Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold (Louisville) served last spring as a visiting professor at the University of Houston, where he organized an excellent symposium on Climate Change, Water, and Adaptive Law, with participation from Robin Kundis Craig, Noah Hall, Dan Tarlock, Elizabeth Burleson, Lea Rachel Kosnick, and Kathleen Miller. Prof. Arnold has recently posted two pieces from the symposium issue, published in the Environmental and Energy Law and Policy Journal, Vol. 5 (2010).
The introductory essay is Law's Adaptive Capacity and Climate Change's Impacts on Water. The abstract:
This is an introductory essay to a symposium on Climate Change, Water, and Adaptive Law, held at the University of Houston Law Center in February 2010 and published in the Environmental and Energy Law and Policy Journal. It contends that changing climate conditions are creating pressures on water law, policy, and management institutions to adapt and questions whether these institutions have the capacity to adapt to climate change. It describes four major effects of climate change as they relate to water resources: 1) precipitation effects; 2) environmental and landscape structural effects; 3) behavioral response effects; and 4) institutional response effects. The essay then describes two articles addressing the dynamics of cross-jurisdictional scale: one by Robin Kundis Craig and one by Noah Hall; two articles addressing cross-sector interrelationships among water and energy: one by Dan Tarlock and one by Lea Rachel Kosnik; and three articles analyzing the adequacy and adaptability of existing trends in decentralized water planning and management: one by Kathleen Miller, one by Tony Arnold, and one by Elizabeth Burleson. The essay then comments on the themes of fragmentation and integration in the context of the systemic evolution and emergence of water law institutions.
Prof. Arnold's own contribution to the symposium is his article Adaptive Watershed Planning and Climate Change. The abstract:
Few phenomena make the case for adaptive ecosystem management quite as well as climate change, the hydrological effects of which will upset settled expectations and require water institutions to adapt. The effects of climate change will be felt at multiple hydrological, geographic, and institutional scales that transcend specific water sources or political and legal jurisdictions. Moreover, the effects will be uncertain, complex, and frequently changing. Thus, water resources should be managed at watershed scales, and this management should use the adaptive management methods of flexibility, experimentation, and learning through iterative processes of managing environmental conditions and programs.
However, the adaptive ecosystem management concept has had the unfortunate effect of de-emphasizing or even rejecting the role of planning in shaping the relationships between human actions and ecological conditions. Too little attention has been given to the role of planning in adaptation and ecosystem management. A concept of "adaptive planning" is not only consistent with adaptive ecosystem management, but could actually improve adaptive ecosystem management methods and the capacity of institutions to engage in adaptive ecosystem management effectively. Moreover, a growing number of watershed plans are exhibiting some characteristics of adaptive planning, particularly with respect to the effects of climate change on watersheds and water resources.
This article explores the role of adaptive watershed planning in adapting to climate change. Adaptive watershed management requires the use of adaptive planning methods, not merely ad hoc, reactive experimentalism and incrementalism. Without some process of planning, Charles Lindblom’s “science of muddling through” becomes "the science of drifting along." Adaptive planning gives some direction and focus to adaptive ecosystem management activities. Furthermore, adaptive watershed planning can improve not only adaptive watershed management methods, but also the content and effectiveness of watershed plans themselves. If watershed plans are to be useful, they must contemplate the uncertainties associated with climate change and its effects.
In addition to describing the theory and features of adaptive planning and applying adaptive planning principles to watershed planning and management, this article also explores examples of watershed plans in the U.S. and Canada that have addressed climate change and analyzes a number of issues in adaptive watershed planning, including barriers to, and opportunities for, the increased and improved use of adaptive watershed planning to improve the capacity of watershed institutions to adapt to climate change.
Check out all of the articles from this interesting event when they are published by Environmental and Energy Law & Policy. It was great to have Tony Arnold down in Houston last spring to organize this event, with the side benefit of bringing him over to South Texas for our Land Use in the Unzoned City forum!
