Thursday, April 10, 2014
Energy use and renewable energy development is very much a land use issue. Here is the second conference announcement I have for you!
Proposals Due: Monday, April 21, 2014
On Friday, November 7, 2014, the University of San Diego School of Law will host its Sixth Annual Climate & Energy Law Symposium.
You are invited to submit a title and abstract of an article that you can present at the symposium and publish in the sixth volume of the San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law. If we select your proposal, the university will pay for all travel expenses to and from the symposium. You must submit your completed article to the journal’s editors by Monday, December 8, 2014, for consideration in the journal's sixth volume. View agendas and webcasts of past symposia online.
Theme for 2014 Climate & EnErgy Law Symposium
The theme for the 2014 Climate & Energy Law Symposium is "Innovative Regulatory and Business Models in a Changing Electric Industry."
Regulatory frameworks and business models for electric utilities developed decades ago, and the fundamentals of the landscape are changing. Public policy, technological, and economic shifts are undermining the logic of the current system. Policies to encourage energy efficiency, increase renewable energy production, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions are changing the context in which the industry operates. Technological innovations, including distributed photovoltaics, smart meters, and energy storage are enabling customers to understand and control their energy needs. Slower economic growth, increased efficiency, and more distributed generation are contributing to slower load growth. The confluence of these factors presents challenges and opportunities for the electric industry
Academic and policy experts will analyze and assess three aspects of this complex issue:
- Regulatory Changes
- Utility Business Models
- Market Structures
All article proposals related to these broad issues in climate and energy law are welcome. It is not necessary for an article to focus specifically on California law and policy. If you are interested in participating, please submit the following materials to Zachary Flati, editor-in-chief of the San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law, at email@example.com:
- The proposed title of your article and a brief 300-word abstract
- Your CV
- Written acknowledgement that you will attend the symposium on Friday, November 7, 2014, and submit a complete draft of your article to the San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law by Monday, December 8, 2014.
Please submit your proposal by Monday, April 21, 2014.
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
The AALS Section on Natural Resources and Energy Law is seeking proposals for its first energy-focused program: "Seismic Shifts in Energy; The Repercussions of Local Solar and Distributed Generation."
As part of our effort to be inclusive, the section is Calling for Proposals from anyone who would like to present on this topic at the AALS Annual Meeting, January 2-6, 2015.
If you are interested in participating in this program, please submit a one-page proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00 p.m. MDT on Monday, April 14, 2014.
Please put "AALS Prospective Proposal" in the subject line and make sure that you receive an email response acknowledging receipt of your proposal.
The executive officers will choose 2 or 3 of these proposals for presentation at the annual program. The AALS requires that all presenters pay their own registration, transportation, food, and lodging expenses, so please do not submit a proposal unless you can commit to being present in Washington, D.C.
The Environmental Law Reporter has kindly agreed to give all presenters the option of publishing any articles written in conjunction with the program.
Climate change poses a challenge for maintaining the stable entitlements that are basic to property law. Yet property rights can also serve as aids to climate adaptation. This essay, which was initially delivered as the Wolf Family Lecture on the American Law at the University of Florida, explores both aspects of the property/climate-change relationship. The first part of the article discusses takings issues that may arise in connection with sea level rise. The second part of the article discusses the constructive role that transferrable development rights and the public trust doctrine could play in climate adaptation, including their role in limiting takings claims.
A web video of the Lecture is available here.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Nancy McLaughlin (Utah) has posted Perpetual Conservation Easements in the 21st Century: What Have We Learned and Where Should We Go from Here?, 2013 Utah L. Rev. 687. Here's the abstract:
April 8, 2014 in Agriculture, Conservation Easements, Environmental Law, Environmentalism, Federal Government, Historic Preservation, Scholarship, Servitudes | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Monday, April 7, 2014
Community Law Center, Inc. and University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law are hosting the 2014 Urban Agriculture Law Conference on September 19, 2014 in Baltimore to share information and best practices in urban agriculture laws, policies and practices across the country. We are currently accepting proposals for conference papers, presentations, and workshops. Click here for the Call for Papers and Presentations. To download the application, you need to click here.
Located in the heart of Baltimore, the 2014 Urban Agriculture Law Conference will bring together national and local leaders, legal practitioners, and scholars who are addressing the diverse roles of urban agriculture in the renewal of urban communities.
All proposals must be submitted by June 15, 2014. Community Law Center will notify all selected speakers by July 15, 2014 of their acceptance and time slot.
