Biodiversity & Species

Could FDA’s Approval of GMO Salmon Actually Be Good for the Environment?

AquaFresh salmon

Farmed GMO fish could help reduce pressures on wild stocks.

FDA has — after more than two decades of consideration — approved the marketing of genetically modified salmon in the U.S.  As the NY Times reports, this decision has had push-back from the quarters you might expect . Says one critic:  “This unfortunate, historic decision disregards the vast majority of consumers, many independent scientists, numerous members […]

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Attack of the Killer Blob


A weird patch of warm weather is killing sea lions and poisoning crabs.

There’s a weird area of warm water, which has come to be known as the Blob, sitting offshore of the West Coast.  That doesn’t sound too significant, except perhaps in terms of making things more pleasant for swimmers.  But actually, it’s causing a whole cascade of impacts on wildlife and humans. As the Chronicle explains: “The […]

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Recreational marijuana legalization in California

Will a proposed ballot initiative on recreational marijuana legalization in California help the environment

In the wake of the enactment by the legislature of a regulatory structure for medical marijuana, it looks like voters in 2016 will probably be able to decide whether to legalize recreational use as well. Leading advocates for legalization of recreational marijuana have submitted a language for a ballot initiative to the California Secretary of […]

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California and Other Western States See Barriers to Protecting Streams

By National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A new report highlights twelve western states' efforts to restore stream flows using environmental water transfers

Unnaturally low flows in rivers and streams throughout the western United States have threatened fish and other aquatic species for decades. But restoring flows has proved a significant and complex challenge. A recent report prepared for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation by Stanford University’s Water in the West Program documents twelve western states’ efforts […]

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Mixed results in CA medical marijuana legislation

New state law to regulate medical marijuana makes important environmental progress, still much to be done

California is moving towards marijuana legalization. This is a good and important thing for a whole host of reasons, but one important reason is the environmental impact of unregulated and illegal marijuana cultivation on the environment – something that has been discussed both in the news and here on Legal Planet. Those impacts include diversion […]

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Could a Riparian Conservation Network increase the ecological resilience of public lands?


A new article suggests river corridors could leverage existing policies to build habitat connectivity

As we try to protect biological diversity for the future, a perpetual challenge is ensuring that the strategies we adopt today will continue to work in the face of changing conditions. How can we design conservation approaches that will be resilient in the face of environmental challenges that will only become more severe in coming years? […]

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Yogi Berra Explains the Mono Lake Case

Yogi Berra

Or -- Timing Is Everything

As part of the book I am writing on the Mono Lake case, one question stands out: how was the Mono Lake Committee able to assemble the resources to bring a lawsuit against the powerful Los Angeles Department of Water and Power? At one level, the answer is obvious: it found a Sugar Daddy, in […]

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The Brazilian Deforestation Puzzle

La concesion de Dona Felicitas

Deforestation went down for a decade. Now it's going up. The reasons aren't clear.

Brazil’s rate of deforestation went down dramatically over the last ten years. It’s not completely clear why that’s happened. The trend now seems to be reversing (or at least encountering an upward blip). But it’s not clear why that’s happening either. I wish I had a clear explanation to give you. A big part of […]

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Los Angeles Releases First-Ever Urban Sustainability “pLAn”


Envisioning greener energy, cleaner air, and reduced consumption in LA by 2035

Perhaps no metropolis is better positioned than Los Angeles to pioneer ground-breaking environmental initiatives. As the second-largest U.S. city, and with the country’s largest municipally owned utility, a world-class research university–UCLA, and the blessings of abundant sunshine and a temperate Mediterranean climate, Los Angeles could serve as a global model for urban sustainability. Today, the […]

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It’s a Wonderful Law?


A thought experiment about the role of the ESA in California water management

[This post is co-authored by A. Dan Tarlock, Distguished Professor of Law, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.] Remember the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which shows up on TV every year at Christmas season? In it George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, gets a great gift from Clarence, an angel-in-training who intervenes as George is […]

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