Friday, November 26, 2010
Reed D. Benson (New Mexico) has posted Environmental Review of Western Water Project Operations: Where NEPA has not Applied, Will it now Protect Farmers from Fish?, forthcoming in UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2011. The abstract:
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation operates hundreds of dams in seventeen western states, and storage and release of water at these dams often causes serious environmental impacts. In operating these dams, however, the Bureau has largely been excused from complying with the environmental review requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. This article explains and analyzes relevant NEPA cases involving these Bureau projects, and argues that the Bureau may want to conduct NEPA reviews for project operations even if they are not legally required. It also describes and critiques District Judge Oliver Wanger’s recent decisions applying NEPA to the Bureau’s efforts to comply with the Endangered Species Act in operating the Central Valley Project. The article concludes that the Bureau should use NEPA as a tool for making long-term decisions on project operations, but that courts should not insist on NEPA compliance that would interfere with efforts to protect endangered species.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I just received this announcement from Katie Sheehan at UGA's River Basin Center:
The Southeast Smart Growth Network invites you to join us for our first regional video
conference showcasing key smart growth initiatives in the Southeast. The hour and a half program
will be presented from four interactive sites linked by the University of Georgia. You may also view the presentation from your computer.
Overcoming Obstacles to Smart Growth – A Case Study of the Town
of Davidson, NC (2004 EPA Award for Overall Excellence in Smart Growth
Achievement) - Town of Davidson Planning Manager, Lauren Blackburn,
and Commissioner Marguerite Williams will explain the main tenets of the
Davidson Planning Ordinance, initial community reactions to draft policy,
and the tools used to build support for change.
Going Green in Georgia – David Freedman, Principal at Freedman
Engineering Group and former Director of Engineering and Construction
for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, will discuss strategies
for a successful green building program and cost neutral approaches to
constructing green buildings.
HUD-DOT-EPA Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities -
Anne Keller, Senior Sustainability Advisor, Environmental Protection
Agency Region 4, will discuss the new partnership and provide an
overview of the communities in the Southeast receiving grants. Amy
Brooks, Transportation Planner, Knoxville Regional Transportation
Planning Organization, will briefly discuss their initiative to develop a
Regional Plan for Sustainable Development.
Southeast Smart Growth Network – Christine Olsenius, Executive
Director of the Southeast Watershed Forum, will introduce a new project to
analyze green building programs in 5 Southeastern states.
DECEMBER 13th 2010, 2-3:30pm EST video conference.
Watch online: Email firstname.lastname@example.org to
receive the conference url and link-up instructions.
You can also watch from four locations;
Athens, Georgia - Center for Teaching and Learning, North Instructional Plaza, http://www.ctl.uga.edu/location, park at the Tate Student Center, 705 S. Lumpkin Street
Atlanta, Georgia - Georgia Department of Community Affairs, 60 Executive Park South NE, http://www.dca.ga.gov/main/About/DCAMap1.pdf, sign in at the security desk in the lobby
Charlotte, North Carolina - University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Room 126 Fretwell Building – #45 on campus map, park on parking deck, http://home.uncc.edu/directions
Knoxville, Tennessee - University of Tennessee, Room 156 Plant Biotechnology Building on the Agriculture Campus, http://www.utk.edu/maps/
Looks like it will be very interesting - unfortunately I've got a conflict, but I imagine it will be posted on a website for later viewing.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Friday, November 19, 2010
Julian Conrad Juergensmeyer (Georgia State) has posted Rainwater Recapture: Development Regulations Promoting Water Conservation, which was published in a symposium issue of the John Marshall Law Review, Vol. 43, p. 359 (2010). The abstract:
The increasing need for water conservation in the eastern as well as western parts of the United States is focusing attention on rainwater recapture. The technology available is effective and relatively inexpensive. Using land development regulations to require or encourage new development to incorporate rainwater recapture facilities is one approach to alleviation of local water shortages.
