Monday, July 30, 2012

Spotlight: CITYADMIN New York Law School's Center for NYC Law

For many environmental lawyers practicing in New York City it is often difficult to locate administrative materials.  However, New York Law School's Center for New York City Law, CITYADMIN database now makes it possible to search  more than 80,000 opinions from 26 New York City agencies - among them New York City's Environmental Control Board (ECB).
The Center for New York City Law was founded in 1993 by New York Law School Professor Ross Sandler. The academic and public mission of the Center is to provide information about, and analysis of, the laws and legal processes that govern New York City. The Center seeks to make the City's government and decisions more fair, comprehensible and open to the public. The Center pursues its mission by scholarly research and writing and by widely disseminating information about New York City in accessible and easily understood formats.1.

To search ECB's appeals decisions check the box for ECB
See here ^
Then scroll down to add your keywords.  The database uses basic Boolean connectors such as AND; OR; quotes; and (-) minus.

Of interest, the site also allows users to search land use agency materials including the: Board of Standards & Appeals; City Council Committee on Land Use; City Planning Commission; Department of Buildings; Landmarks Preservation Commission; and the Loft Board.

Friday, July 27, 2012

In the News: Climate Change Perceptions

In an ironic confluence, several news articles and reports have been issued discussing public perceptions surrounding climate change.  While each article or resource that has been published discusses this issue in a slightly different way, the underlying theme of each is that while the populace acknowledges Climate Change, most people have very little interest in following the issue or have no ambition/ability to "do" anything about it.  For some of most recent articles and reports on this topic see below:

Debra Cassens Weiss, Law Prof Has an Explanation for Differing Opinions on Climate Change, A.B.A. J. (July 25, 2012). See also
Beth Gardner, We're All Climate-Change Idiots, NY Times (July 21, 2012).  See also
Eryn Brown, Many in Generation X are "Disengaged" on Climate Change, LA Times (July 19, 2012). See also

Thursday, July 26, 2012

GAO Report Released: EPA Needs Better Information on New Source Review Permits

Recently the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report, titled EPA Needs Better Information on New Source Review Permits GAO-12-590 (Jun 22, 2012).  The forty-four page report, available here, recommends that
EPA, among other actions, consider ways to develop a centralized source of data on NSR permits issued to electricity generating units. EPA expressed its commitment to filling gaps in its data systems, but disagreed with the actions GAO recommended. GAO believes that its recommendations would enhance oversight of NSR permitting and enforcement.
A virtually identical recommendation was made six years ago in report issued by the National Research Council in 2006 titled, New Source Review for Stationary Sources of Air PollutionFor more information about the current structure and permit reporting for New Source Review permits under the Clean Air Act (CAA), see the additional resources listed below.

Additional Resources:

New Source Review Publications, EPA, (last visited July 26, 2012).

New Source Review, Policy & Guidance, EPA, (last visited July 26, 2012).

Where You Live, NSR Permit Contacts, EPA, (last visited July 26, 2012) (organized by state).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Library Acquisitions -- Week of July 16th

Featured Book:
The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World's Greatest Creatures

Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence, The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World's Greatest Creatures (2012).
The Last Rhinos is a 326 page monograph that recounts the author's efforts to save the northern white rhino whose habitat is located in the war-ravaged Congo. The book, which is written in the first person, is the thrid authored by Anthony and Spence involving renown international conservationist Lawrence Anthony's efforts in Africa.  For a list of other books click here.  While not a legal text per se, the book provides invaluable insight into the actual struggles involved in preserving endangered species in third world countries.  Moreover the text is aptly named as Anthony tragically died of a heart attack prior to the publication of this book.

New Library Acquisitions:

A guide to federal agency rulemaking / Jeffrey S. Lubbers

Natural resource investment and Africa's development / edited by Francis N. Botchway

The last rhinos : my battle to save one of the world's greatest creatures / Lawrence Anthony ; with Graham Spence

The man who planted trees : lost groves, champion trees, and an urgent plan to save the planet / Jim Robbins 

China's climate change policies / chief editors Weiguang Wang, Guoguang Zheng ; deputy editors Jiahua Pan ... [et al.]


