Oceans

Coastal Communities Demand EPA Update Decades-Old Oil Spill Regulations

Written in Collaboration with Camila Gonzalez*

Coastal communities are bracing themselves. Thirty years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, and almost nine years after the BP Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, they are facing the threat of another catastrophic oil spill. The Trump Administration is paving the way. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will […]

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Guest Blogger Stephanie Oehler: California Legislators Propose Framework to Radically Reduce Plastic Waste

Volunteers participate in Friends of the Los Angeles River cleanup. Photo credit: Scott L, Flickr

Senate Bill 54 would phase out non-recyclable plastics and require more source reduction and recycling by 2030

California may soon pass new legislation that would tackle a major contributing factor to global plastic pollution – single-use plastic packaging and products. While experts continue to push for comprehensive federal legislation on plastic waste, California’s actions could have widespread benefits. State residents consume large quantities of plastics and California is often an early adopter […]

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Single-Use Plastics Need Comprehensive Federal Legislation

Less than 10 percent of the world’s plastic waste is recycled. Photo credit: Bo Eide, Flickr

Despite state and local action, more effective reduction of single-use plastics must come from Congress.

Editor’s note: this article was originally published in The Regulatory Review on February 13, 2019. Plastic pollution appears to be arising ever more frequently in the news. Companies like Starbucks have announced voluntary steps to rid their stores of plastic straws. China is wielding its “National Sword” policy, which places restrictions on the amount and type of plastic waste it […]

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Commemorating a Major Environmental Disaster–One With a Transformative Legacy

1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill Sparked the Beginning of America’s Modern Environmental Era

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 […]

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UCLA Environmental Law Clinic and Surfrider Foundation to Brief Congress on Marine Plastic Pollution Crisis

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, […]

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Will There Be a Global Environmental Constitution?

Global Pact for the Environment, draft cover

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  […]

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If You Can Buy a Coast, You Can Buy a Newspaper

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 […]

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Chesapeake

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 […]

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CRISPR Approaches to Environmental Problems

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 […]

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Plastics and our Future

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 […]

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