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Category Archives: Environmental Law

NOAA, UNC-Wilmington study finds warming Atlantic ocean temps could increase expansion of invasive native species

News release: “Warming water temperatures due to climate change could expand the range of many native species of tropical fish, including the invasive and poisonous lionfish, according to a study of 40 species along rocky and artificial reefs off North Carolina by researchers from NOAA and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. The findings, reported forContinue Reading

Fugitive gases in eight clusters of domestic water wells overlying the Marcellus and Barnett Shales

Noble gases identify the mechanisms of fugitive gas contamination in drinking-water wells overlying the Marcellus and Barnett Shales. Published online before print September 15, 2014, doi:10.1073/pnas.1322107111 PNAS September 15, 2014: “Significance: Hydrocarbon production from unconventional sources is growing rapidly, accompanied by concerns about drinking-water contamination and other environmental risks. Using noble gas and hydrocarbon tracers, we distinguish natural sources of methaneContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Critical Infrastructure Protection, EPA Regs and Electricity

CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION: DHS Action Needed to Enhance Integration and Coordination of Vulnerability Assessment Efforts, GAO-14-507: Published: Sep 15, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 15, 2014: “DHS is not positioned to manage an integrated and coordinated government-wide approach for assessments as called for in the NIPP because it does not have sufficient information about the assessment tools andContinue Reading

An Energy and Sustainability Roadmap for West Virginia

Van Nostrand, James M, An Energy and Sustainability Roadmap for West Virginia (2013). West Virginia Law Review, Vol. 115, No. 3, 2013. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2495555 “This article explores the measures that West Virginia policymakers can take to position the state for a more sustainable energy future. Throughout its history, energy resources have beenContinue Reading

Rocky Mountain Forests at Risk – Report

Union of Concerned Scientists - Confronting climate-driven impacts from insects, wildfires, heat, and drought: “Tens of millions of trees have died in the Rocky Mountains over the past 15 years, victims of a triple assault of tree-killing insects, wildfires, and stress from heat and drought. Global warming is the driving force behind these impacts, bringing hotter andContinue Reading

40 Percent of Countries with Largest Shale Energy Resources Face Water Stress

Paul Reig and Andrew Maddocks, World Resources Institute: “…extracting natural gas and tight oil from shale poses environmental risks, especially when it comes to water. Hydraulic fracturing requires up to 25 million liters of fresh water per well, meaning shale resources can be hard to develop where fresh water is hard to find—including in some of the world’s fastest-growingContinue Reading

Draft of UN’s New Report on Global Warming Delivers Bleak Assessment

Justin Gillis, New York Times: “Runaway growth on the emission of greenhouse gases is swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem, raising the risk of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” over the coming decades, according to a draft of a major new United Nations report. Global warming is already cutting grain production by several percentageContinue Reading

ProPublica, Satellites and The Shrinking Louisiana Coast

“At the heart of the story is the fact that the Louisiana coastline loses land at a rate equivalent to a football field each hour. That comes to 16 square miles per year. The land south of New Orleans has always been low-lying, but since the Army Corps of Engineers built levees along the Mississippi after the huge 1927Continue Reading

NOAA lists 20 coral species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act

News release: “NOAA announced [August 27, 2014 that] it will afford Endangered Species Act protections to 20 coral species. All 20 species will be listed as threatened, none as endangered. Fifteen of the newly listed species occur in the Indo-Pacific and five in the Caribbean. “Coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystemsContinue Reading

World Water Week Seeks Solutions to Water and Energy Challenges

World Bank: “Water is needed in almost all energy generation processes. At the same time, the water sector needs energy to extract, treat and transport water. These inextricable connections between water and energy – and how best to manage them for the benefit of the poor – will be the focus of this year’s WorldContinue Reading

Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future

CRS - Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future. Robert Meltz, Legislative Attorney. August 20, 2014. “This report surveys existing law for legal issues that have arisen, or may arise in the future, on account of climate change and government responses thereto.The reader interested in proposals for new laws to deal withContinue Reading

Rarest Native Animals Find Haven on Tribal Lands

Nate Schweber, New York Times: “More than 70 percent of tribal land in the Northern Plains is unplowed, compared with around 60 percent of private land, the World Wildlife Fund said. Around 90 million acres of unplowed grasses remain on the Northern Plains. Tribes on 14 reservations here saved about 10 percent of that 90Continue Reading