Online Articles

The Public Trust Doctrine: A Cracked Foundation

April 15, 2021 by Camilla Brandfield-Harvey Natural Resources Public Lands State and Local

By Myles Douglas Young, Administrative Editor

The utilization of the Public Trust Doctrine in litigations is often premised on its supposed ancient Roman pedigree. This article explores the origins of the doctrine and finds that, in fact, the ancient doctrine was quite different from the one we see in the United States today. What errors do scholars make, and what do those errors mean for the survival of the modern doctrine?

Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

We're Falling into a Ring of Fire: Taking Stock of Wildfire Liability Regimes from Varying Perspectives in the United States

March 31, 2021 by Drew Robertson Air Climate change Litigation Public Lands State and Local

By Alec Williams, Managing Editor

After a record-breaking wildfire season in 2020, lawsuits are likely to flood the dockets of federal and state courts across the United States. Wildfire liability determinations at either level can be complex, typically implicating many parties and exorbitant damage awards. However, in light of the projected impact of climate change on wildfire frequency and severity, such lawsuits may become increasingly commonplace.

Hand-made sign stating "Lead Keep Out." Photo by Steven Depolo, licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Flint Water Settlement and Implications of the Michigan Supreme Court’s Reaffirmation of State Constitutional Tort Claims

December 1, 2020 by Scott Fletcher State and Local Water

By: Alexander Collingsworth, Staff Contributor

Residents of Flint, Michigan will likely receive some compensation soon for the poisoning of their drinking water. In August, the state of Michigan settled claims against it and Michigan officials, including former Governor Rick Snyder, for $600 million. What are the implications of the Michigan Supreme Court decision that opened the way for this settlement? And how much money are individual residents likely to see?

Newsom addressing California's constituents about the purpose of his recent executive order, an effort by the State to mitigate the on-going consequences of climate change. Image by Daniel Kim/The Sacramento Bee.

California’s Ban on Gasoline-Powered Vehicles - Will it Take Effect?

October 20, 2020 by Alec Williams Air Climate change Fossil Fuels State and Local

By Camden Douglas, Staff Contributor

On September 23, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newson issued an executive order[1] that is expected to reduce the impact of climate change by drastically transforming the State's transportation industry. California experiences many unique climate change-related problems. For instance, as a result of climate change, the duration of California's wildfire season has more than doubled since 1980.[2] Indeed, this year, California is experiencing a record-breaking burn,[3] with wildfires scorching millions of acres of land.[4] The executive order, in an attempt to attenuate some of these climate change-related impacts on the State, requires all new passenger vehicles sold in California to be zero-emission by 2035, effectively banning the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles in just fifteen years.[5]

A National Problem with No National Solution

February 26, 2020 by Sara Douki Energy Fossil Fuels Natural Resources Oil and Gas Renewable Energy State and Local Water

Gabriel Dowdell, Staff Contributor
Should the EPA regulate fracking more heavily? Currently, states that benefit financially from fracking regulate the industry.

Polluted Lagoon

Too Big on the Pig: America’s Taste for Pork Comes with Costs

March 18, 2019 by Alexander Pappas State and Local Water

By Catherine Schluter, Staff Contributor

Pork is a big part of the American diet, but pig farming has serious environmental and human health consequences. North Carolina is one of the biggest pork producers in the country, but its state legislature, like many other states, is putting pork profits over sufficient protections.

An image of the coast

(Sea) Walling Off the Beach: The Future of California’s Coastal Commons Remains Contested

November 15, 2018 by De Vann Sago Climate change Public Lands State and Local Water

By Ryan Levandowski, Staff Contributor. As rising sea levels threaten California’s coast, the state’s characteristic beaches have become a battleground for homeowners, cities, and state regulatory agencies. Because coastal adaptation policies often pit preservation of public beaches against private property rights, recent litigation over the issue has posed a difficult question for courts: Who should (literally) give ground?