Online Articles

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?

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve: An Underappreciated National Security Asset

November 5, 2018 by Rebecca Strauss Energy Fossil Fuels International

By Alex D. Pappas, Staff Contributor

Proposals to reform an emergency storage repository for crude oil known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (“SPR”) abound as President Trump and lawmakers react to changing oil market dynamics. As the policy goals and technical utilization of the SPR are evaluated, policymakers could benefit from additional assessment of the costs and benefits of SPR modifications that could imperil an essential national security asset.

Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

Houston at a Crossroads: Land Use Post-Harvey

October 17, 2018 by Samuel Ruddy Climate change State and Local

By Cecilia Turchetti, Staff Contributor

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Houston has continued to develop at an incredible rate. Historically, the city and its residents have strongly opposed zoning, but development in floodplains has sparked a debate about how expansion should look for the booming city. How can Houston continue to grow while ensuring the safety of its residents?

Cars in traffic on a highway near a body of water

Revisiting Criminal Culpability Under the Clean Air Act in the Wake of ‘Dieselgate’

October 9, 2018 by Alexander Pappas Air Fossil Fuels

By Spencer Shweky, staff contributor.

It has now been just over 3 years since the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) first informed the public that Volkswagen, at the time the world's largest automaker, had installed ‘cheat devices’ designed to evade U.S. regulators in hundreds of thousands of their cars. Ultimately, the automaker paid a $2.8 billion criminal fine, and 9 executives and employees were charged with violating the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) and Title 18 of the United States code (the main criminal code of the federal government). Interestingly, though, no one was actually held criminally liable for the pollution itself.

Valley of the Gods, which is excluded under the Trump Administration's new monument boundaries, has been used as various locations in film and television throughout the years, including two appearances in BBC's Doctor Who.

Up for Grabs – The State of Fossils Protection in (Recently) Unprotected National Monuments

October 5, 2018 by bcf27 Natural Resources Online Supplemental Article

By Professor John C. Ruple, Michael Henderson, and Caitlin Ceci*

In this exclusive online article, Professor John C. Ruple, a Research Professor of Law and Wallace Stegner Center Fellow at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, explains why plant and invertebrate fossils on land excluded from Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante national monuments now receive less protection under the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act and National Landscape Conservation System Act. Without national monument protections, will these valuable segments of the fossil record be forever lost to the public and to scientific study?

A spotted gopher frog sitting on a a dried patch of grass

The Spotted Gopher Frog: A Supreme Court Reflection

October 5, 2018 by De Vann Sago Endangered Species Wildlife

By Rebecca Strauss, Staff Contributor.

The Supreme Court opened the 2018 term with a case on the Endangered Species Act, focusing on the dusky gopher frog. With only eight sitting justices, what are the Court's options?

Birmingham Bribery Trial Ends, but Who Should Pay for the 35th Avenue Superfund Site?

October 4, 2018 by mjb443

By Jie Yang, staff contributor.

Over the summer, a big firm lawyer and a coke company’s senior executive were both convicted of bribing a former state legislator in order to prevent the EPA from listing the 35th Avenue Superfund Site located in north Birmingham, Alabama on the National Priorities List. How did this corruption happen, and what were the underlying causes?

Protestors march in downtown San Francisco ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit.

The Global Climate Action Summit: What happened, who protested, and why?

September 23, 2018 by Georgetown Environmental Law Review

By Lauren Phillips, Online Managing Editor

The 2018 Global Climate Action Summit brought thousands of people to San Francisco last week to announce commitments to fighting climate change. Outside the summit, however, protestors demanded that leaders set more ambitious goals. What happened inside and outside the summit, and did it represent a meaningful step to fighting climate change?