This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most serious and consequential environmental disasters in American history–the Santa Barbara offshore oil spill of 1969. On January 28, 1969, an offshore oil rig (Platform A) owned and operated by the Union Oil Company and operating in federally-controlled waters in the Santa Barbara Channel off […]
The problem is big, but federal action could help.
Next week, I’ll be in Washington, D.C. with the Surfrider Foundation and two of our fabulous Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic students, Charoula Melliou and Divya Rao, to brief Congress on harms caused by marine plastic pollution and steps the federal government can take to combat the problem. Plastic pollution is a serious issue, […]
The potential of a proposed Global Pact for the Environment remains uncertain
The 1990s were the heyday of international environmental lawmaking. The 1992 United Nations “Rio Conference” on Environment and Development catalyzed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. The decade also witnessed the launch of the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent as well as protocols […]
Supreme Court’s California Coast Decision Will Be Back, No Matter What the Papers Say
High-fives, or at least, sighs of relief, from environmentalists this week, as the Supremes denied cert in Surfrider Foundation v. Martin’s Beach, a case where Sun Microsystems founder and multibillionaire Vinod Khosla challenged aspects of California’s Coastal Act. Article after article after editorial is celebrating this as a great victory for the environment and the […]
EPA needs to take a hand to keep the restoration plan on track. We’ll see how that goes soon.
The effort to restore Chesapeake Bay is something I knew vaguely about but had never looked into. A new on-line dashboard of relevant material inspired me to take a deeper dive. The restoration plan is definitely worth a closer look., It’s the U.S. leading effort to reduce“nonpoint source” water pollution such as agricultural runoff. It […]
Breakthroughs in gene editing might open the door to improved environmental protections. Or maybe not.
CRISPR is a breakthrough gene editing method. (I can’t refrain from noting that a key role in the discovery was played Jennifer Doudna at Berkeley.) There are potential risks from gene editing to the environment, similar to other types of GMOs. But there may be environmental benefits too. Here are a few that have been […]
How to turn off the plastics spout?
Kudos to National Geographic for its stunner of an issue on plastics and the environmental harms they cause. As this latest report and many other recent stories make clear, we are drowning in plastics. Bits of plastic have been found in beer, in major brands of bottled water, in 75% of deep sea fish, in […]
You can add sand to your list of global environmental crises.
You already know about the climate crisis, fisheries collapse, ocean acidification, and the biodiversity crisis. Now you can add a fifth one: the global sand crisis. The demand for sand is exploding due to burgeoning construction in China and other developing countries. The result: water bodies are being devastated by massive dredging operations. Lake Poyang […]
Longstanding Martins Beach Controversy May Well Capture Justices’ Attention
The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018-19 Term is already shaping up as a big one for environmental law in general and the longstanding tension between private property rights and environmental regulation in particular. The Court has already agreed to hear and decide two cases next Term raising the latter set of issues: one involves the question […]
New California State Lands Commission Public Access Guide Required Reading for Coastal Enthusiasts
California residents are passionate about their coastal and inland waterways–and especially their ability to access and enjoy these natural resources. It was concern over being “walled off from the coast” by private development that prompted California voters in 1972 to approve an initiative measure that created the California Coastal Commission and led to California’s Coastal […]