Friday, August 27, 2010

Green Bulding Codes and Ordinances: Challenges and Opportunities for Property Owners and Local Governments

This ABA Teleconference will take place on Wednesday Sept. 15, 2010 at 1 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern Time.

The green building movement has sparked a host of new incentives and mandates for real estate developers to incorporate sustainable materials and green building practices into their new and retrofit projects. Local governments have taken the lead by implementing “green building codes” to mandate or facilitate energy conservation in both new construction and renovation.

This program will provide an overview of the critical elements of green building codes or ordinances from the standpoint of property owners and local government, as well as a review of current case law led by a participant in one of the leading cases:
•Key substantive elements and policy considerations
•Pros and cons of the various green building/energy standards that can be adopted (LEED, Energy Star, Green Globes, ANSI) from the standpoint of local government and the developer
•Issues raised by incorporating green building requirements into land use regulations
•Interaction between ordinances and building energy codes and their relationship to climate change
•Carrot or the stick? -- mechanisms for achieving green building implementation: incentives versus mandates, and the risks to building owners/developers under various approaches
•Implementation in public versus private buildings
•AHRI v. City of Albuquerque and Building Industry Assoc. of Washington v Washington State Building Code Council: preemption of local green building ordinances and codes under federal law: who is getting sued and why, and the implications for local green building code initiatives.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

10 Animals on the Verge of Extinction in America

In the United States alone, there are currently 581 endangered and threatened animal species. These include mammals, corals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, clams, snails, insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and birds. Birds, by the way, have the highest number of endangered species with 76 different types of birds on the brink of extinction.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The implications of the April 2010 oil spill on deepwater exploration and production

This White Paper by GrantThornton, an internationa consulting firm, dated Summer 2010, finds that as a result of the Gulf oil spill, the future costs of drilling and
operating in the Gulf will rise considerably. Certain cost increases can be attributed to natural market forces, such as insurance and capital providers repricing the risk of drilling and operating in the deepwater. Other cost increases will be a result of significant changes in regulatory policy, which are currently being discussed by members of Congress. The repricing of risk in conjunction with proposed regulatory changes will have drastic long-term implications for exploration and production companies.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Energy Use in the US Food System

This Report from the United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, (Economic Research Report Number 94) dated March 2010, finds:

Energy is an important input in growing, processing, packaging, distributing, storing, preparing, serving, and disposing of food. Analysis using the two most recent U.S. benchmark input-output accounts and a national energy data system shows that in the United States, use of energy along the food chain for food purchases by or for U.S. households increased between 1997 and 2002 at more than six times the rate of increase in total domestic energy use. This increase in food-related energy flows is over 80 percent of energy flow increases nationwide over the period. The use of more energy-intensive technologies throughout the U.S. food system accounted for half of this increase, with the remainder attributed to population growth and higher real (inflation-adjusted) per capita food expenditures. A projection of food-related energy use based on 2007 total U.S. energy consumption and food expenditure data and the benchmark 2002 input-output accounts suggests that food-related energy use as a share of the national energy budget grew from 14.4 percent in 2002 to an estimated 15.7 percent in 2007.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Annual Energy Review

The Annual Energy Review (AER) is the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s primary report of historical annual energy statistics. For many series, data begin with the year 1949. Included are data on total energy production, consumption, and trade; overviews of petroleum, natural gas, coal, electricity, nuclear energy, renewable energy, international energy, as well as financial and environmental indicators; and data unit conversion tables. The report is also released in print.

Also here in pdf.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Outcome/Guidance from Georgia Sea Grant Program: Current Status of BP Oil Spill

This report from Sea Grant Georgia, finds that there have been no oceanographic surveys measuring the entire breadth of the subsurface oil plume, only cruises targeting specific regions of interest to the scientific community. Thus, we can only estimated how much remains below the surface. However, after accounting for oil that has been skimmed and burned (10% collectively), evaporated (8-12%) and degraded (4-8%), we estimate that the oil remaining at or below the surface is between 70 and 79% or between 2.9 and 3.2 million barrels. We note that this does not account for oil that we know has washed into coastal wetlands. This is a particularly difficult form to quantify, since much of it has settled in tidal creek and bay bottoms or has been buried in salt marsh and creek bottom sediments.