Environmental land use planning and management / John Randolph

Laws of the sea [electronic resource] : rights of seamen, coaster's & fisherman's guide, and master's and mate's manual ... / by I.R. Butts ; assisted by an attorney

Gunfight at the eco-corral : western cinema and the environment / Robin L. Murray and Joseph K. Heumann

In the News: Greenland's Petermann Glacier Fractures (Again)

Last week, a northern section of Greenland's Petermann Glacier calved creating a 46 mile iceberg.   The crack which seems to have taken scientists by surprise has lent an increase in urgency to issues such as sea level rise and climate change.  For those interested in more information, below please find some additional resources that may be of assistance to environmental legal researchers.


National Snow and Ice Data Center, (last visited July 25, 2012)

World Glacier Monitoring Service, (last visited July 25, 2012).

Petermann Glacier, Image of the Day, NASA, (last visited July 25, 2012).

Iceberg Breaks Off from Greenland's Petermann Glacier, BBC News (July 18, 2012), (video).

Joanna M. Foster, Green: Again, A Glacier Downsizes, NY Times (July 18, 2012),

Seth Borenstein, Petermann Glacier in Greenland Breaks Off Iceberg Twice the Size of Manhattan, Huffington Post (July 17, 2012),

Call for Papers: Pace Environmental Law Review & Nanotechnology

The Pace Environmental Law Review(PELR) will devote its winter journal to pressing issues in the development and regulation of nanotechnology. Jesse Glickstein and Sarah Wegmueller, the acquisition editors of PELR, would like to invite you to submit for publication an article or essay that discusses the intersection between nanotechnology and environmental issues. We encourage you to take an interdisciplinary approach to nanotechnology from legal and other perspectives, including technology, science, public health, economics, or policy. Authors should send an abstract and cover letter to The deadline for submissions of article proposals is September 30, 2012. Please feel free to email Jesse ( and Sarah ( with any questions.

Global Environmental Outlook (GEO 5) Released

In June, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released its report, Global Environmental Outlook 5 (GEO 5)The new, five hundred and fifty page report titled, Environment for the Future we Want, available here, is published periodically and is broken out into three parts including: State and Trends of the Environment; Policy Options; and Global Responses. 
The main goal of UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook (GEO) is to keep governments and stakeholders informed of the state and trends of the global environment. Over the past 15 years, the GEO reports have examined a wealth of data, information and knowledge about the global environment; identified potential policy responses; and provided an outlook for the future. The assessments, and their consultative and collaborative processes, have worked to bridge the gap between science and policy by turning the best available scientific knowledge into information relevant for decision makers.
Prior editions of the report are available from the GEO website:
GEO 1 (1997),
GEO 2 (2000),
GEO 3 (2002),
GEO 4 (2007),
GEO 5 (2012),

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In the News: Guar Gum in Hydraulic Fracking Fluid

Recently, the New York Times and other news outlets have reported that many poverty stricken areas in India have been the unwitting beneficiaries of a much needed financial boom from a very unlikely source -- guar beans, a small hard legume. The reason for this recent demand for the bean (or more specifically for the powder or concentrate produced from milling the bean) is similarly to its use as a thickening additive in ice cream, guar has become an essential ingredient in most hydraulic fracturing fluids by increasing viscosity. Below please find additional resources discussing the role of guar in fracking fluids.

Recent News Stories:
Gardiner Harris, In Tiny Bean, India’s Dirt-Poor Farmers Strike Gas-Drilling Gold, NY Times (July 16, 2012).

Christopher Helman, Fracking Boom Means Good Times For India's Guar Farmers, Forbes (July 17, 2012).

Meenakshi Sharma & Selam Gebrekidan, Shale Energy Triggers bean Rush in India, Reuters (May 28, 2012).

Scientific Resources:
Chemicals Use in Hydraulic Fracturing, Hearing Before the H. Comm. on Energy and Commerce, 112th Cong. (2011) (use Ctrl F to search for "guar").

EPA, Evaluation of Impacts to Underground Sources of Drinking Water by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs (2004) (see sec. 4.2.1 Linear Gels) full report.

Ahmad Bahamdan & William H. Daly, Poly(oxyalkylene) Grafts to Guar Gum with Applications in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids, Proceeding of the 8th Polymers for Advanced Technologies International Symposium Budapest, Hungary (Sept. 13-16, 2005).

