Housing as Holdout: Segregation in American Neighborhoods
Tulsa Law Review, Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 329-339 (2015), Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 227-2015
Northeastern University - School of Law
Solar Rights in the United States
Delivering Energy Policy in the EU and US: A Multi-Disciplinary Reader, (Raphael Heffron & Gavin Little, eds.), Edinburgh University Press, 2015, Forthcoming
Sara C. Bronin
University of Connecticut - School of Law
Reassessing Joint Use Agreements to Promote the Public's Health
Preventing Chronic Disease, Volume 12, E52, 2015
James G. Hodge Jr.
Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
The Resource Management Act - How We Got It and What Changes are Being Made to It
 RM Theory & Practice at 22.
Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC
Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law
The Evolution of Relational Property Rights: A Case of Chinese Rural Land Reform
Iowa Law Review, Vol. 100, 2015, Forthcoming
Shitong Qiao and Frank K. Upham
University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law and New York University School of Law
Keeping Track of Conservation
42 Ecology Law Quarterly 79 (2015)
State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo - Law School
Coordinating the Oil and Gas Commons
Forthcoming in the Brigham Young University Law Review (symposium, 2015), FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 754
Hannah Jacobs Wiseman
Florida State University - College of Law
Penn Central 2.0: The Takings Implications of Printing Air Rights
Columbia Business Law Review, Forthcoming
Samantha Peikoff Adler
Columbia University - Columbia Business Law Review
Common Property Resource Dependency: Forests and Village Commons
Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Students
Making Towns More Sustainable by Incorporating Metrics in the Town Plan
Henry August Bonges III
Sustainability and Environmental Management
Charles E. Colman
New York University School of Law
Property as a Cultural Tool
When the Shale Gale Hit Ohio: The Failures of the Dormant Mineral Act, Its Heroic Interpretations, and Grave Choices Facing the Supreme Court
Capital University Law Review, Forthcoming
Fenner L. Stewart
University of Calgary, Faculty of Law
'Indigeneity' as Self-Determination
Indigenous Law Journal, Vol. 4, 2005
Mark J. Bennett
Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law
Natural Disasters: Land Use and Insurance
Céline Grislain-Letrémy and Bertrand Villeneuve
National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST) and Université Paris Dauphine
As Natural Landscaping Takes Root We Must Weed Out the Bad Laws - How Natural Landscaping and Leopold's Land Ethic Collide with Unenlightned Weed Laws and What Must Be Done about It
John Marshall Law Review, Vol. 26, No. 4, 1993
Rights at Risk in Privatized Public Housing
Tulsa Law Review, Vol. 50, 2015, pp. 759-801.
University of Baltimore - School of Law
New Approach or Business as Usual? Protection of Aquatic Ecosystems Under the Clinton Administration's Westside Forests Plan
Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation, Vol. 10, No. 309, 1995
Henry B Lacey
Conservation Contracts and Political Regimes
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5334
Bård Harstad and Torben K. Mideksa
University of Oslo - Department of Economics and Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO)
Holes in the Dike: The Global Savings Glut, U.S. House Prices and the Long Shadow of Banking Deregulation
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5332
Mathias Hoffmann and Iryna Stewen
University of Zurich - Department of Economics and University of Mainz - Gutenberg School of Economics and Management
The Public Trust Doctrine, Private Water Allocation, and Mono Lake: The Historic Saga of National Audubon Society v. Superior Ct.