Health Effects of the Gulf Oil Spill

This article from the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico poses direct threats to human health from inhalation or dermal contact with the oil and dispersant chemicals, and indirect threats to seafood safety and mental health. Physicians should be familiar with health effects from oil spills to appropriately advise, diagnose, and treat patients who live and work along the Gulf Coast or wherever a major oil spill occurs.

Troubled Waters: Massive Coral Bleaching in Indonesia

A report from the Wildlife Conservation Society shows a dramatic rise in the surface temperature of Indonesian waters has resulted in a large-scale bleaching event that has devastated local coral populations. Following a report of a bleaching incident in May, WCS-Indonesia dispatched a “Rapid Response Unit” of marine biologists to investigate. Their initial survey revealed that over 60 percent of corals have bleached. The incident took place in the province of Aceh, on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra.

ABA CLE - Environmental Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: A Failure of Oversight

This Teleconference and Live Audio Webcast will take place on Date: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 and provide an overview of the events of April 20, 2010, the extent of the damage caused by the spill, and where things stand with efforts to contain the damage.

BP admits that the accident was caused by a “failure of a number of processes, systems, and equipment,” including lax testing, cost-cutting measures, and a breakdown in chain of command. But as spectacular as the breakdown of operations appears to be, perhaps the most striking feature of the largest oil spill in U.S. history is “the apparent lack of an adequate plan to control the spreading environmental damage.”

This teleconference will try to grapple with three major facets of the legal landscape that was supposed to anticipate and mitigate an accident of this scale: planning and regulatory oversight, government response, and environmental impacts.

The program will begin with a discussion of some of the pre-planning issues that need to be raised as we try to avoid a repeat of this environmental disaster.

Monday, August 16, 2010

State of the Climate: Global Analysis 2010

This report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center provides data finding that:

•The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for June 2010 was the warmest on record at 16.2°C (61.1°F), which is 0.68°C (1.22°F) above the 20th century average of 15.5°C (59.9°F). The previous record for June was set in 2005.

•June 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record (March, April, and May 2010 were also the warmest on record). This was the 304th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last month with below-average temperature was February 1985.

•The June worldwide averaged land surface temperature was 1.07°C (1.93°F) above the 20th century average of 13.3°C (55.9°F)—the warmest on record.

•It was the warmest April–June (three-month period) on record for the global land and ocean temperature and the land-only temperature. The three-month period was the second warmest for the world's oceans, behind 1998.

•It was the warmest June and April–June on record for the Northern Hemisphere as a whole and all land areas of the Northern Hemisphere.

•It was the warmest January–June on record for the global land and ocean temperature. The worldwide land on average had its second warmest January–June, behind 2007. The worldwide averaged ocean temperature was the second warmest January–June, behind 1998.

•Sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean continued to decrease during June 2010. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions are likely to develop during the Northern Hemisphere summer 2010.

Extreme Heat in Summer 2010: A Window on the Future

Extreme Heat in Summer 2010: A Window on the Future, this report from the National Wildlife Federal states that as global temperature records have been set for the early summer months, states and cities are also setting hundreds of temperature records. More than 70 million Americans experienced extreme heat during June and July.

Unfortunately, climate models indicate that an average summer in 2050 will have even more days topping 90°F if global warming continues unabated. For example, Washington, DC is on track to have about 50 days of 90°F or hotter weather in summer 2010. By midcentury, an average summer could have 55 to 100 such days, depending on how much we curb global warming pollution.

DOE Webinar August 24, 2010: ENERGY STAR Pilot Verification Testing Program

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Building Technologies Program is offering a Webinar on Tuesday, August 24, 2010, from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. ET titled "ENERGY STAR Pilot Verification Testing Program."

In support of the State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program (SEEARP), DOE is testing appliances for compliance with the applicable ENERGY STAR Program Requirements to verify that off-the-floor products indeed perform to qualifying levels. This Webinar will discuss the pilot verification program, results to date, and plans for future testing in 2011.

Target audience:
This Webinar is geared toward energy efficiency program sponsors, state rebate program administrators, retailers, utilities, and other energy efficiency advocates.

Richard Karney, Program Lead in Testing and Verification for the Buildings Technology Program at DOE.

