Online Articles

To Close or Not to Close: National Parks in the Face of Government Shutdowns

January 24, 2019 by Sang Koo

By Sylvie Yudin, Staff Contributor

Government shutdowns can have drastic effects on National Parks. It is up the administration under which the shutdown is occurring to decide whether or not to permit National Parks to remain open, and this decision can have lasting consequences on the environmental sanctity of the Parks.

Litigating the Alleged Carcinogenicity of Glyphosate in Monsanto’s Roundup: The Fairness (and Unfairness) of Deciding Causation Independent of Liability

January 17, 2019 by mjb443 Chemicals Litigation

By Leora Friedman, Staff Contributor.

The Northern District of California readies to hear the U.S.’s first federal test case regarding the carcinogenicity of Monsanto’s glyphosate-containing herbicide, Roundup. Controversially, in early January 2019, Judge Chhabria granted Monsanto’s request for bifurcation—agreeing first to litigate glyphosate’s causation to the plaintiff’s cancer and, only afterward, allowing evidence of Monsanto’s alleged efforts to sway agency positions on glyphosate. But can the reliability of scientific studies be determined without considering the institutions that may have housed and/or nurtured them?

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.