Environmental Law, Vol. 45, 2015
Lewis & Clark Law School
When Local Government Misbehaves
Utah Law Review, Forthcoming
Shelley Ross Saxer
Pepperdine University School of Law
84 U. Cincinnati L. Rev., 2015 Forthcoming, U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-19
Kevin J. Lynch
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Date Posted: May 05, 2015
Lessons from Area-Wide, Multi-Agency Habitat Conservation Plans in California
UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-50
Alejandro E. Camacho , Elizabeth M. Taylor and Melissa L. Kelly
University of California Irvine School of Law , University of California, Irvine School of Law and University of California, Irvine School of Law
Date Posted: May 05, 2015
Dancing in Place: The Clinton Administration and Aquatic Ecosystem Protection in the Pacific Northwest
Henry B Lacey
Date Posted: May 05, 2015
Governing the Ungovernable: Integrating the Multimodal Approach to Keeping Agricultural Land Use from Swallowing Ecosystems
McGeorge Law Review, Vol. 46, No. 1, 2014, Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper; No. 15-14
Florida International University (FIU) - College of Law
Contracting for Control of Landscape-Level Resources
Iowa Law Review, Vol. 100, No. 101, 2015, Forthcoming
Karen Bradshaw Schulz and Dean Lueck
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and University of Arizona
The Institutions of Roman Markets
Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Economics and Business Working Paper Series 1471
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Race and Decolonization: Whiteness as Property in the American Settler Colonial Project
Harvard Journal on Racial & Ethnic Justice, Forthcoming
Natsu Taylor Saito
Georgia State University College of Law
'Unclear' Initial Delineation of Property Boundaries and the Third Coase Theorem
Lai, Lawrence W.C., Chau, K.W. and Lorne, Frank T., 'Unclear' initial delineation of property boundaries and the third Coase Theorem. Land Use Policy, Forthcoming
Lawrence Wai-Chung Lai , K.W. Chau and Frank T. Lorne
The University of Hong Kong - Department of Real Estate and Construction , The University of Hong Kong and Universitas 21 Global - Economics
Legal Institutionalism: Capitalism and the Constitutive Role of Law
University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 26/2015
Simon Deakin , David Gindis , Geoffrey M. Hodgson , Huang Kainan and Katharina Pistor
University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research (CBR) , University of Hertfordshire - Business School , University of Hertfordshire , Shandong University and Columbia University School of Law
The Future of Fannie and Freddie
New York University Journal of Law and Business, Vol. 10, p. 339, 2014, Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper, No. 407
Mark A. Calabria , David J. Reiss , Lawrence J. White , Mark A. Willis and Michael E. Levine
Cato Institute , Brooklyn Law School , New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business , New York University (NYU) and New York University School of Law
Cracking the Citadel Walls: A Functional Approach to Cosmopolitan Property Models within and Beyond National Property Regimes
Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law (3): 770-794 (2014)
Central European University (CEU) - Department of Legal Studies
The Boston City Pilot Task Force: An Emerging Best Practice?
New England Law Review, Vol. 44, No. 3, 2010
Eric A. Lustig
New England Law | Boston
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Monday, May 25, 2015
Congrats to co-blogger Jim Kelly (Notre Dame), editor-in-chief of the ABA Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law, on the latest edition. Links to articles are below (ABA membership req'd).
In this Issue
From the Editor-in-Chief
Equity, in Every Sense
James J. Kelly, Jr.
From the Chair
Don’t Miss the Forum’s Annual Meeting in May
Tax-Exempt Use Property and LIHTC Transactions: An Overview
J. William Callison
From the Reading Room
Saving the Neighborhood: Racially Restrictive Covenants, Law, and Social Norms
Review by A. Mechele Dickerson
Confronting Suburban Poverty in America
Review by Hed Ehrlich
Whither Workforce Housing?
Matthew J. Parlow
NYT has an article about how Uber is challenging that last bastion of the taxi industry: airports. Query whether Uber will soon be charging airport access fees, or if those charges typically added to taxi rates will go away.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
Shocking Allegations of Rough Justice at a P&Z Hearing in the Rural West: Environmental Activist Opposing Oil and Gas Project at Public Hearing Charged with Criminal Trespass and Spends Five Days in Isolation
Last week, an attorney here in Idaho alerted me to allegations currently against the Payette County, Idaho Planning & Zoning Commission that are so mind-boggling horrific that, well, I had to blog about them.
The allegations are as follows. An environmental activist opposing the modification of a CUP for the construction of a natural gas facility spoke during the public comment period at a public hearing on the modification request. In her comments, she alleged potential conflicts of interest of some of the commissioners. Later, after public comment, commissioners accused the activist of "telling whoppers." The activist requested a "point of order" asking for clarification, to which the chair of the commission called the sheriff. All of this, of course, is run of the mill P&Z stuff.
When the sheriff arrived, though, things allegedly took a turn for the worse; he proceeded to arrest the activist for criminal trespass...at a public hearing! The allegations also state that the sheriff then held the activist for eight days in a county jail. Five of those days in jail were in isolation where the activist was "given no access to a shower, no contact with her husband, no access to clean clothes, and was forced to use the toilet while a male prison guard watched her." And let's keep in mind all of this arose out of public comment at a public hearing on a conditional use permit.
If these allegations are true...wow.