This Webinar is free of charge, but you must register in advance to obtain the URL and password for logging on via the Internet, and the phone number to connect to the audio. Learn more about the Webinar.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Recent Library Acquisitions

Climate change, biodiversity and sustainability in the Americas : impacts and adaptations / Francisco Dallmeier ... [et al.], editors

Multinational enterprises and the challenge of sustainable development / edited by John R. McIntyre, Silvester Ivanaj, Vera Ivanaj

Leopold's shack and Ricketts's lab : the emergence of environmentalism / Michael J. Lannoo

Understanding environmental law / Philip Weinberg, Kevin A. Reilly

Deforestation and climate change : reducing carbon emmissions from deforestation and forest degradation / editors, Valentina Bosetti, Ruben N. Lubowski

The effects of air pollution on cultural heritage / John Watt ... [et al.], editors

Stars above, earth below : American Indians and nature / edited by Marsha C. Bol

Alternatives to the Indian Point Energy Center for meeting New York electric power needs / Committee on Alternatives to Indian Point for Meeting Energy Needs, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, National Research Council of the National Academies

Reef reborn [videorecording] / producer/director, Michael Balson

Hemingway oil and gas law and taxation / by Owen L. Anderson ... [et al.]
Oil panic and the global crisis : predictions and myths / Steven M. Gorelick

Treading softly : paths to ecological order / Thomas Princen

Environmental risk assessment and management from a landscape perspective / edited by Lawrence A. Kapustka, Wayne G. Landis

Pollution of lakes and rivers : a paleoenvironmental perspective / John P. Smol
Management of scarce water resources : a Middle Eastern experience / Hazim K. El-Naser

Call of life [videorecording] / a film by Species Alliance ; executive producer, David Ulansey ; directed by Monte Thompson ; produced by Chera Van Burg

Tigers [videorecording] : fighting back / produced by NHNZ in association with National Geographic Channel International; producer and writer, Alison Ballance

Panda nursery [videorecording] / producer and writer, Jayashree Panjabi ; producer, Tan Xiangjiang

Wild horses [videorecording] : return to China / writer and producer, Clive Copeman ; a co-production between Natural History New Zealand Ltd and Xinjiang Television China

Monday, August 2, 2010

Recent Law Review Articles -- August 2010

Malloy, Bonnie A. Student article. On thin ice: how a binding treaty regime can save the Arctic. 16 Hastings W.-Nw. J. Envtl. L. & Pol’y 471-511 (2010).

Hunter, David B. Human rights implications for climate change negotiations. 11 Or. Rev. Int’l L. 331-363 (2009).

May, James R. and Erin Daly. Vindicating fundamental environmental rights worldwide. 11 Or. Rev. Int’l L. 365-439 (2009).

Velasco, Hon. Presbitero J., Jr. Manila Bay: a daunting challenge in environmental rehabilitation and protection. 11 Or. Rev. Int’l L. 411-459 (2009).

Pring, George (Rock) and Catherine (Kitty) Pring. Specialized environmental courts and tribunals at the confluence between human rights and the environment. 11 Or. Rev. Int’l L. 301-329 (2009).

Allen, David N. Student article. The Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement: federal law, local compromise, and the largest dam removal project in history. 16 Hastings W.-Nw. J. Envtl. L. & Pol’y 427-468 (2010).

Metres, David M. Note. The national impact test: applying principled Commerce Clause analysis to federal environmental regulation. 61 Hastings L.J. 1035-1082 (2010).

Cannon, Joshua B. Note. Statutory stones and regulatory mortar: using negligence per se to mend the wall between farmers growing genetically engineered crops and their neighbors. 67 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 653-691 (2010).

Peck, Alison. Leveling the playing field in GMO risk assessment: importers, exporters and the limits of science. 28 B.U. Int’l L.J. 241-280 (2010).

Symposium: The Confluence of Human Rights and the Environment. Introduction by student Natalie Duke; articles by Svitlana Kravchenko, Jennifer M. Gleason, Elizabeth Mitchell, George (Rock) Pring, Catherine (Kitty) Pring, David B. Hunter, James R. May, Erin Daly and Hon. Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr.; note by Michelle P. Bassi. 11 Or. Rev. Int’l L. 225-477 (2009).

Kravchenko, Svitlana. Is access to environmental information a fundamental human right? 11 Or. Rev. Int’l L. 227-265 (2009).

