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Obama’s Green Legacy: New Possibilities in Light of Regulatory Challenges Georgetown Environmental Law Review

obama legacy Sydney MeneesObama’s Green Legacy: New Possibilities in Light of Regulatory Challenges

By Sydney Menees, Guest Contributor

President Obama’s power plant rulemakings have dominated the perception of his environmental legacy, but recently these rulemakings have faced significant administrative challenges: On June 29th, the Supreme Court remanded the EPA’s mercury rule for power plants back to the EPA for consideration of cost,[1] and, as a proposed rule, the Clean Power Plan has already faced a DC Circuit challenge questioning EPA’s authority to create such a rule. While the President’s high profile environmental agenda may ultimately prevail, there are a number of discreet actions the Obama administration can facilitate to enhance his environmental record in the areas of land management, truck emissions, and renewable energy.

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Letter to Subscribers Georgetown Environmental Law Review

GELC The Georgetown Environmental Law Review


July 17, 2015

Dear readers,

Over the last several years, members of the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review (GIELR) have discussed omitting the word “International” from the journal’s name to reflect the greater depth and breadth of both our journal and the Georgetown environmental law curriculum. This spring, our journal members pursued this change, and we are pleased to announce that the GIELR is now officially the Georgetown Environmental Law Review (GELR).

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Aesthetic Zoning: Who Said Rainbows Were Beautiful? Georgetown International Environmental Law Review

Euclid Avenue Banner finalAesthetic Zoning: Who Said Rainbows Were Beautiful?

By Nicholas Nunn, Staff Contributor

The home is the center of our environment. We spend the majority of our day, a solid chunk of our income, and countless man-hours living in and maintaining our homes. Interestingly, however, it has become an accepted fact in our community that, despite no one else helping to trim the hedges, one’s home is not solely under the owner’s control. Municipal planning commissions and homeowners’ associations have expansive aesthetic controls to prevent the eyes of the unwary from being scarred by unsightly homes a shade too dark or a blade of grass too brown. The Supreme Court’s City of Ladue v. Gilleo decision provided some First Amendment protection for what we may display on our home property, but the protections the case provides are limited.

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In Support of Fossil Fuel Divestiture Georgetown International Environmental Law Review

Christine Hottinger BannerIn Support of Fossil Fuel Divestiture

By Christine Hottinger, Staff Contributor

On June 4, 2015, the Georgetown University Board of Directors announced its decisions to “not make or continue any direct investments of endowment funds in companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy production.”

Scientists have been warning society and governments about the threats of global climate change for as long as I have been alive: the International Panel on Climate Change was formed the year I was born. But to this point, society and governments have been unable or unwilling to take meaningful action to curb the human contributions to climate change—that is, greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels to power electricity, industry, transportation, and agriculture.

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KNOW THY PRODUCT: THE GLOBAL EXPANSION OF PRODUCT STEWARDSHIP LAWS’ IMPACT ON ENVIRONMENTAL LAW GEORGETOWN INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REVIEW

Miller

KNOW THY PRODUCT: THE GLOBAL EXPANSION OF PRODUCT STEWARDSHIP LAWS’ IMPACT ON ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

By Travis Miller, Esq.*

Introduction

The term “globalization” has only become commonplace over the last few decades, as a consequence of the rapid expansion of outsourcing and the economic advantage of producing products in less developed nations.[1] These major changes were driven to a large extent by an increase in the cost of production resulting from increases in regulation and wages in developed economies.[2] The consequence of this phenomenon has been the displacement of the traditional Western manufacturing base to countries with a lower cost of labor and per unit production.[3] This trend has also resulted in traditional environmental regulation, focused on the manufacturing process, to be found wanting by many major economies — prompting the establishment of new regulatory regimes focused on product stewardship.[4] These regulations shift the burden of compliance onto the supply chain and the importer of finished goods.[5] Consequently, companies seeking to import products into regulated markets must maintain complex databases evidencing compliance with the environmental laws that impact the products that will enter such markets.[6]

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California’s Egg Law Should Survive a Dormant Commerce Clause Attack Georgetown International Environmental Law Review

WillDerwinTitleCardCalifornia’s Egg Law Should Survive a Dormant Commerce Clause Attack

By Will Derwin, Staff Contributor

California’s egg law — requiring both in-state and out-of-state egg producers who sell eggs in California to raise their hens such that they have enough space to move around — should survive a potential dormant Commerce Clause attack by out-of-state egg producers. (more…)

EPA’s Attempt to Regulate Methane Emissions Georgetown International Environmental Law Review

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EPA’s Attempt to Regulate Methane Emissions

By David Woodsmall, Staff Contributor

On January 14, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a landmark decision to directly regulate methane emissions from new and modified oil and natural gas wells as part of a larger, cross-agency effort to reduce methane emissions. [1] Regulating methane emission from oil and gas wells has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially if EPA passes a robust rule and promulgates a regulation for existing wells under section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act. Methane emissions, which constitute 9% of greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, impact the climate twenty times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.[2] The 40-45% decrease in methane emissions from current levels, which the administration hopes to achieve by 2025, could have a significant climate impact. (more…)

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A Human Rights Perspective on Climate Change: What value can it add to international efforts to mitigate climate change?, Part II Georgetown International Environmental Law Review

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A Human Rights Perspective on Climate Change: What value can it add to international efforts to mitigate climate change?, Part II

By Genevieve Fox, Staff Contributor

The interrelationship between human rights and climate change has become fairly well articulated and embraced over the past decade. Nonetheless, proponents of a human rights perspective to climate change have yet to demonstrate how it can be used to establish legal obligations or a functional response to the climate change problem. Part I will discuss various impediments that prevents human rights perspective from serving as more than a complement to broader international efforts to respond to climate change. Part II will discuss how a human rights perspective to climate change remains valuable despite these impediments.  (more…)

A Human Rights Perspective on Climate Change: What Value Can it Add to International Efforts to Mitigate Climate Change? Part I Georgetown International Environmental Law Review

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A Human Rights Perspective on Climate Change: What Value Can it Add to International Efforts to Mitigate Climate Change?  Part I

By Genevieve Fox, Guest Contributor

The interrelationship between human rights and climate change has become fairly well articulated and embraced over the past decade. Nonetheless, proponents of a human rights perspective to climate change have yet to demonstrate how it can be used to establish legal obligations or a functional response to the climate change problem. Part I will discuss various impediments that prevents human rights perspective from serving as more than a complement to broader international efforts to respond to climate change. Part II will discuss how a human rights perspective to climate change remains valuable despite these impediments. (more…)

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An International Climate Regime Without an International Climate Treaty Georgetown International Environmental Law Review

CollmannGriffinTitleard

An International Climate Regime Without an International Climate Treaty

By Collmann Griffin, Staff Contributor

An effective climate change regime must be worldwide. Since 1990, increased carbon output in most countries has more than offset the decreased output achieved through complex legislation in others. Furthermore, while all countries would benefit from a worldwide decrease in greenhouse gases, the most rational option for each individual country may be to defect and enjoy the benefits of both its own increased greenhouse gas output and the world’s decreased output. Thus, if each country pursues its rational interest, no country will decrease its own greenhouse gas, and every country loses. The solution seems to require a binding worldwide regime preventing defection. However, the most obvious law for achieving this solution – an effective multilateral climate change treaty – does not seem to be politically possible. (more…)