There has been substantial media coverage of the Cliven Bundy-style of violence that is running through the rural west these days. If the allegations from Payette County are true, they point to another, more insidious type of violence despoiling public discourse in these same rural small towns and preventing civil debate about their futures.
I will continue to follow the case and give updates as it evolves.
For all of the details: Download Notice of Tort Claim - Alma Hasse
Congratulations to fellow blogger, Jessica Owley, on the forthcoming publication of her new article in the Harvard Environmental Law Review. The article, Enhancing Conservation Options: An Argument for Statutory Recognition of Options to Purchase Conservation Easements (OPCEs), was written with Fred Cheever (Denver). Here is the abstract:
The most dynamic component of the conservation movement in the United States for the past three decades has been land conservation transactions. In the United States, land conservation organizations have protected roughly 40 million acres of land through transactions. Most of these acres have been protected using conservation easements. Climate change threatens the vast conservation edifice created by land conservation transactions. The tools of land conservation transactions are, traditionally, stationary. Climate change means that the resources that land conservation transactions were intended to protect may no longer remain on the land protected. Options to purchase conservation easements (OPCEs) have long played a modest but important role in conservation law practice. In the world climate change is creating, with its substantial uncertainties and shifting windows of opportunity, OPCEs can serve more complicated and strategic purposes. The ability of OPCEs to serve important roles in protecting land in the context of uncertainty would be significantly increased if state legislatures amend current conservation easement statutes to (1) specifically recognize OPCEs, (2) immunize OPCEs from a range of potential common law challenges, (3) guarantee the durability and transferability of OPCEs, and (4) integrate OPCEs into the burgeoning body of conservation easement law. These statutory amendments would do for OPCEs what conservation easement statutes have done for conservation easements: transform them into an essential multi-purpose tool for conservation in a changing world.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy has a new book out, Planning for States and Nation-States in the U.S. and Europe, that might be of interest. Here are the abstract, editors' bios, and chapters:
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
On-demand worker survey:
Key findings of a survey of 1,330 on-demand workers:
Median wage: $18 per hour
Top draw of freelancing: schedule flexibility (75%)
Top reason for leaving: not enough pay (43%)
Insurance: 8% of passenger drivers and 16% of delivery drivers lack car insurance
Demographics: Respondents heavily male (72.7%), white (57%) young (67.5% age 18-34)
A hearty congratulations to those being honored today by the Audubon Women in Conservation Program, and especially my good friend Erica Gies, as part of the "Women Greening Journalism" program. Here are the profiles of the honorees:
Emily Atkin, ThinkProgress
Emily Atkin writes about the science and politics of climate change, weather, and the environment for ThinkProgress. Her coverage focuses on peer-reviewed science, with topics including the effects of our acidifying oceans, what the polar vortex really is and isn't, and the challenges scientists face while studying the effects of fracking. Emily also keeps a close watch on Congress to report on how lawmakers are (or aren't) tackling human-caused climate change. As deputy editor, Emily also helps manage the daily news flow for the climate section of ThinkProgress.
Josie Garthwaite, Discover
Josie Garthwaite is a journalist and editor based in San Francisco. Her writing on science, environment, and technology has appeared in publications including The Atlantic, Discover, National Geographic, The New York Times, Smithsonian, and Wired. Josie has reported on topics ranging from the rise of synthetic biology to the clash of conservation and energy interests in California's Monterey Shale. As a staff writer for GigaOm, she provided pioneering coverage of electric cars and on-demand mobility services. Josie holds a master's degree from Stanford University's Graduate Journalism Program and she co-founded the environmental reporting project Climate Confidential in early 2014.
Erica Gies, Freelance, The New York Times, Yale Environment 360
Erica Gies is an independent journalist who writes about the core requirements for life — water and energy — from Victoria, British Columbia, and San Francisco. Her work appears in The New York Times, Yale Environment 360, the Guardian, The Economist, National Geographic, Forbes, Ensia, and other outlets. She also covers climate policy, green business, urban planning, waste of many kinds, critters, and more. She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and has also co-founded two environment news startups: This Week in Earth and Climate Confidential.www.ericagies.com
Rona Kobell, Staff Reporter, Chesapeake Bay Journal
Rona Kobell is a reporter for the Chesapeake Bay Journal, a nonprofit newspaper covering science and policy in the District of Columbia and the six states surrounding the nation's largest estuary. She produces and co-hosts a monthly radio show that airs live on WYPR in Baltimore and is carried across Maryland. A former Baltimore Sun reporter, she was awarded the Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan in 2008. Her work has appeared in Grist, Slate, Modern Farmer, Yale Environment 360 and the Columbia Journalism Review. She lives near Baltimore with her husband, journalist Jesse Walker, and their two daughters.