Prof. Juergensmeyer's paper was a keynote presentation at the Kratovil Conference on Real Estate Law and Practice, hosted by John Marshall's Center for Real Estate Law. By coincidence, I just got in the mail this morning a very nice brochure about the Center. Directed by Prof. Celeste M. Hammond, it offers a graduate program in Real Estate Law leading to either an LLM for lawyers or to an MS for real estate professionals. Looks like a great program with lots of things going on; for more info, check out the Center's website.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Bryant Walker Smith (NYU) has posted Water as a Public Good: The Status of Water Under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 17 at 291 (2009). The abstract:
Is water a "product" subject to the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)? I argue that it is not, because the established, widespread, and consistent assertion by states of public ownership over their water resources through both municipal and international law (the "public-ownership consensus") precludes any reading of GATT that would fundamentally alter the unique status of those resources. My reasoning therefore differs from that of others who have addressed this issue in that I first examine the broader legal context in which the WTO exists and then consider how that context compels an interpretation of "product" that excludes water resources.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
I've blogged before about an informal "2nd Friday Symposium" held by the River Basin Center here at UGA. I wasn't able to attend the most recent event, so I asked Land Use Clinic student Greg Raburn to report. Here's his summary (and accompanying culinary notes):
The convivial meeting started at 4:00 p.m., but, by the time I was able to get out of class, burn the roof of my mouth on a hastily-heated corn dog, and drive to the River Basin Center, the discussion had already begun The room, which had the appearance of some type of student lounge, was nearly full, and the speaker, who must have been Professor Chuck Hopkinson of Marine Sciences and Director of the Georgia Sea Grant, with beer in hand, was describing the statistics and findings displayed on the projection screen.
He noted that while Savannah, as befitting one of the top U.S. seaports, was being monitored for contamination, Georgia’s southeast coast was not. The oil, if or when it appeared on Georgia’s beaches, he stated, would probably look like tar-balls (which were essentially asphalt, he explained) or micro-droplets, and he and his group had made recommendations to Congressional staffers for detecting the presence of the oil and monitoring it. He said much of the Gulf data was being collected by robotic “Seagliders,” manufactured by iRobot (the makers of the “Roomba” robotic home vacuum cleaner). The gliders were designed to “glide” to the bottom of the ocean, collecting data from their surroundings, and then rise to the surface and transmit the data. In addition to recommending using Seagliders off the Georgia coast, his group additionally recommended using fluorescent sensors, doing tar-ball counts, monitoring “sentinel” organisms, and utilizing satellite monitoring to collect additional data.The next part of the discussion centered on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s leaked press release which had stated that 74% of the released oil was “gone.” The report naturally raised the question: if 74% of the oil was truly gone, where did it go? The press release claimed that 25% of the oil had dissolved or evaporated, 16% had been naturally dispersed, 8% had been chemically dispersed, 17% had never entered the water (captured at the surface), 5% had been burned, and the cleanup efforts had captured 3%, and therefore only 26% of the oil remained in the ocean.
Professor Hopkinson’s group decided to evaluate the data themselves. The first thing they did was discard the figure for the 17% of oil that never entered the water; if some oil never entered the water, they felt it was misleading to include it on a report about the status of the oil in the water. Professor Hopkinson’s group also figured in “degradation,” which, based from data from the Ixtoc oil spill off the coast of Mexico in 1979, was estimated at about 4%-8%. His group ultimately concluded that the oil was not “gone,” but that most of it had simply changed into a form that rendered it uncollectable.
The University of Georgia and the Georgia Sea Grant testified before a [Georgia] Senate subcommittee regarding Georgia’s vulnerability to the oil spill. The Senate subcommittee charged the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to develop an oil sampling plan. Three things were to be sampled: water columns, hard bottom, and fish. If oil were found in these things, then two additional things would then be sampled: sediment and hydrodynamics. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide further details on this part of the discussion, as it went well beyond my limited knowledge of marine science and ecology.
As a side note, Professor Hopkinson also observed that British Petroleum (BP) is selling or has sold off its terrestrial U.S. wells, put its shallow water wells up for sale, and is currently expanding its deepwater drilling in areas with little regulation, such as Africa and Brazil. He suggested this could have been a counterproductive consequence of the recent U.S. sanctions on BP and the restrictions on deepwater drilling. He pointed out that the well currently being drilled in Brazil, will be at almost twice the depth of the Deepwater Horizon.
Professor Hopkinson closed by saying that the University of Georgia Sea Grant website on the oil spill could be found at oilspill.uga.edu, with additional information at www.southatlanticseagrant.org, www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com, and www.restorethegulf.gov.