Wells, Jennifer. Student article. In vino veritas: grapes, greed, and lawsuits in the Nappa Valley. 16 Hastings W.-Nw. J. Envtl. L. & Pol’y 515-540 (2010).

Coulter, Jessica R. Note. A sea change to change the sea: stopping the spread of the Pacific garbage patch with small-scale environmental legislation. 51 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1959-1995 (2010).

Bassi, Michelle P. La natuaraleza o pacha mama de Ecuador: what doctrine should grant trees standing? 11 Or. Rev. Int’l L. 461-477 (2009).

Gormley, Neil. Standing in the way of cooperation: citizen standing and compliance with environmental agreements. 16 Hastings W.-Nw. J. Envtl. L. & Pol’y 397-417 (2010).

Koppelman, Carol B. Student article. Anderson v. Evans: the Ninth Circuit harmonizes treaty rights and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. (Anderson v. Evans, 314 F.3d 1006, 2002, amended by, 371 F.3d 475, 2004.) 16 Hastings W.-Nw. J. Envtl. L. & Pol’y 353-394 (2010).

Papez, Jacqueline R. Comment. Native (hydro)power: alternative avenues for achieving Native control of natural resources in tribal lands, with focus on hydropower dams. (Confederated Salish & Kootenah Tribes of the Flathead Reservation v. Namen, 665 F.2d 951, 1982.) 46 Idaho L. Rev. 671-697 (2010).

Jeffery, Bill. Oops!—accidents happen: oil pollution prevention at onshore production facilities. 49 Washburn L.J. 493-525 (2010).

Bilder, Richard B. A legal regime for the mining of helium-3 on the Moon: U.S. policy options. 33 Fordham Int’l L.J. 243-299 (2010).

Beck, Robert E. Current water issues in oil and gas development and production: will water control what energy we have? 49 Washburn L.J. 423-455 (2010).

The Future Course of Oil & Gas Jurisprudence II. Articles by John S. Lowe, Owen L. Anderson, Bruce M. Kraner, Keith B. Hall, David E. Pierce, Thomas A. Mitchell, Robert E. Beck, Phillip E. Norvell, Kendor P. Jones and Bill Jeffrey. 49 Washburn L.J. 235-525 (2010).

Mitchell, Thomas A. The future of oil and gas conservation jurisprudence: past as prologue. 49 Washburn L.J. 379-422 (2010).

Kent, Michael B., Jr. Theoretical tension and doctrinal discord: analyzing development impact fees as takings. 51 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1833-1893 (2010).

McKinney, Matthew, et al. Managing transboundary natural resources: an assessment of the need to revise and update the Columbia River Treaty. 16 Hastings W.-Nw. J. Envtl. L. & Pol’y 307-350 (2010).

2010 World Population Datasheet

This report from the Population Reference Bureau finds that while the global population reached its first billion at some point around 1800, the world’s population now grows by 1 billion about every 12 years. The 20th century began with 1.6 billion and, at the end of that century, those two numbers had simply reversed to 6.1 billion. If birth rates continue to decline in developing countries, the increase to 8 billion could take slightly longer. As developed countries undergo aging and little growth in population size, developing countries remain young and growing. Key findings can be found on the summary sheet here

Wastewater Infrastructure Financing: Stakeholder Views on a National Infrastructure Bank and Public-Private Partnerships

This Government Accountability Office report (GAO-10-728 June 30, 2010) finds that communities will need hundreds of billions of dollars in coming years to construct and upgrade wastewater infrastructure. Policymakers have proposed a variety of approaches to finance this infrastructure, including the creation of a national infrastructure bank (NIB) and the increased use of privately financed public-private partnerships (PPP).

In this context, GAO was asked to identify (1) stakeholder views on issues to be considered in the design of an NIB and (2) the extent to which private financing has been used in wastewater PPPs and its reported advantages and challenges.

In conducting this work, GAO developed a questionnaire based on existing NIB proposals and administered it to 37 stakeholders with expertise in wastewater utilities, infrastructure needs, and financing; GAO received 29 responses from stakeholders with a variety of perspectives about an NIB. To determine the extent to which wastewater PPPs have been privately financed and their advantages and disadvantages, GAO identified and interviewed municipalities involved in privately financed PPPs and wastewater services companies, conducted case studies in states with privately financed PPPs, and conducted a literature review. GAO is not making any recommendations.