Mary Catherine O'Connor, Independent Reporter
Mary Catherine O'Connor is a seasoned reporter whose beats include environmental issues, technology, and recreation. She has written for leading publications including Outside, The Guardian, Al Jazeera America, Smithsonian, Fast Company, and Wired. She has collected dispatches from climbers ascending Everest, interviewed some of the world's most accomplished athletes, technologists and entrepreneurs. Her story about the growing environmental threat posed by synthetic fibers shed from textiles was the second-most read story in The Guardian's sustainable business section last year. Also in 2014, O'Connor helped launch an ad-free, reader-supported experiment in journalism, called Climate Confidential.
Elizabeth Royte, Writer
Elizabeth Royte is the author of the critically acclaimed Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash; Bottlemania: How Water Went On Sale and Why We Bought It; and The Tapir's Morning Bath: Solving the Mysteries of the Tropical Rainforest. A former Alicia Patterson fellow and a recipient of the John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service, she contributes to Audubon, the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Harper's, Outside, and other magazines. Royte is also a contributing editor to the Food and Environment Reporting Network, OnEarth Magazine, and Smithsonian.
Kate Sheppard, Senior Reporter/Environmental and Energy Editor, The Huffington Post
Kate Sheppard is a senior reporter and the environment and energy editor at the Huffington Post. She previously reported for Mother Jones, Grist, and the American Prospect. Her writing has also been featured in the New York Times' Room for Debate blog, the Guardian, Foreign Policy, High Country News, The Center for Public Integrity, In These Times, and Bitch. Her reporting has been recognized with awards from the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Online News Association, and Planned Parenthood. She is the vice president for membership of the Society of Environmental Journalists.
Andrea Vittorio, Reporter, Bloomberg BNA
Andrea Vittorio is a staff reporter at Bloomberg BNA, where she covers the intersection of climate change and business. Andrea splits her time between following national and international actions on climate change, particularly in the areas of preparedness and resilience, and reading corporate sustainability reports and interviewing company executives. She has reported from Philadelphia, Kuala Lumpur and now Washington, D.C.
Amy Westervelt, Journalist, Slate
Amy Westervelt covers the environment, business, technology and health for The Guardian UK and The Wall Street Journal. Her work has also recently appeared in Fast Company, Smithsonian, and Aeon. As a co-founder of Climate Confidential, she helped get longform, investigative environmental journalism into a host of national publications, including The Atlantic, Quartz, Smithsonian, Modern Farmer and many more. In 2007, Amy was awarded the Folio Eddy for her feature on the potential of algae as a feedstock for biofuels. She lives in Truckee, Ca.
Katie Carpenter, 2015 Special Recognition Chair, Rachel Carson Awards Council
As a producer and writer of award-winning documentary films, Carpenter has traveled the globe covering endangered species and habitats, human origins, and climate change. Her films have appeared on PBS, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, MSNBC, and National Geographic TV. She also serves as Project Director and Media Analyst for the Evidence-Based Science Communication Initiative at Yale Law School, evaluating films and other media about policy-relevant issues such as climate change and vaccines. She is the author of a book about dolphins and an ongoing series of feature articles about greening the Film/TV industry. She lives in New York City with her two adventurous daughters.
Lindsay Abrams, Staff Writer
Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer for Salon, where she heads up the Sustainability section. Her daily news reports, analyses and interviews cover topics including, but not limited to, climate change, conservation, public health, food and politics. She was previously an editorial fellowfor TheAtlantic.com, focusing on health. Her work has appeared in Sierra Magazine, The Atlantic, and The New York Times.
Katherine Bagley, Reporter, InsideClimate News
Katherine Bagley is a reporter for InsideClimate News who covers the intersection of environmental science, politics and policy, with an emphasis on climate change. She is co-author of the InsideClimate News book Bloomberg's Hidden Legacy: Climate Change and the Future of New York City, published in November 2013 and winner of the Deadline Club's Award for Reporting by Independent Digital Media. Her writing has also been included in the anthology Best American Science and Nature Writing.
