Water

From the Grand Canyon to Contaminated Cantaloupes – and More

Five books with fresh perspectives on environmental issues.

Law reviews make little effort to track new books, unlike other journals in other disciplines . So it’s pretty much hit-or-miss whether you learn about relevant new books.  I wanted to share some interesting finds that have crossed my desk, joined a growing pile of unread books, and then slowly left the pile. The subjects …

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Substantive Due Process, Climate Change, and Flint, Michigan

Toward substantive constitutional protections for the environment

The past few weeks have been eventful for environmental issues and constitutional law. On January 17th, a panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Juliana v. United States climate litigation for lack of standing. A few days later, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari on a ruling from the Sixth Circuit, Guertin …

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Dark Waters in Dark Times

Citizen Petition Presses EPA To Call Chemicals in Environmental Docudrama “Hazardous Waste”

This holiday season, A-list actors drew moviegoers to a film with a distinctly un-Hollywood plot line:  A company dumps thousands of pounds of toxic, long-lived chemicals (PFAS, or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) into unlined pits that drain into a farming community’s drinking water.  Local residents fall ill, some terminally.  A heroic attorney (Mark Ruffalo) represents them …

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A Continent on Fire Ignores Climate Change

Conditions in Australia keep getting worse. The government offers platitudes.

Australia is remarkably exposed to climate change and remarkably unwilling to do much about it. Conditions keep getting worse. Yet climate policy in Australia has been treading water or backpedalling for years, as I discussed in an earlier post. Let’s start with the temperature.  The Guardian reports that in the year up to July 2019, …

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Revolt of the Captive Scientists

Trump’s Scientific Advisory Board Slams Proposed EPA Rules

Trump has appointed  most of the members of EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), many of them selected from industry. That effort to stack SAB in favor of deregulation apparently wasn’t a complete success. In draft reports issued this week, the SAB scathingly criticized those efforts and even went so far as to give a nod …

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Bless the Rains Down in Los Angeles

As a wet winter approaches, Los Angeles County focuses on initiatives to capture rainwater and reduce ocean runoff

(Note: I previously wrote a law review article published in 2016 in the Villanova Environmental Law Journal, accessible here, about related policy suggestions for improving rainwater capture in reference to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.) If you live in California, or have been in the state over the last couple weeks, you’ll know that we …

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Holmes, Brandeis, and the ‘Great Ponds’ Debate

Some issues are perennial, like property rights v. public rights in water.

I suppose most of you, like me, have never heard of the Watuppa Ponds.  But in 1888, a battle broke out over the legality of their use to supply drinking water for a nearby city.  The issue closely divided Massachusetts’s highest court, and led to a heated debate in the recently launched  Harvard Law Review …

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Environmental Law Centers — Western version

It’s not just on the coasts where law schools works on sustainability.

This is part of an occasional series on the work of environmental law centers. My goal in this series is to highlight one of the ways that law schools work for the public interest, not just on the coasts but throughout the country. Here, I’ll focus on the Interior West — the plains, mountains, and …

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It’s time the Safe Drinking Water Act got some respect

A new primer that makes the law accessible and teachable

I have been writing about drinking water issues for the past fifteen years and often been struck at how little attention the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) receives in our field. Passed just two years after the Clean Water Act, it gets scant or no coverage in environmental law casebooks and is rarely taught in …

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Why is Newsom vetoing SB 1?

Comparing the Governor’s statements with the text of the bill

The California legislature recently passed SB 1, which would translate into state law a range of federal environmental and worker safety standards that were in place before the inauguration of President Trump to protect against federal roll backs in those areas.  However, Governor Newsom has indicated he will veto SB 1, on the grounds that …

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