Environmental History

Norris C. Hundley, Jr., 1935-2013

Environmental scholarship has lost a real giant: Norris Cecil Hundley Jr., a former resident of Pacific Palisades, passed away peacefully on April 28. He was 77.  Born to Norris and Helen Hundley on October 26, 1935 in Houston, Texas, Norris is survived by six younger siblings… Norris graduated from Whittier College in 1958. After receiving his Ph.D. …

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“The Devil’s Excrement”

That was the phrase used in 1975 by OPEC co-founder and Venezuelan Oil Minister Juan Perez Alfonso to describe crude oil: Perez predicted that it would bring wealth, but also ruin.  Fortunately for the rest of us, the Organization of American Historians has devoted the most recent issue of the Journal of American History to pursue its …

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On This Date in History

Exactly forty-two years ago, President Richard M. Nixon signed the National Environmental Quality Act into law on January 1, 1970.  Among other remarks, he had this to say: [A] major goal, when you talk about New Year’s resolutions, I wouldn’t say for the next year but for the next 10 years–and I don’t mean that …

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The First Federal Environmental Law Decision

Of course, it’s a bit arbitrary to pick one case as the first environmental law decision.  Many people would probably name the Scenic Hudson opinion, but my nominee would be a decision many decades earlier: Woodruff v. North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Co., 18 F. 753 (C.C.Cal. 1884).  What makes it reasonable to call this the …

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When We Found the Right Words

It’s hard to talk about something if you don’t have the right words to designate it easily.  So it’s interesting to look for the first appearance for some of the key words in the legal literature.  Presumably, this words were in non-legal use a bit earlier, but their first use in law reviews tells us …

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Call for Nominations: The Five Best Environmental Presidents

About three months ago, my friend Michael Cohen wrote a piece for the Atlantic arguing who were the five best and worst foreign policy presidents of the last century.  It got a good bit of well-deserved play in the blogosphere. So what if we tried to do it for environmental policy? The immediate problem is that environmental …

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Remembering Rachel Carson

Earth Day seems an appropriate time to recall past leaders in environmental thought.  Few have played a greater role in the development of U.S. environmental law than Rachel Carson (1907-1964), whose books did much to spark the environmental movement.  It is good to hear that her books have been reprinted as ebooks by Open Road …

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