Sara Bernard, Multimedia Journalist
Sara Bernard is a freelance writer and radio reporter based in Seattle, WA. She's reported on environmental and social justice, energy, science, conservation, and culture for Grist, Bay Nature, Making Contact, KUOW, KQED, Alaska Public Media, Adirondack Life, and The Atlantic, among other outlets. Her multimedia investigation of the Kemper County Energy Facility in rural Mississippi — "The Cost of Clean Coal" — was published in February 2015 in Grist and featured on National Geographic Radio. Headshot photo credit: Daniel Penner / Grist.org
Jeanne Blaisdell, The Green Samaritan
Jeanne Blaisdell is the founder and publisher of TheGreenSamaritan.com — an online resource that gathers and shares the best advice, resources, and tips to help those on their journey towards clean, green and healthy living and greater environmental awareness. By sharing a few thoughts on topics surrounding energy conservation, reuse, recycling, the natural world, and healthier food options, it is the intent this will spark a kinder action in everyday life. She has served as vice chair of past WIC luncheon events, on the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church Environmental Stewardship Commission and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Greensboro Science Center.
Jennifer Bogo, Popular Science
Jennifer Bogo is the executive editor at Popular Science, where she orchestrates coverage on topics ranging from medical breakthroughs and space exploration to advances in energy and robotics. Stories she edited have won a National Magazine Award and have been included in The Best American Science Writing and The Best American Science and Nature Writing anthologies. She's also traveled to research stations from the Arctic to the Antarctic to report and write stories herself. Jennifer frequently appears on television and radio programs to explain science and technology news. She has a deep interest in environmental issues, stemming from her degree in biology and environmental science, and she is currently vice-president of the Society of Environmental Journalists. Previously, she has been an editor at Popular Mechanics, Audubon, and at E/The Environmental Magazine.
Cally Carswell, Freelance Science and Environmental Writer
Cally Carswell is an independent science and environmental journalist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a contributing editor at High Country News, where she writes on the intersection of climate science, ecology and land management, and environmental policy, and politics in the American West. Her work has appeared in Science Magazine, Modern Farmer and aired on Chicago Public Radio and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In 2014, her reporting on forests and climate change was recognized with major awards from the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers.
Rene Ebersole, Freelance writer, Features Editor, Audubon Magazine
Rene Ebersole writes magazine articles relating to science, the environment, health, travel, and food. As features editor at Audubon magazine, she manages a stable of talented writers who also contribute to such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and National Geographic. Her book, Gorilla Mountain, a children's biography of gorilla biologist Amy Vedder was co-published by Joseph Henry Press and Scholastic. She has a bachelor's degree in ecology and environmental science, and she has worked as an adjunct professor at NYU's Masters Program in Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program, of which she is a graduate. She also guest lectures at other universities.
Lisa Friedman, Deputy Editor, ClimateWire
Lisa Friedman is the deputy editor of ClimateWire, helping to lead a team of 10 reporters covering the business and politics of climate change. She also covers international policy, including the global climate change negotiations and the intersection between climate, international security, and development. In pursuit of those stories she has gone to the bottom of a Chinese coal mine, sat with families in flood-ravaged villages of Bangladesh, and climbed the snow-capped Himalayan Mountains. Her stories have appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American and USA Today. Before joining ClimateWire, Lisa spent 14 years in daily journalism in California, Nevada and Washington D.C., serving as the Washington bureau chief for the Oakland Tribune and later the Los Angeles Daily News. She is the recipient of a number of journalism honors including the 2009 American Association for the Advancement of Science Kavli Science Journalism Award and the 2010 Edwin M. Hood Diplomatic Correspondence Award. Most recently she was selected to be a fellow for the 2013 Pakistan U.S.-Journalism Exchange. A New Jersey native, Friedman is a graduate of Columbia University.
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian
Suzanne Goldenberg is the US environment correspondent of The Guardian and is based in Washington DC. She has won several awards for her work in the Middle East, and in 2003 covered the US invasion of Iraq from Baghdad. She is author of Madam President, about Hillary Clinton's historic run for the White House.