Sarah Schindler (Maine) has posted Unpermitted Urban Agriculture: Transgressive Actions, Changing Norms and the Local Food Movement, 2014 Wisc. L. Rev __ (forthcoming). Just in time for the finalizing of my presentation on unauthorized vacant property use for next month's ALPS conference (in Vancouver!). Here's the abstract:
It is becoming more common in many urban and suburban areas to see chickens in backyards, vegetable gardens growing on vacant, forclosed-upon, bank-owned property, and pop-up restaurants operating out of retail or industrial spaces. The common thread tying all of these actions together is that they are unauthorized; they are being undertaken in violation of existing laws, and often norms. In this essay, I explore ideas surrounding the overlap between food policy and land use law, and specifically the transgressive actions that people living in urban and suburban communities are undertaking in order to further their local food-related goals. I assert that while governmental and societal acceptance and normalization of currently illegal local food actions is likely needed for the broader goals of the local food movement to succeed, there are some limited benefits to the currently unauthorized nature of these activities. These include transgression serving as a catalyst for change and as an enticement to participate.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
The Idaho Law Review symposium, Resilient Cities: Environment | Economy | Equity, will be live-streamed all day on Friday, April 4. Check out the live-stream here. You can also join into the conversation by entering questions into the chat function next to the live-stream video. A student will be watching for questions and we will try to integrate them into the live discussion, as possible.
The schedule is below with all times Mountain.
|8:00 – 8:30||Registration and Continental Breakfast
|8:30 – 9:00||Introduction and Welcome Symposium Introduction: Alexandra Grande; Tori Osler (ILR symposium student editors) Welcome: David Bieter (Mayor, City of Boise) Dean's Welcome: Michael Satz (Idaho)|
|9:00 – 10:30||
Disaster, Destruction, and Resilient Cities Moderator: Dale Goble (Idaho) Kellen Zale (University of Houston Law Center) – Urban Resiliency and the Right to Destroy John Travis Marshall and Ryan Rowberry (Georgia State) – Urban Wreckage and Resiliency: Articulating a Practical Framework for Preserving, Reconstructing, and Building Cities Andrea McArdle (CUNY) – Imagining A Resilient New York After Superstorm Sandy
|10:45 – 12:00||Social Aspects of Resilient Cities Moderator: Anastasia Telesetsky (Idaho) Palma Strand (Creighton) – Increasing City-System Resilience by Cultivating Civic Social Networks Melissa Berry (University of Missouri) – Thinking Like a City: Grounding Social-Ecological Resilience in an Urban Land Ethic|
|12:00 – 1:30||Lunch with Keynote Moderator: Barbara Cosens Ken Alex (California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research) – 20-30 minute presentation|
|1:30 – 1:45||Break|
|1:45 – 3:15||Resiliency, Equity, and Economy Moderator: Jerrold Long Christopher Odinet (Southern University Law Center) – Fairness, Equity, and a Level Playing Field: Land-use Goals for the Resilient City Jeff Litwak (Columbia River Gorge Commission) – Implementing Resiliency: Urban Services Without Borders Jon Rosenbloom (Drake) – Funding Resiliency|
|3:15 – 3:30||Break|
|3:30 – 5:00||Resiliency and Planning for City Growth Moderator: Stephen Miller Tom Bergin (Blaine County Land Use & Building Services) and Tom Wuerzer (Department of Community and Regional Planning Boise State University) – Fire Resilience Policy and Planning at the Wildland-Urban Interface: Impressions from Idaho Keith Hirokawa (Albany) – Planning for Scarcity: Enabling Resilient Urban Water Planning Through Eco System Services|
|5:00 – 5:15||Concluding Remarks|
|5:15 – 6:15||Reception|
April 10: Mary Christina Wood delivers Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law
An invitation from Tony Arnold (Louisville):
You might be interested that our colleague, Mary Christina Wood, Philip H. Knight Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center at the University of Oregon, will give the Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law on Thursday, April 10, at 6:00 p.m. in Room 275. The title of her Lecture is "The Public Trust Doctrine: Our Inherent and Inalienable Property Right." The Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy is given annually by a prominent scholar and is funded by the Boehl Chair in Property and Land Use, the Kentucky Challenge Research Trust Fund, and the Center for Land Use and Environmental Responsibility. If you are in the Louisville area next Thursday, perhaps doing some early scouting for your Kentucky Derby seats, please stop by and hear a great lecture by Mims. We would love to host you.
All the best,
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Potential tax deductions are one of the driving forces behind creation of conservation easements. The exact contours of the tax deduction (how much can you deduct and over how many years can you stretch your donation) has varied over the years. For the past several years, the deductions have been particularly generous.
