By Monika Holser, UCLA School of Law, Class of 2018. This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. Please post any comments on the original post, which can be found here.
GIS (geographic information system) is a computer system for “capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on the Earth’s surface.” It allows multiple layers of information to be displayed at once, enabling one to visualize and understand relationships on a map. Different types of information can be overlaid in the program regardless of their original format or source. According to ESRI, GIS is described as the “go-to technology” for location-based decisions and is fundamental in understanding the current and future issues involving geographic space.
Judging a Book by its Cover: The Tension between Evidentiary Gatekeeping and Compensatory Theories of Tort
By Julie Amadeo, J.D. 2016, New York University School of Law.
This article has been adapted from a larger work and has been posted as part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. Please post all comments on the original article, which can be found here.
Human minds are primed to jump to conclusions. Call them intuitions, or things we just know, our ability to draw conclusions is a survival instinct, developed over many years of evolutionary progress. Now assume a man has been largely healthy his entire life. Maybe this man is a line worker at a factory, or a firefighter, or even just a soccer player. Suddenly, he learns that he has a fatal disease that will cause him to suffer for various years before finally killing him. He sees his co-workers falling ill with the same sickness and they all begin to think it must be something they were doing in common. Perhaps it was the chemicals they produced at work, or something burning in the fires, or maybe the turf they played on. But, there’s no evidence of this, it is just a hunch. Producing conclusive scientific evidence is costly and would take years. Perhaps the only way of getting any sort of evidence is to sue the employer, or products producer which would lead to discovery and possible answers. The man approaches a lawyer who is well known in the field of toxic harms and asks him to take on his case. The lawyer, however, declines and informs the man because of the lack of epidemiological – human study—evidence available on the topic, his case would likely be decided in favor of the defendant on summary judgment and he would never get the closure he is looking for.
Constitutions & the Environment: Comparative Approaches to Environmental Protection and the Struggle to Translate Rights into Enforcement
By Kyle Burns, J.D. Candidate, 2017, University of Virginia School of Law. The author would like to thank Professor A.E. Dick Howard, whose seminar in comparative constitutional law inspired this piece.
This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate.
Every nation around the world faces ecological hardships. Almost every nation has responded with a legal regime that attempts to ensure environmental protection. These environmental law schemes come in various forms. Some nations place environmental protection at the highest level, securing it within a national constitution, while others relegate it to the statutory level. Some nations have positive rights, placing a duty on the government to protect the environment, while others create negative rights, preventing discharges of pollution into the air and water. What becomes clear upon analyzing different regimes is that neither the source of the right (i.e. constitutional or statutory) nor the form of the right (i.e. positive or negative) is the dispositive factor determining how protective a nation’s environmental law regime is. I submit that it is the manner in which those rights are enforced that controls the end result. Thus, even the loftiest promise of environmental quality can go unrealized in the face of substandard enforcement or outright non-justiciability, while seemingly less important statutory restrictions on pollution may achieve greater benefits.
By John Bullock, J.D. Candidate, Harvard Law School. The author would like to thank Ari Peskoe, Senior Fellow in Electricity Law at the Harvard Environmental Law Program Policy Initiative, and Robin Smith and Nate Bishop for their help and advice.
This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. Please post all comments on the original, which may be found here.
Samantha L. Varsalona
Georgetown University Law Center, Class of 2018
Staff Member, Georgetown Environmental Law Review
This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. Please post all comments on the original article, which can be found here.
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has become a contentious topic in recent months. The controversy centers around Dakota Access, LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, LLC, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North and South Dakota (the Tribe or Sioux), a federally-recognized Indian tribe. The Tribe’s reservation, Standing Rock Indian Reservation, is half a mile upstream from where DAPL’s crude oil pipeline would cross the Missouri River underneath Lake Oahe in North Dakota. While much of the recent media attention surrounding Dakota Access and the Tribe has focused on the destruction of the Tribe’s ancestral burial grounds, the underlying issue can be traced back to the nationwide permits issued by the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) in 2012. More specifically, this article will examine Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12), which was one of the fifty NWPs issued by the Corps in 2012 and is at the heart of the current legal battle between Dakota Access and the Tribe.
By Elizabeth Kuhn. Ms. Kuhn is a J.D. candidate at Lewis & Clark Law School. Please send correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Ecology of Liberation: The Shifting Landscape of Environmental Law in an Era of Changing Environmental Values
By Michael Zielinski
William & Mary Law School, Class of 2017
This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. The original can be found here.
WWII-Era Government Contractor Indemnification Clauses Come to the Fore in CERCLA Litigation as Other Grounds to Shift Costs to the Government Narrow
Hume Ross is a member of the Georgetown Environmental Law Review. This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. Please leave any comments on the original post, which may be found on Georgetown Environmental Law Review's webpage.
Author: Garrett M. Gee, J.D. Candidate, William & Mary Law School, 2016; Staff Member, William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review
This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate.
Abstract: This article explains the process to convert a rail line to a recreational trail under the Rails-to-Trails Act and addresses some legal issues that often arise from such conversions.
By Caitlin Troyer Busch, Stanford Law School, J.D. Candidate 2017. This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. Please post all comments on the original post, which can be found here.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is both lauded and criticized as one of the most powerful environmental laws ever enacted. Proponents of the law praise it for protecting thousands of endangered species over the last forty years, while detractors argue it is a bureaucratic mess that no longer benefits humans, but instead overburdens private landowners and development and values species’ needs above human needs. These claims reflect the disparate values underlying the statute itself. At the time of the Act’s passage, some proponents pushed for endangered species reform on the belief that species have intrinsic value—that is, value that “an entity has in itself, for what it is, or as an end.” Others believed that the value of endangered species lay in their instrumental value to humans, as “means to a desired or valued end,” such as agriculture. Despite these distinct values, the Act was passed in 1973 with little to no opposition. A wide range of stakeholders with differing environmental values came together to craft a far-reaching and unprecedented environmental law. This lack of opposition demonstrates that the Endangered Species Act successfully captured both sets of values in a single, comprehensive environmental statute.
 Ronald Sandler, Intrinsic Value, Ecology, and Conservation, 3 Nature Educ. Knowledge 10, 2012, at 4.
About the ELRS:
The Environmental Law Review Syndicate (ELRS) is a collaborative effort of the nation’s leading environmental law journals that provides an outlet for student scholarship and fosters academic. ELRS operates as a cooperative syndicate: each week a different student submission is selected for publication on the websites of all member law reviews.