Aung Kyaw et al., Fracturing Fluid (Guar Polymer Gel) Degradation Study by using Oxidative and Enzyme Breaker, 4 Res. J. of Applied Sci. Engineering & Tech. 1667 (2012).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Annual Energy Outlook Report 2012 Released

In June, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its most recent report, Annual Energy Outlook 2012 with Projections to 2035.  The two hundred and fifty plus page report which is available here (DOE/EIA-0383(2012)), "presents long-term projections of energy supply, demand, and prices through 2035, based on results from EIA’s National Energy Modeling System (NEMS)."  The report is broken out into the following sections including an executive summary, legislation and regulations section, issues in focus, and market trends research.  This report also contains a series of seven appendices on a variety of topics.  Of most interest to environmental researchers is the report's section on legislation and regulations which

discusses evolving legislative and regulatory issues, including a summary of recently enacted legislation and regulations, such as: the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December 2011 [1]; the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) as finalized by the EPA in July 2011 [2]; the new fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles published by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in September 2011 [3]; and regulations pertaining to the power sector in California Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 [4].
Prior editions of the report are available from the EIA's archive:




Monday, July 16, 2012

In the News: Public Trust Doctrine May Extend to the Air

On July 9th 2012, a 200th District Texas Civil Court held in a letter ruling in the case of Angela Bonser-Lain, et al. v Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, No. D-1-GN-11-002194 that the public trust doctrine "[i]ncludes all natural resources of the State" including the atmosphere.  Since District Court Judge Gisela D. Triana's opinion was issued, the Internet has exploded with news stories on this issue, however, few links are available to the primary source documents.  Below please find links to some key resources:

Related Documents:

Letter Ruling, Angela Bonser-Lain, et al. v Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,(Tex. 200th Dist July 9, 2012) (No. D-1-GN-11-002194),

Complaint, Angela Bonser-Lain, et al. v Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,(Tex. 200th Dist July 21, 2011) (No. D-1-GN-11-002194),

Texas Comm'n on Envtl. Quality, Interoffice Memorandum (June 3, 2011),

Letter from Bryan W. Shaw, Texas Comm'n on Envtl. Quality & Greg Abbott,  Attorney General of Texas to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson & Dr. Alfredo Armendariz, EPA Administrator Region 6 (Aug. 2, 2010),


Press Release, Our Children's Trust,Texas Court Recognizes the Atmosphere as a Public Trust Resource in Climate Change Lawsuit (July 10, 2012),

Daniel Firger, A Novel Use of the Public Trust Doctrine, Climate L. Blog (May 11, 2011)
Tim Mulvaney, Texas Court Finds the Atmosphere Protected under the Public Trust Doctrine, Envtl. L. Professor Blog (July 12, 2012),

Alexandra Klass, Federalism at Work: Recent Developments in Public Trust Lawsuits to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions, CPRBlog (July 13, 2012),


Karl S. Coplan, Public Trust Limits on Greenhouse Gas Trading Schemes: A Sustainable Middle Ground?, Pace L. Sch. Faculty Publ'ns (Sept. 1, 2009).
Mary Christina Wood, Law and Climate Change: Government’s Atmospheric Trust Responsibility, 38 Envtl. L. Reptr10652 (2008).

Tim Eichenberg, Sean Bothwell, & Darcy Vaughn, Climate Change and the Public Trust Doctrine: Using an Ancient Doctrine to Adapt to Rising Sea Levels in San Francisco Bay, 3 Golden Gate U. Envtl. L.J. 243 (2001).

Friday, July 13, 2012

In the News: Damages for Loss of a Pet

This week in the New York Law Journal Judge John H. Wilson authored an interesting op-ed on the issue of damages for the loss of a companion animal.  The article discusses the state of current case law in New York  as well as a new theory of recovery for damages under the Nassau County District Court case of Mercurio v. Weber, 2003 WL 21497325 (Dist Ct, Nassau Cty, 2003).  For more information see John, H. Wilson, Every Dog Will Have Its Day: Damages for Loss of a Pet, N.Y. L.J. July 9, 2012.