Under standard law, individuals can deduct the value of the donated property up to 30 percent of their adjusted gross income, and any excess value can be carried forward for 5 years. But in 2006, Congress passed the enhanced landowner incentive. It allows deductions up 50 percent of donors’ adjusted gross income and over a 15-year carry-forward period. That incentive ended this past December. The consistent support of this tax deduction by Congress led many to people the enhanced version would be extended without struggle.
Perhaps not. The most recent tax-extension proposal from the Senate Finance Committee does not extend the enhanced tax deduction for conservation easements. Russ Shay at the Land Trust Alliance has hypothesized that the bill drafters may want to change the nature of the deduction, but are still likely to keep the enhanced deduction available to some extent. In particular, this might appear an attractive opportunity to remove deductions for conservation easements over golf courses, something both parties (and the IRS) have indicated their support for. Others suggest that a better approach would be to craft legislation making the enhanced deduction permanent so it does not require periodic extensions.
The cover article for the April, 2014 edition of the Harvard Business Review is entitled, "Resilience in a Hotter World." It provides a fascinating look at how climate change will redefine corporate strategy. It is an interesting market perspective for those of us who may spend a lot of time thinking about resilience from a regulatory perspective. Here is an excerpt from the article intro:
It's impossible to pin any one weather event on climate change, but the scientific consensus is that as the planet gets hotter, the frequency and severity of destructive weather will only increase. Along with -- and often because of -- these weather patterns, we're seeing increases in the prices of most commodities that business and society rely on. This is a sharp reversal of the trend toward lower prices that occurred during the past century. (See the exhibit "Soaring Commodity Prices.") Major storms, droughts, and floods are cutting the supply of some renewable commodities, such as crops and clean water. Nonrenewable resources, such as oil and some metals, are also becoming scarcer. The world won't run out of them immediately, but easily obtained, cheaper stores of them are dwindling. Meanwhile, growing populations and new wealth, particularly in China, are driving up demand for all commodities. This recently happened with cotton. As a consequence, prices for it rose 300% over one two-year period, forcing apparel makers and retailers to choose between passing along the costs to consumers, which would reduce sales, or keeping prices steady and taking a direct hit to margins.
Though companies today face many global-scale challenges -- from destabilizing demographic shifts to the threat of financial system collapse -- extreme weather caused by climate change and increasing limits on resources are both having an unprecedented impact, threatening corporate profits and global prosperity. These "megachallenges" will require companies to fundamentally rethink their strategies and tactics.
The article cannot be linked because its Internet version is behind a paywall; however, it is available at newsstands and also to most academics through online e-libraries.
Stephen R. Miller
Friday, September 26, 2014
Pace Law School, White Plains, New York
Designed for Visiting Assistant Professors, Fellows, Researchers, Law Clerks, Practitioners and others who are, or plan to go on, the academic teaching market in the areas of environmental law, natural resources law, food and agricultural law, animal law, energy law, land use planning, and/or ocean and coastal resources law.
Receive advice on the environmental law teaching market
Obtain an insider’s view of the appointments process from faculty with extensive hiring experience
Learn about the history and future of environmental law in law schools
Participate in a mock AALS interview and gain feedback from environmental law professors
Present your work to future colleagues in the environmental law academy
Hear a Keynote Address by Harvard Law Professor Richard Lazarus about current issues in environmental law
Register by clicking here. There is no cost to register. Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging.
9:30am: Introductory Remarks by Professor Jason Czarnezki (Pace) & Continental Breakfast
10:00-11:00am: Panel Discussion with Professors Dave Owen (Maine), Sharon Jacobs (Colorado), David Cassuto (Pace) and Andrew Lund (Pace) —“How To Be Successful on the Environmental Law Professor Job Market”
11:00am-Noon: Mock Interviews
Noon: Keynote Lunch Address by Professor Richard Lazarus (Harvard)
Afternoon: Job Talk Presentations with feedback provided (A selected number of participants will be asked to present their job talks)
Evening: Cocktail Reception and Dinner
Travel and Lodging Information: A block of hotel rooms for both Thursday and Friday nights has been reserved at the Crowne Plaza, White Plains, NY. Directions and travel information can be found at http://www.law.pace.edu/directions.
