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Category Archives: Environmental Law

Volkswagen Agrees to Record Settlement in Emissions Case

FTC news release: “In two related settlements, one with the United States and the State of California, and one with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), German automaker Volkswagen AG and related entities have agreed to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers. Volkswagen will offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 model year 2009-2015 2.0 liter diesel vehicles sold or leased in the U.S., and spend up to $10.03 billion to compensate consumers under the program. In addition, the companies will spend $4.7 billion to mitigate the pollution from these cars and invest in green vehicle technology. The settlements partially resolve allegations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as the California Attorney General’s Office and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) under the Clean Air Act, California Health and Safety Code, and California’s Unfair Competition Laws, relating to the vehicles’ use of “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests. The settlements also resolve claims by the FTC that Volkswagen violated the FTC Act through the deceptive and unfair advertising and sale of its “clean diesel” vehicles. The settlements do not resolve pending claims for civil penalties or any claims concerning 3.0 liter diesel vehicles. Nor do they address any potential criminal liability.”

To view the consent decree, visit: www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees

To view the FTC proposed order, click here.

At the top of the world a climate disaster is unfolding that will impact the lives of more than 1 billion people

Crisis on high – At the top of the world a climate disaster is unfolding that will impact the lives of more than 1 billion people. By China correspondent Matthew Carney, photography by Wayne McAllister “Deep in the Himalayas sits a remote research station that is tracking an alarming trend in climate change, with implications… Continue Reading

The Environmental Justice Implications of Biofuels

Gonzalez, Carmen G., The Environmental Justice Implications of Biofuels (July 21, 2016). UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs, Vol. 20, 2016. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2813002 “Analyses of the viability of biofuels as alternatives to fossil fuels have often adopted a technocratic approach that focuses on environmental consequences, but places less emphasis… Continue Reading

Oppressive summer heat grips large portions of U.S.

NOAA – High temperatures and extreme humidity will extend into week of July 25, 2016: “A widespread heatwave is parked over the central United States, causing heat index values to reach 110 degrees F, with some areas reaching 115 degrees by Sunday as the high pressure ridge spreads to the East. As of Friday, July… Continue Reading

2016 Climate Trends Continue to Break Records

Via NASA -“Two key climate change indicators — global surface temperatures and Arctic sea ice extent — have broken numerous records through the first half of 2016, according to NASA analyses of ground-based observations and satellite data. Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in… Continue Reading

EPA Research – Corrosion in Majority of Diesel Fuel Underground Storage Tank Systems Studied

News release: “In a report released today on corrosion inside diesel fuel underground storage tanks (USTs), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found moderate or severe corrosion that could affect metal components inside both steel and fiberglass underground tank systems. Corrosion inside USTs can cause equipment failure by preventing proper operation of release detection and… Continue Reading

GAO Reports – Immigration Benefits System, Military Personnel, Nuclear Security, Defense Nuclear Enterprise, EPA, Flood Insurance, Iran Nuclear Deal

Immigration Benefits System: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Can Improve Program Management, GAO-16-467: Published: Jul 7, 2016. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 2016. Military Personnel: DOD Needs More Complete Data on Active-Duty Servicemembers’ Use of Food Assistance Programs, GAO-16-561: Published: Jul 15, 2016. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 2016. Nuclear Security: NRC Has Enhanced the Controls of… Continue Reading

Vox – 7 biggest problems facing science according to 270 scientists

Via Vox – by Julia Belluz, Brad Plumer, and Brian Resnick, July 14, 2016: “Science is in big trouble. Or so we’re told. In the past several years, many scientists have become afflicted with a serious case of doubt — doubt in the very institution of science. Explore the biggest challenges facing science, and how… Continue Reading

Paper – Breeding Behavior of Urban Peregrine Falcons in the Midwestern US

Peregrine falcons were close to extinction in America due to the human use of DDTs, when the pesticide was banned in the 1990s and breeding rebounded. However in the mid-west, peregrine are predominantly domiciled in urban areas (as they are also in areas around the DC metro area). This study, Sex in the City: Breeding… Continue Reading

An Analysis of Costs and Health Co-Benefits for a U.S. Power Plant Carbon Standard

30 Jun 2016: Buonocore JJ, Lambert KF, Burtraw D, Sekar S, Driscoll CT (2016) Correction: An Analysis of Costs and Health Co-Benefits for a U.S. Power Plant Carbon Standard. doi: info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0158792 View correction “Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants can have important “co-benefits” for public health by reducing emissions of air pollutants. Here,… Continue Reading

Paper – Using Bibliographic Information to Assess Pet Suitability of Mammal Species

Because every human should take into consideration the importance of a choosing a compatible companion animal – Behavioral Ecology of Captive Species: Using Bibliographic Information to Assess Pet Suitability of Mammal Species – Front. Vet. Sci., 20 May 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2016.00035 “Which mammal species are suitable to be kept as pet? For answering this question many… Continue Reading

The Global Information Technology Report 2016

“Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Israel, Singapore, the Netherlands and the United States are leading the world when it comes to generating economic impact from investments in information and communications technologies (ICT), according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2016. On average, this group of high-achieving economies at the pinnacle of the report’s Networked… Continue Reading