In conclusion, I found the science and statistics of the discussion to be rather interesting. I had to glean the meaning of much of the technical language from the context in which it was used. The symposium was definitely geared toward someone with more of a background in environmental and marine science than myself, but the group was open and friendly, and a small variety of refreshments were available – including a bowl of dried, multicolored, tubular things that, in size and shape, resembled McDonald’s French Fries. I had to try one. It tasted kind of like a pretzel. I still have no idea what it was.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold (Louisville) has posted Fourth-Generation Environmental Law: Integrationist and Multimodal. The abstract:
Daniel H. Cole (Indiana-Indianapolis) has posted what looks like another interesting article, Property Creation by Regulation: Rights to Clean Air and Rights to Pollute. The abstract:
Friday, September 24, 2010
Robert W. Adler (Utah) has posted Resilience, Restoration, and Sustainability: Revisiting the Fundamental Principles of the Clean Water Act, Washington U. Journal of Law and Policy, Vol. 32, p. 139 (2010). The abstract:
Thursday, September 16, 2010
From Dr Rajiv Shah of USAID:
Global demand for freshwater is doubling every 20 years, yet water is becoming increasingly scarce in a number of countries, including many in the developing world. As you all know well, water is central to the success of our sustainable development efforts. Whether for domestic use, agriculture, industry, energy, or the environment, the availability of adequate supplies of good quality freshwater underpins the hopes and expectations of billions of people for improved well-being and affluence.In his inaugural address, President Obama pledged to help the developing world address its water challenges. And last March, Secretary Clinton challenged USAID and the State Department to elevate our freshwater access efforts and to ensure that we look at these challenges in an integrated manner. Climate change, food security and global health issues are three of our top priorities, and water is integrally linked to each challenge. In order to maximize the impact from our development investments we must enhance integrated programming, utilize smart science and innovation, build strategic partnerships, and learn from experience.
As one step on this path, I am pleased to announce the launch of Global Waters – the first newsletter dedicated to the broad portfolio of water-related activities of the United States Agency for International Development. Through this new bi-monthly newsletter, we wish to share with you the many challenges and opportunities, and the approaches and lessons learned that reflect upon USAID programming in the water arena. Each issue will highlight the work of our many implementing partners, as well as some of the more intimate stories of how the Agency’s work directly affects individuals, families, and communities around the globe.
If you wish to receive Global Waters on a regular basis, I encourage you to subscribe today, and to share this with your colleagues and partners who may find this of interest. You can do so by clicking on this link, where you will find the full newsletter and subscription details. I hope you will take time to peruse Global Waters and continue to help us build public support and understanding for these critical development challenges.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
According to a recent story on NPR's Morning Edition, California has recently declared one of the most ambitious targets for renewable energy in the world - 1/3rd of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. (Sadly, Georgia has no currently goal. No Southeastern state has, except North Carolina.) However, like Cape Wind, struggles continue over siting renewable energy projects - like this solar project proposed in Central California.
However, according to a recent story in The New York Times, there are places where the siting of solar projects is popular with pretty much everybody - on abandoned agricultural land.
Thousands of acres of farmland here in the San Joaquin Valley have been removed from agricultural production, largely because the once fertile land is contaminated by salt buildup from years of irrigation.
But large swaths of those dry fields could have a valuable new use in their future — making electricity.
Farmers and officials at Westlands Water District, a public agency that supplies water to farms in the valley, have agreed to provide land for what would be one of the world’s largest solar energy complexes, to be built on 30,000 acres. At peak output, the proposed Westlands Solar Park would generate as much electricity as several big nuclear power plants.