For further information, please contact Professor Jason Czarnezki at email@example.com
Confirmed Current Law Professors Scheduled to Attend as of March 2014:
Rebecca Bratspies (CUNY)
David Cassuto (Pace)
Jason Czarnezki (Pace)
Michael Gerrard (Columbia)
Sharon Jacobs (Colorado)
Katrina Kuh (Hofstra)
Richard Lazarus (Harvard)
Andrew Lund (Pace)
Richard Ottinger (Pace)
Dave Owen (Maine)
Ann Powers (Pace)
Some conservation easements in Michigan have been the subject of dispute for over 20 years. In 1992 and 1993, the Glasses donated conservation easements to the Little Traverse Conversancy to protect the shore of Lake Michigan. Charles and Susan Glass then sought a tax deduction for these donations. The IRS was skeptical. These were two conservation easements over a 10-acre parcel and the real conservation value of them seemed seems questionable.
The IRS challenged the Glass’ contention that the conservation easements should qualify for a deduction under § 170(h)(1). Specifically, the IRS felt that the conservation easements did not meet the requirement of being “exclusively for conservation purposes.” The Tax Court disagreed with the IRS holding that the conservation easements qualified because they protected a relatively natural habitat or plant or wildlife (§ 170(h)(4)(A)(ii)) and because the Conservancy had to hold the conservation easements exclusively for conservation purposes (§ 170(h)(5). [Yes there are days when I wish I had taken Tax.] The 6th Circuit upheld the tax court's ruling.
Despite these rulings of the Tax Court and the 6th Circuit, the conservation easements in this case appear to be of questionable value. One of the conservation easements (from 1990) is for a greenbelt along a state scenic highway. The other two conservation easements prohibit development along the lakefront. The parcels they encumber are small, the area would be hard to develop, and development would likely be undesirable. These are plots with vacation homes along the shore of Lake Michigan that are bordered by a bluff. Some parcels in the area however have larger homes and the Conservancy saw a need to seek out and protect shoreline parcels. The proceedings regarding the conservation value of these conservation easements illuminated some inconsistencies in the deeds and questionable appraisals of the value of the conservation easements. The litigation described above indicated that the appraised value of the conservation easements ($340,800) was too high, but it didn't resolve what the value should have been set at.
The Glasses ultimately acknowledged that the value had been assessed incorrectly and that therefore the Glasses had underpaid their federal income taxes. This left the Glasses with substantial tax debt and they looked for a way to make some money. Thus, the Glasses sought to sell the southern portion of their property to their neighbors (the Van Lokerens). Once the neighbors saw an accurate survey detailing the property lines and any servitudes, they decided they were no longer interested in purchasing just the southern portion but indicated that they might consider buying the entire 10 acres. The Glasses then listed just the southern parcel for sale.
The Van Lokerens then reached out to the Conservancy to complain that the proposed sale of just the southern parcel appeared to violate the conservation easements in place. The Glasses were then forced to withdraw the listing. Next, the Glasses developed a plan to subdivide the parcel into condos but keep the conservation easement areas in place to serve as common area. Again, the Van Lokerens complained to the Conservancy (notably Mary Ann Van Lokeren was a member of the Conservancy's Board). After attempts at amicable settlement with the Glasses, the Conservancy ended up suing the Glasses and seek reform of the conservation easements based on the theory that there had been a mutual mistake in the earlier conservation easement description. The Glasses counterclaimed arguing that the Conservancy (and the Van Lokerens) had engaged in some shady practices including “threatening meritless litigation.”
In unpublished decision, the Michigan Appellate Court found against the Glasses, explaining that the Conservancy was not out of line in seeking to ensure its conservation easement was complied with.
As the Glasses were foreclosed on and the parcel is now in other hands, it seems likely possible that we have reached the end of this saga.
Potentially of interest to some recent law grads or friends of recent law grads...
Research Project Description
Research Participation Program
Office of Sustainable Communities
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
A postgraduate research training fellowship is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Sustainable Communities (OSC) in Washington, DC. A major focus of this appointment will be supporting OSC through the development of new geospatial data, methodologies, and tools for analyzing the environmental outcomes of land use decisions and scenarios. This work will build the capacity of local, state, and federal governments for measuring the actual and anticipated benefits of pursuing smart growth strategies.
About EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities:
OSC works with federal agencies, including other parts of EPA, and state governments to develop policies, regulations, standards, guidelines, spending priorities, and provide technical assistance to programs and initiatives that help communities become stronger, healthier, more equitable, and more sustainable through smarter growth and green building. OSC works across EPA offices to develop EPA regulatory policy which can improve environmental quality by creating incentives and encouraging better economic development, land use, and building design/management approaches such as brownfields redevelopment, transit-oriented development, infill development, and energy and water efficient buildings. For more information go to epa.gov/smartgrowth.