Lisa Krieger, The San Jose Mercury News
Lisa M. Krieger is a journalist for The San Jose Mercury News, covering science, environment, and medical research news from Stanford University, the University of California, NASA-Ames, U.S. Geological Survey, Lawrence Livermore Labs and the wild landscapes surrounding the beautiful San Francisco Bay area. Favorite articles include the return of Bald Eagles and Swainson's Hawk to the region, restoration of California Condor populations, mysterious deaths of brown pelicans, the impact of noise and light pollution on avian species, and the months-long wanderings of an escaped East African Gray-Crowned Crane. She also contributes to National Geographic Online, the magazine Bay Nature, and authors the column "Wanderlust" for Bay Area News Group, describing outdoor explorations in the Bay Area. Krieger graduated from Duke University with a degree in Biology. She scripted the KQED e-book Biotechnology, co-authored the book Incredible Voyage: Exploring the Human Body (National Geographic Press) and edited the University of California Press book AIDS: A Community Response. She is the recipient of seven major journalism awards, including "Journalist of the Year" by the Society of Professional Journalists-Northern California. A resident of Palo Alto, CA, she is partial to anything involving mandolins, binoculars, horses or backpacking.
Celeste LeCompte, Smithsonian
Celeste LeCompte is a media entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her work focuses on innovation and the environment with an emphasis on China and the Western U.S. Most recently, she co-founded Climate Confidential, an experiment in reader-funded journalism about the intersection of environmental issues and technological innovation. Previously, she was the managing editor and director of product for Gigaom Research, and the editor of Sustainable Industries magazine. Her writing has appeared in Scientific American, Smithsonian, Outside, and BusinessWeek. She is a 2015 Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.
Molly Murray, Environmental Reporter, News Journal, Wilmington, DE
Molly Murray writes about conservation and the environment for the News Journal in Wilmington, DE, with a special interest in climate change impacts on species and habitats. She has a Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Arcadia University. She started her career at the News Journal in 1980 covering land use, education, and government. As an environmental reporter, she loves to find critical links between species and habitat and one of her favorite topics is the link between horseshoe crabs and red knots along Delaware Bay.
Neena Satija, Environment Reporter, The Texas Tribune
Neena Satija is a radio reporter and producer for Reveal. She is based in The Texas Tribune newsroom in Austin. Previously, she was an environment reporter for The Texas Tribune, and before that, worked for Connecticut Public Radio. Her reporting on the vulnerability of the Connecticut shoreline won a national award from the Society of Environmental Journalists. Neena grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and graduated from Yale University in 2011.
Jenny Staletovich, Miami Herald Reporter
Jenny Staletovich is the environmental reporter for The Miami Herald, a beat she took over in 2014 after working as a freelance reporter for eight years. From 1989 to 2000, Staletovich worked at The Palm Beach Post as a statewide general assignment reporter responsible for the region's major stories, including hurricanes, the death penalty, and prisons. She visited Haiti and Cuba to report on immigration issues. She also covered crime and government. She has won several state and national awards, including the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment, the Green Eyeshades, and the Sunshine State Awards. She graduated from Smith College and lives in Miami with her husband and their three children.
Dinah Voyles Pulver, Environment Writer
Dinah Voyles Pulver has covered a wide range of environmental issues for The Daytona Beach News-Journal for more than 20 years, including documenting the travails of one of the nation's most diverse estuaries, the Indian River Lagoon. A three-time recipient of Florida's highest award for environment writing, the Waldo Proffitt Award for Excellence in Environmental Journalism, she has also been recognized nationally by the Grantham Foundation for excellence in reporting on the environment, and was awarded a Gold Medal for Public Service by the Florida Society of News Editors. When not roaming the wilds for work, she enjoys paddling a kayak, birdwatching, and hiking.
Ucilia Wang, Freelance
Ucilia Wang is a California-based freelance journalist who writes about technology and the environment for publications such as Forbes, The UK Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and Smithsonian. She co-founded Climate Confidential, which publishes stories about the science and technology for dealing with climate change. She was previously the associate editor at Greentech Media and a staff writer covering the semiconductor industry at Red Herring.
Bonnie Lane Webber, Environmental Activist
Bonnie Lane Webber has passionately worked to increase environmental awareness on the Upper East Side—and beyond—since the 1980s. A longtime resident, she has found many ways to encourage the community to protect our natural resources. As environmental chair for Carnegie Hill Neighbors, she has written a column for the Carnegie Hill Newsletter for 25 years, focusing on a wide range of topics from better bulbs to fracking, food, and avoiding waste. She founded Grassroots, a forum for exchanging green ideas through monthly meetings and newsletters. Now chairing the Sierra Club NYC Group Sustainability Series, she continues to educate and promote effective action.