It's interesting that one environmental problem - saltwater intrusion from overpumping of the coastal aquafers - might contribute to another environmental solution - reduction of dependence on coal-fired power plants. Anyway, it's nice to see a non-controversial renewable energy project, for a change.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Monday, August 16, 2010
Property issues arise in interconnected physical, social, and legal environments. All indications point to interconnections that are complex, far-reaching in scope, multi-scalar, dynamic, and nonlinear. Property institutions must adapt to these complexities and changing conditions. However, it has become apparent that the patterns and practices of our uses of land, water, and the environment are unsustainable ecologically and socially. While both legal and socio-cultural understandings of property are evolving, they remain hampered by the supposedly wealth-maximizing and production-maximizing concept that property is a bundle of rights, often based in a mental image of a “bundle of sticks,” with each stick in the bundle representing a different right or entitlement. An alternative concept of property is that property is a “web of interests,” in which property interests are defined by the particular characteristics of the object of the property (including natural features and environmental carrying capacity) and by the interconnected relationships that people, entities, and institutions form with respect to the particular object. This chapter discusses how the web of interests concept might facilitate a more ecologically and socially sustainable definition of property interests amid the realities of the interconnected environments in which property issues arise. The chapter gives particular attention to issues of land and water, and explores the implications of sustainable webs of interest in water.I still rely heavily on the bundle-of-sticks metaphor for teaching, but I'm coming around to Tony's web-of-interests conceptualization. Looks like a fascinating piece.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Reed D. Benson (New Mexico) has posted New Adventures of the Old Bureau: Modern-Day Reclamation Statutes and Congress' Unfinished Environmental Business, forthcoming in Harvard Journal on Legislation. The abstract:
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
From Oliver Houck:
We will be preparing a series of background lectures on the BP blowout this fall at Tulane Law School, covering basic tech, engineering, science, law and policy issues. They will set a stage for several courses on BP-related issues (environmental, admiralty, energy…), and for research projects for students interested in participating for credit. The lectures may be of interest to you and your students as well, and we will set up a system to “stream” these lectures live to other schools, as you may wish (unfortunately, we cannot do Q and A with you from this classroom). We will also be happy to share ideas for related research topics, if and as you wish.The program, subject to changes but at this point firm, is reflected in the notice that follows:
THE BP OIL SPILL LECTURE SERIES
TULANE LAW SCHOOL
OPEN TO ALL STUDENTS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC
The purpose of this series is to provide background on technical, scientific and policy aspects of the BP blowout, including deep water drilling; the blowout; the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem; oil, water and cleanup; containment responses; biological impacts; community impacts; legal issues; and policy implications beyond BP. The lectures (with Q and A following) will take place in room 110 of the law school, 6329 Freret Street, New Orleans, on Monday afternoons, from 4 – 5:15 pm, with exceptions noted. While Tulane law students may participate in this series for academic credit with the satisfactory completion of additional work, it is intended equally for all students and the interested general public. There is, of course, no admission. For further inquiry, please contact Professor Houck at email@example.com (after August 5) or Forest Wootten, 2L, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
We don't do a whole lot of fish-blogging over here, because, well, it is the Land Use Prof Blog. But land use law and practice is becoming more and more entwined with water, wetlands, environmental, and ecosystem law and policy at all levels. So some of you might be interested to hear about the impending Carp-Pocalypse: The Great Asian Carp Invasion Begins? from Time.
There's an underwater war underway in the Midwest – an offensive to keep the ravenous Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes. On Wednesday, it became clear: The carp are winning.
Late Wednesday night, the Associated Press reported that federal officials have, for the first time ever, discovered a carp swimming beyond the multiple electric barriers that were erected along the Chicago waterways to keep the fish out of the Great Lakes system. A 20-pound bighead carp was caught by a fisherman in Illinois's Lake Calumet, on the South Side of Chicago.
That's beyond the electric fence, and only six miles from Lake Michigan.
For decades, the carp have been making their way up the Mississippi, and then through Illinois rivers and canals that form an artificial link between the Mississippi Basin and the Great Lakes. The problems with this migration stem from the fact that the carp can grow into 4-foot-long, 100-pound monsters who devour 40 percent of their body weight daily. They destroy ecosystems by gorging themselves, and starving out other species.
I've always been interested in the history of canals, commerce, and the human endeavor to connect watersheds across the continent, but it seems there were some unintended downsides.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Earlier this month I was in Baltimore for the AALS Clinicians' Conference. The conference itself was a really fantastic opportunity to learn and be with my fellow clinicians. This year the setting was also quite spectacular - we were at the Renaissance Hotel right in the Inner Harbor.
While walking in the area I've happened upon a little gem, previously unknown to me. The Baltimore Public Works Museum is a fantastic historic building that is still part of the city's water and sewer system. Unfortunately the museum is currently closed to the public, due to budget cuts. I hope to visit it on a future trip to Baltimore, because I'm sure it's quite fascinating (at least to a land use geek like me).
Jamie Baker Roskie
Monday, May 17, 2010