DESCRIPTION OF RESPONSIBILITIES:
The research participant could be involved in one or more of the following activities.
- Reviewing and synthesizing research literature on the relationships between land use, transportation, environmental impacts, and fiscal outcomes – particularly with regards to its policy relevance and practical applications.
- Statistical and quantitative analysis of large geospatial datasets such as census, travel surveys, transit ridership, real estate, land use, and land cover.
- Assisting with the management of complex research studies, performance measurement, and mapping tool development activities.
- Using quantitative and geospatial analysis to evaluate the environmental, economic, and social outcomes of alternative land use scenarios.
- Communicating the results of research and analysis through reports, maps, visualizations, and information design.
- Pursuing and cultivating partnerships with other EPA offices, federal agencies, state and local governments, foundations, and nonprofits.
- Presentation of research and analysis results at conferences and to audiences of varied backgrounds.
For an example of OSC’s data and tool development work see epa.gov/smartgrowth/smartlocationdatabase.htm. The candidate will also have opportunities to meet with senior staff and managers within the Office in programmatic and/or informal, career-oriented discussions.
Applicants must have received a master’s or Ph.D. degree in geography, planning, environmental science, ecology, engineering, statistics, natural resources, environmental economics, or a related field within five years of the desired starting date, or have completed all degree requirements prior to the start date. The appointment is full-time for one year and may be renewed for up to three additional years upon recommendation of EPA and subject to availability of funds. Participant will receive a monthly stipend up to $XX,XXX per year. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. The participant does not become an EPA employee.
The program is open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, sex, religion, color, age, physical or mental disability, national origin, or status as a Vietnam era or disabled veteran. U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status is preferred (but can also hold an appropriate visa status, however, an H1B visa is not appropriate).
POINT OF CONTACT:
Adhir Kackar, Acting Director of Operations, OSC, firstname.lastname@example.org,
How to Apply:
The Research Participation Program for EPA is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. For additional information and application materials contact: Research Participation Program/ORD-EPA, Attn: Betty Bowling, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, P.O. Box 117, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-0117, Phone: (865) 576-8503 FAX: (865) 241-5219 e-mail:email@example.com.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
I hope you will all indulge me as I convert this blog to the Land Use and Conservation Easement Prof's blog for the next week or so, but the conservation easement world has just been jumping this past couple of months and I am finally finding time to sit down and write a series of posts about some of the developments.
As seems only natural on something as self-indulgent as a blog, I thought I would start with self-promotion. I have been thrilled to be part of a six-university research project about conservation easements for the past few years. As with many large-scale data-driven projects, it can take a while for some of the research to show up in print (well actually that is true with all my projects regardless of their size).
Our latest article is coming out in Conservation Letters (one of the peer-reviewed publications of the Society for Conservation Biology). Those of you with access to the journal can view an "accepted articles" version of the paper already. This version has not yet been type-set or formatted but the article is in the final version. We have received limited permission to post the piece on SSRN, so you can see a slightly earlier draft version there.
The article, entitled "Adapting Conservation Easements to Climate Change," discusses some of the struggles existing conservation easements (and conservation easement holders) face when addressing climate change. We draw upon a study of 269 conservation easements in 6 different states and over 70 interviews with conservation easement holders. Adena Rissman is the lead author.
Adena R. Rissman, Jessica Owley, M. Rebecca Shaw & Barton H. Thompson, Adapting Conservation Easements to Climate Change Conservation Letters, doi: 10.1111/conl.12099 (2014)
ABSTRACT: Perpetual conservation easements (CEs) are popular for restricting development and land use, but their fixed terms create challenges for adaptation to climate change. The increasing pace of environmental and social change demands adaptive conservation instruments. To examine the adaptive potential of CEs, we surveyed 269 CEs and interviewed 73 conservation organization employees. While only 2% of CEs mentioned climate change, the majority of employees were concerned about climate change impacts. CEs share the fixed-boundary limits typical of protected areas with additional adaptation constraints due to permanent, partial property rights. CEs often have multiple, potentially conflicting purposes that protect against termination but complicate decisions about principled, conservation-oriented adaptation. Monitoring is critical for shaping adaptive responses, but only 35% of CEs allowed organizations to conduct ecological monitoring. Additionally, CEs provided few requirements or incentives for active stewardship of private lands. We found four primary options for changing land use restrictions: CE amendment, management plan revisions, approval of changes through discretionary consent, and updating laws or policies codified in the CE. Conservation organizations, funders, and the IRS should promote processes for principled adaptation in CE terms, provide more active stewardship of CE lands, and consider alternatives to the CE tool.