Related Resources

Animal Legal & Historical Center hosted by the Michigan State University College of Law is a comprehensive repository of cases, statutes, and articles dealing with animal law.  On of the Topics covered in this repository is "Damages in Pet Companion Animal Cases" see Overview and Cases and Research.

Animal Law Section, National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR), (last visited July 13, 2012) (industry site with links to state case law authorizing and denying non-economic damages)

William A. Reppy Jr., Punitive Damage Awards in Pet-Death Cases, 1 J. Animal L. & Ethics 19 (2006).

Mark Sadler, Can the Injured Pet Owner Look to Liability Insurance for Satisfaction of a Judgment? The Coverage Implications of Damages for the Injury or Death of a Companion Animal, 11 Animal L. 283 (2005).

New Library Acquisitions -- Week of July 9th

Featured Book:

John H. Hartig, Burning Rivers: Revival of Four Urban-Industrial Rivers that Caught on Fire (2011). Burning Rivers is a 180 page monograph discussing the environmental histories and subsequent revival of the Buffalo, Chicago, Cuyahoga and Rouge Rivers - four tributaries of the Great Lakes that caught on fire in the last century because of extensive industrial pollution.  This text provides a brief overview of the rivers and their history.  The Introduction is then followed by a chapter focusing on the fires themselves.  The remainder of the book is dedicated to four chapters discussing the history and successful revival efforts at each of the river sites ending with a Conclusion focusing on lessons learned.  This primarily historic text is chock-full of pictures, graphs and other illustrations (black and white).  An all together interesting read for any law student interested in the origins of environmentalism in the United States.

New Library Acquisitions:

Rising global interest in farmland : can it yield sustainable and equitable benefits? / Klaus Deininger and Derek Byerlee ; with Jonathan Lindsay...[et al.]

The biomass assessment handbook : bioenergy for a sustainable environment / edited by Frank Rosillo-Calle ... [et al.]

Climate change and Australia : warming to the global challenge / Ben Saul ... [et al.]

Natural hazards, unnatural disasters : the economics of effective prevention / The United Nations, The World Bank

A new agenda for sustainability / edited by Kurt Aagaard Nielsen ... [et al.]

The Tappan Zee Bridge : where do we go from here? : a case study presenting a metropolitan regional area, mass transportation master plan / by Robert T. Hintersteiner

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Environmental Law Research Reports: Subsidies with Responsibilities

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) just published a new Research Report titled, Subsidies with Responsibilities: Placing Stewardship and Disclosure Conditions on Government Payments to Large-Scale Commodity Crop Operations.  This report is currently downloadable for free from the Institute.
This Environmental Law Institute report recommends that large-scale commodity crop operations that opt to receive any form of federal farm subsidy, including subsidized crop insurance, be assigned responsibility for: putting in place basic measures to reduce water pollution from fertilizer runoff; and disclosing information to the public about the quantity, type, and timing of fertilizers they apply. Runoff from the production of major commodity crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat can contribute significantly to downstream water pollution. Many farming operations already implement stewardship measures, yet nutrient pollution remains a significant national problem. 
For the uninitiated, ELI Research Reports contain "the analysis and conclusions of the policy studies the [ELI] undertakes to improve environmental law." Most of the older reports on this site are available for free (pdf format) from the organization with the proviso that the User provide their email address; other reports are available for purchase for a nominal fee.  A database of reports is available at  Users can search by title, author, or keyword or in the alternative, they can chose from a subject specifc list including:

  • Africa Program
  • Air
  • Biodiversity and Invasive Species
  • Climate Change
  • Community Environmental Health and Education
  • Conservation
  • Contaminated Sites/Brownfields
  • Educational Programs and Materials
  • Energy and Innovation
  • Enforcement and Compliance
  • Environmental Consequences of War
  • Environmental Information
  • Environmental Justice
  • Environmental Management and Governance
  • Federal and State Relations
  • India Program
  • Indoor Environments and Green Building
  • Inter-American Program
  • International
  • International (all available publications)
  • International Governance
  • Mining
  • Nanotechnology
  • NEPA
  • Oceans
  • Pollution Prevention
  • Public Participation
  • Sustainable Development
  • Sustainable Use of Land
  • Water Management and Governance
  • Water Pollution Prevention
  • Wetlands
  • Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    Spotlight: Water Resources Collections and Archive

