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Gathering information about the economic and social health of your community is an essential first step in launching any type of advocacy campaign, social enterprise or venture. Data helps you understand the needs of your neighborhood, helping to ensure that your advocacy efforts are tailored to the real challenges of the community and not the assumed needs.
The report examines energy use and where energy emissions come from, with a focus on how to develop sustainable transportation systems, reducing emissions in the electric power sector, industrial sector, and to promote energy saving opportunities amoung residents.
Clean energy policies can create jobs, support local business in green markets, and ensure residents have access to jobs created. This brief helps guide you on how to make the most of green investments. After reviewing the City of Oberlin’s energy use and emissions, several policy options and best practices were identified for five energy-using and emission-producing sectors: (1) upgrading the electricity system, (2) greening the commercial and industrial sector to reduce energy costs for firms, (3) enabling anchor institutions in the community to reduce energy use and cost, (4) making the transportation system more sustainable while promoting smart growth and complete street principles, and (5) promote energy savings for Oberlin residents in their homes. By adopting policy options and best practices, communities can spur local investments in the green economy.
Currently 83 percent of the energy consumed in the United States is from fossil fuels. This in turn creates 81 percent of the United States' emissions of greenhouse gases, is the principle source of air pollution, and leads to major environmental problems where the fuel is extracted from the ground. Increasing the share of non-fossil energy involves a switch from the fuels that took tens of millions of years to form under the ground, to sources that are constantly renewed. This column is devoted to the legal aspects involved in increasing the share of the energy that we use that comes from renewable sources. The author points to six legal techniques that have been developed to increase the use of renewable energy: 1) Portfolio Standards 2)Mandatory Utility Purchases 3)Renewable Fuel Standards 4)Carbon Price 5) Tax Incentives and 6)Research and Development. In addition to this, the author points to six impediments to the growth of renewables: 1)Intermittency 2)Fossil Subsidies 3)Capital Availability 4)Turnover Rate of Capital Plant 5)Scale and Timing and 6)Siting and Environmental Impacts.
In recent years the frequency and severity of heavy precipitation and floods in parts of the United States have been increasing to a statistically significant degree, and this trend is expected to worsen. This article summarizes some of the liability issues that result from floods, and efforts to control them. Under governmental liability, the author highlights multiple participating factors including sovereign immunity, structural measures, nonstructural measures, flood-related regulations, and land use regulations. Under private liability, the column points to issues regarding neighboring property owners, dams and other obstructions, overflow, insurance, utilities, and design professionals. Lastly, the author draws upon the Hurricane Katrina Case where the U.S. Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in an important case on flood liability.
On June 20, 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in "American Electric Power v. Connecticut." This is the second climate change case to be decided by that court and the first to concern common law claims, where the plaintiffs claimed that the greenhouse gases from power plants constitute a common law nuisance, and asked the court to issue an injunction requiring the plants to reduce their emissions. The Supreme Court ruled that these kinds of disputes do not belong in the courts, and that the problems of climate change are so diffuse and nonspecific that no one has standing to go to court to challenge any governmental failure to act. This decision resolves a few issues but left many others open including: 1) whether the Supreme Court's decision bars all federal common law nuisance claims, or only those that sought injunctive relief and 2) whether the Clean Air Act preempts state public nuisance litigation over GHGs. The Supreme Court ruling along with the ensuing climate change litigations, such as challenges to federal regulations, state regulations, coal plants, and environmental impact reviews, are the subject of this report.
The courts decided 37 cases under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in 2010. As is usually the case, defendants were much more likely to win in cases where an environmental impact statement (EIS) had been prepared than when these was no EIS. Of the 16 cases with an EIS, defendants won 13; of the 19 cases without and EIS, defendants won 13. Thus preparing an EIS continues to be generally the safest course from a litigation perspective. In this article, the author looks at the administrative activity under SEQRA with an eye to the affect of environmental impact statements. Specifically, the author looks at suits by applicants, EIS alternatives, standing of plaintiffs, ripeness of cases, supplemental EIS, environmental assessments, smart growth, and lastly, the Sea Level Rise Task Force.
This legal guide provides a practical cross-border insight into environment and climate change law oriented towards the international business community. It discusses a range of topics including, but not limited to, contaminated land, waste, liabilities, asbestos, and emissions trading.
On June 20, 2011, the U.S. Supreme court issued its much-anticipated decision in 'American Electric Power v. Connecticut,' the second climate change case to be decided by that Court and the first to concern common law claims. The decision resolves a few issues but leaves many others open. In this article, Michael B. Gerrard explains this Supreme Court decision where it was ruled that federal common law nuisance claims could not proceed as the EPA has ultimate authority on the regulation of carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants. From this decision, the author describes various questions that were left unanswered, including whether or not the Clean Air Act preempts state public nuisance litigation over GHGs in addition to whether the Supreme Court's decision bars all federal common law nuisance claims, or only those that sought injunctive relief.
The New York State Legislature on June 22, 2011, overwhelmingly passed the Power NY Act of 2011. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it on Aug. 4. The new law revives Article X of the Public Service Law after a nearly nine-year hibernation. As before, the law creates a one-stop, state-led program for permitting electric generating facilities while preempting local requirements. But the new Article X differs from its predecessor in several important ways: It covers facilities as small as 25 megawatts, it has even more generous provisions for funding intervenors, and it requires important new rules on environmental justice and carbon dioxide emissions. In this article, the author provides some background and history into Article X. In addition to this, the author explains the workings of the new version of Article X, including its siting board, pre-application and application processes, hearing and decision processes, and lastly, its impact on environmental justice.