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Category Archives: Environmental Law

EPA criminal action against polluters hits 30-year low

AP: “The Environmental Protection Agency hit a 30-year low in 2018 in the number of pollution cases it referred for criminal prosecution, Justice Department data show. EPA said in a statement that it is directing “its resources to the most significant and impactful cases.” But the 166 cases referred for prosecution in the last fiscal year is the lowest number since 1988, when Ronald Reagan was president and 151 cases were referred, according to Justice Department data obtained by the nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility advocacy group and released Tuesday…”

A Year of (Literal and Figurative) Ups and Downs for Our Waterways

Casey Trees: “Every other year, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation releases a State of the Bay. Similar to our annual efforts with the Tree Report Card, this report is a comprehensive measure of the Bay’s health based on 13 indicators in three categories: pollution, habitat, and fisheries. The report finds the bay “dangerously out of balance,”… Continue Reading

Impact of Government Shutdown Across America

The New York Times – “In many parts of the United States, the shutdown has underscored how deeply the federal government is connected to everyday life. “From the start, it has seemed like the federal government shutdown with no end in sight. More than three weeks later, with Washington still gridlocked over President Trump’s demand… Continue Reading

Court Strikes Down Iowa’s ‘Ag-Gag’ Law That Blocked Undercover Investigations

NPR – “A federal judge in Iowa says it’s no longer a crime to go undercover at factory farms, slaughterhouses and any other ag-related operations. The 2012 law was a clear violation of the First Amendment, the judge said. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, one of the plaintiffs in the case, called the ruling “a… Continue Reading

The Simon Abundance Index: A New Way to Measure Availability of Resources

Cato Institute: “In this paper, we revisit the main points of contention in the debate regarding availability of resources and their relationship with population growth. Using the latest price data for 50 foundational commodities covering energy, food, materials, and metals, we propose a new way of measuring resource availability based on four concepts. First, the… Continue Reading

New digital archive enables community use of terrestrial and subsurface ecosystem data sets

Earth and Space News: “Over the past decade, data from Earth and environmental research have dramatically increased in volume, complexity, and diversity, but in many cases, efforts to make these data usable and accessible have not kept pace. This data proliferation has created an urgent need for data preservation, curation, quality checks, and standards for… Continue Reading

Corrections to ocean data reflect 40% increase in warming

The New York Times: “Scientists say the world’s oceans are warming far more quickly than previously thought, a finding with dire implications for climate change because almost all the excess heat absorbed by the planet ends up stored in their waters. A new analysis, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that the oceans are… Continue Reading

Why Are National Parks Still Open? Nobody Knows.

Outside: “…To recap, counter to previous practice, most of the big-name parks have been kept open during the current federal government shutdown. But 80 percent of park service employees have been furloughed, leaving our natural treasures protected by a skeleton crew of park police and other first responders. No one is collecting entry fees, no one… Continue Reading

Federal government was bleak workplace for past 2 years and worsened after the shutdown

Washington Post: “Over two years, the Trump administration has dealt blow after blow to government employees — budget cuts, hiring freezes, inept Cabinet secretaries and, for some, open hostility to their fundamental mission. President Trump promised to shake up Washington, and he has. But the country’s 2 million federal workers have mostly soldiered on, believing… Continue Reading

National parks report on climate change finally released, uncensored

Reveal – Elizabeth Shogren: “Backing away from attempts at censorship, the National Park Service today released a report charting the risks to national parks from sea level rise and storms. Drafts of the report obtained earlier this year by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting showed park service officials had deleted every mention of… Continue Reading

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

EveryCRSReport.com – Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress, December 13, 2018: “The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region’s future. The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial interests… Continue Reading

Plants of the World Online portal

“In 2015, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew launched its first Science Strategy establishing its vision to document and understand global plant and fungal diversity and their uses, bringing authoritative expertise to bear on the critical challenges facing humanity today. The Science Strategy also committed Kew to delivering nine strategic outputs with the overarching aim to… Continue Reading