    The Water Resources Collections and Archives (WRCA), located on the campuses of the University of California Riverside and California State University, San Bernadino, was founded in 1958 in order “to collect, organize and make accessible information about water in all its manifestations.” The WRCA was originally designed as both a library and an archive so as “to preserve and make accessible unique technical information about all aspects of water in the West, [both] nationally and internationally.” Now recognized as one of the preeminent water law archives in the country, the collection is of interest to researchers focusing on water rights, dams, floods, rivers, aquifers and other water related issues in environmental legal history.

    The archive’s collection which is searchable through the University’s Scotty Catalog and through the Online Archive of California is organized into five categories including, archival manuscripts, digital materials, maps, photographs, oral histories and
    consists of more than 200,000 technical reports, 1,500 specialized newsletters, over 5,000 archival maps, and hundreds of videos. In addition, WRCA manages over 200 archival collections, and has more than 100,000 historic photographs and aerial photographs that document the history of water development in the West.
    For an article discussing the archive in more detail click here.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012

    In July, the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) released its 2012 edition of the The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture Report.  The report which is released every two years is now available as a pdf from the FAO's website:  Older versions of the report, dating back to 1994 are available here:

    If you are looking for additional documents related to aquaculture and fisheries from this organization it may also be advisable to visit the FAO's Corporate Document Repository available here:  The Repository has links on the left-hand sidebar for a quick subject-matter sort of full-text articles and documents (including a link for Fisheries Aquaculture Management and Conservation).  In the alternative, the Repository offers an Advanced Search  feature (accessible on the top of the left-hand sidebar).  Readers should note that while the Advanced Search offers more options including dates, ISBN, language, country, etc. the keyword search should generally be avoided as it is not as refined as the subject-specific quick-links. 
    In addition other publications and documents (including select full-text pdfs) are available from the FAO's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department including: Fisheries Technical Papers; Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries; Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries; Fisheries Circulars and Reports; International Plans of Action; and Yearbooks of Fishery Statistics.

    A New Direction...

    Dear Readers,
    As Jack noted, my name is Taryn Rucinski and I am the new Environmental Law Librarian at Pace Law School.  I have a significant background in and passion for environmental law so I having the opportunity to work to support PEN-e is truly a dream come true.

    Over the past few years Associate Director Jack McNeil has done an amazing job of getting PEN-e off the ground and recognized as one of the best environmental law blogs in the country.  Jack is a true professional and I hope that I can continue what he has so ably started.  I would also like to thank him for all of his amazing work... Thank you Jack!

    In the upcoming weeks and months new enhancements will start to trickle into the current PEN-e blog format.  Some of the changes will reflect a more rigorous dynamic with the renown Pace Environmental Law program while others might be more technical in nature.  Please be patient with us during this transition as we hope that the changes will make your reading experience all the better! 

    Friday, July 6, 2012

    New Editor

    PEN-e will be getting a new editor, Taryn Ruciniski, who will be taking over immediately.  Taryn is taking on my position as Environmental Librarian for Pace Law School while I move on the support the Health Law program.  It has been fun starting this blog and keeping everyone informed.  PEN-e has won awards and gone from zero to over 30,000 hits from all over the world in two years.  PEN-e is linked to by a number of posters and has a great following.

    Taryn is Pace Law Library's newest reference librarian.  She graduated cum laude with her B.A. in history from The College of New Jersey in 1999, cum laude from Pace with her J.D. and certificate in environmental law in 2010, and cum laude with her M.L.I.S. from St.  John’s University Division of Library and Information Science in 2012.  During law school she was the editor in chief for the Pace Environmental Law Review and a semi-finalist for the Pace Moot Court Competition.  Moreover, as a law student she also interned with Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith, S.D.N.Y., the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic.  Prior to attending law school, she worked as a state investigator with New Jersey Attorney General’s Office
    I am confident that Taryn will not only carry on but do an even better job of keeping everyone connected to important environmental resources.  Taryn will, more than likely, also have some great new ideas to enhance PEN-e, so keep posted.

    See ya'

    Jack McNeill