Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Environmental Law

Paper – Environmental Personhood

Gordon, Gwendolyn, Environmental Personhood (March 7, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2935007
“Environmental personhood is the nascent notion of designating parts of nature as legal persons entitled to independent regard and consideration. Several jurisdictions, including areas in the United States, have developed versions of legal regimes granting rights directly to nature in and for itself. Protecting the environment in this manner has gained momentum in the current moment as a result of and in reaction to the seemingly quotidian status of corporate personhood in protecting corporate rights. But environmental personhood need not be seen only as a foil for corporate power. Because corporate personhood is an example of how we came to understand a non-human entity as a bearer of rights, we can use lessons from the contingent development of this doctrine to inform the development of environmental personhood. As evidenced by the history of corporate personhood, there is no entirely unqualified right that applies to all persons across all circumstances; the actual way a “right” plays out is always dependent upon social, historical, and political context. The ways in which the acknowledgement of the rights of nature have played out in the jurisdictions in which it is present also evidence this statement. Law and its social context are of course mutually constitutive; it is possible today to imagine that new views on environmental precariousness and new legal conceptions of the standing of nature might combine to make the doctrine of environmental personhood a robustly protective one.”

Economist Daily Chart visualizes Trump’s first budget

The Economist Daily Chart by the Data Team – Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ budget would make deep cuts to domestic programmes – Graphic detail “Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, famously promised the “deconstruction of the administrative state”. On March 16th, the Trump administration took its first step toward achieving Mr Bannon’s vision by… Continue Reading

GAO – Electricity: Status of Residential Deployment of Solar and Other Technologies

Electricity: Status of Residential Deployment of Solar and Other Technologies and Potential Benefits and Challenges, GAO-17-142: Published: Feb 13, 2017. Publicly Released: Mar 15, 2017. “Rooftop solar panels, batteries, and smart thermostats, installed in residences, can allow customers to generate and store electricity, as well as manage its use. These and other technologies can make… Continue Reading

Federal budget proposal cuts programs and services across the government

Bloomberg provides a detailed, clear and actionable article, accompanying visualization and charts specific to These 80 Programs Would Lose Federal Funding Under Trump’s Proposed Budget – “U.S. President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal includes massive cuts across most of the federal government. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture face unprecedented discretionary funding… Continue Reading

Physicist declassifies rescued nuclear test films

“The U.S. conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, with multiple cameras capturing each event at around 2,400 frames per second. But in the decades since, around 10,000 of these films sat idle, scattered across the country in high-security vaults. Not only were they gathering dust, the film material itself was slowly decomposing,… Continue Reading

FERC certificates several new natural gas pipelines in 2017

EIA – “Several large natural gas interstate pipeline projects have come online in recent years to support the shifting geography of domestic natural gas production. The Marcellus and Utica shale plays in the Northeast, where production has grown and resources are abundant, are major drivers for pipeline development. In 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission… Continue Reading

Carbon Dioxide Is Rising at Record Rate

Climate Central – “The main driver of climate change is carbon dioxide. So the fact that it is rising at rates unseen in the instrumental record — and likely much longer than that — is cause for alarm. Yet here we are. For the second year in a row, carbon dioxide concentrations as measured at… Continue Reading

Already recycling cans, glass, cardboard, paper – add Styrofoam please

Via FoamFacts – “Foam #6, commonly referred to as Styrofoam—a trademark of Dow Chemical Company, is also known as expanded polystyrene or EPS…Foam # 6 is a thermoplastic, which means that it can be completely recycled. From a technical standpoint, converting foam into recycled pellets is very easy. And by using widely available compactors specifically designed for… Continue Reading

Report on crumbling dams throughout US

Follow-up to previous posting – McClatchy – Trump team compiles infrastructure priority list – new via Stratfor – “…there are more than 80,000 dams in the United States, with an average age of 52 years. The suburban sprawl and growing populations have also put more people downstream of dams that once only served agricultural land,… Continue Reading

When Does Self-Interest Motivate Political Engagement? The Case of Climate Change

Levine, Adam Seth and Kline, Reuben, When Does Self-Interest Motivate Political Engagement? The Case of Climate Change (March 12, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2931842 “Past work finds that material self-interest often motivates increased issue engagement. In this paper we identify an important condition under which the opposite can occur. When people see an issue as… Continue Reading

Presidential Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR REORGANIZING THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, March 13, 2017 – “By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1.  Purpose.  This order is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch… Continue Reading

NYT – Activists Rush to Save Government Science Data

Follow up to previous postings – Why is federal government data disappearing? and Please support DataRescue and other open access archive efforts, the New York Times highlights efforts by proactive teams that include librarians, advocacy groups, grad students, coders, archivists and scientists – Activists Rush to Save Government Science Data — If They Can Find… Continue Reading