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Category Archives: Environmental Law

USGS Increases Public Access to Scientific Research

News release:  “The U.S. Geological Survey is implementing new measures that will improve public access to USGS-funded science as detailed in its new public access plan. The plan enables the USGS to expand  its current on-line gateways to provide free public access to scholarly research and supporting data produced in full or in part with USGS funding, no matter how it is published. The USGS plan  “Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research at the U.S. Geological Survey: Scholarly Publications and Digital Data,” stipulates that, beginning October 1, the USGS will require that any research it funds be released from the publisher and  available free to the public no later than 12 months after initial publication. The USGS will also require that data used to support the findings be available free to the public when the associated study is published. The plan applies to research papers and data authored or co-authored by USGS, contract employees, award or grant recipients, partners and other entities. It includes materials published by any non-USGS entity, including scientific journals, professional society volumes, cooperating agency series, and university or commercial publishers. Exceptions are permitted only if the USGS agrees that a demonstrated circumstance restricts the data from public release, for example in rare cases where access must be restricted because of security, privacy, confidentiality, or other constraints. The plan responds to a February 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy memorandum that directed federal agencies with annual research and development budgets above $100 million to increase public access to peer-reviewed scientific publications and digital data resulting from federally funded research. On January 8, OSTP approved the USGS plan. Specifically, this plan requires that an electronic copy of either the accepted manuscript or the final publication of record is available through the USGS Publications Warehouse. Digital data will be available in machine readable form from the USGS Science Data Catalog. The plan will require the inclusion of data management plans in all new research proposals and grants.”

Dive Against Debris: Employing 25,600 scuba divers to collect data

Via Data Driven Journalism – “To date, Dive Against Debris surveys have been conducted in over 50 countries, with the top reporting countries being the United States, Thailand and Greece. As more divers get involved with Dive Against Debris, Project AWARE continues to bring visibility to the problem of marine debris and helps to identifyContinue Reading

Lawsuit Prompts Offshore Fracking Moratorium Off California Coast

Center for Biological Diversity, January 29, 2016 – “The federal government must stop approving offshore fracking from oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel under a legal settlement filed today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The agreement resolves a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit that challenged the U.S. Department of the Interior’s practiceContinue Reading

Linking ‘toxic outliers’ to environmental justice communities

Environ. Res. Lett. 11 (2016) 015004 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/1/015004. Linking ‘ toxic outliers ’ to environmental justice communities, Mary B Collins, Ian Munoz and Joseph JaJa “Several key studies have found that a small minority of producers, polluting at levels far exceeding group averages, generate the majority of overall exposure to industrial toxics. Frequently, such patterns goContinue Reading

Natural gas leak at CA storage site raises environmental concerns

EIA report, February 1, 2016 – “On October 23, 2015, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) detected a major leak at Aliso Canyon, an underground natural gas storage facility located 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Aliso Canyon storage facility, which has 115 wells, is the second-largest natural gas storage field in the western UnitedContinue Reading

International Law and Domestic Legislation in Sustainable Management of Transboundary Watercourses

Kofele-Kale, Ndiva and Gonzaga, Fausto Mendanha, International Law and Domestic Legislation in the Sustainable Management of Transboundary Watercourses: The Case of the Amazon River Basin (2011). Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2011; SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 235. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2724127 “TheContinue Reading

Rolling Stone – Who Poisoned Flint, Michigan?

Stephen Rodrick – A writer returns home to find a toxic disaster, giant government failure and countless children exposed to lead “Recently, Michigan was forced to declare a state of emergency in Flint. Some of the public servants involved have resigned. Now, the feds and the state are investigating what one water expert calls oneContinue Reading

Paper – Linking ‘toxic outliers’ to environmental justice communities

Linking ‘toxic outliers’ to environmental justice communities. Mary B Collins, Ian Munoz and Joseph JaJa. Published 26 January 2016 © 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd • Environmental Research Letters, Volume 11, Number 1 “Several key studies have found that a small minority of producers, polluting at levels far exceeding group averages, generate the majority of overallContinue Reading

GAO Reports – Banking Compliance, Defense Infrastructure, Small Business Investment Companies, Water Infrastructure

Banking: Federal Agencies’ Compliance with Section 302 of the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act, GAO-16-213R: Published: Jan 27, 2016. Publicly Released: Jan 27, 2016. Defense Infrastructure: Improvement Needed in Energy Reporting and Security Funding at Installations with Limited Connectivity, GAO-16-164: Published: Jan 27, 2016. Publicly Released: Jan 27, 2016. Small Business Investment Companies:Continue Reading

NOAA, CIRES study: Wind, sun could eclipse fossil fuels for electric power by 2030

NOAA – “The United States could slash greenhouse gas emissions from power production by up to 78 percent below 1990 levels within 15 years while meeting increased demand, according to a new study by NOAA and University of Colorado Boulder researchers. The study used a sophisticated mathematical model to evaluate future cost, demand, generation andContinue Reading

Data shows lead poisoning in children throughout America

Vox – “The city of Flint, Michigan, is in the midst of a terrible and rightly shocking lead poisoning crisis. The number of kids testing positive for elevated lead levels in their bloodstreams has doubled in the past few years, after the city switched to a new, cheaper water source. This is an extreme case,Continue Reading

Bloomberg – 2015 Was the Hottest Year on Record

2015 Was the Hottest Year on Record By Tom Randall & Blacki Migliozzi, January 20, 2016: “This is what global warming looks like. Record after record after record, broken. The animation below shows the Earth’s warming climate, recorded in monthly measurements from land and sea over 136 years. The bright red line on top showsContinue Reading