Let’s Move! – But Not Toward Labeling GMOs

Posted by on Saturday, April 19th, 2014 in Environmental Law, The MJEAL Blog | 0 comments

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently proposed updates to the Nutrition Facts label. The amendments are aimed at “provid[ing] updated nutrition information on the label and improve[ing] how the nutrition information is presented to consumers.”[1] First Lady Michelle Obama has enthusiastically supported these revisions in connection with her Let’s Move! initiative: “Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the...

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What are the “waters of the United States”? Re-defining or clarifying EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act?

Posted by on Saturday, April 19th, 2014 in Administrative Law, Environmental Law, The MJEAL Blog | 0 comments

The Clean Water Act (CWA) is designed, “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” 33 U.S.C.A. § 1251. The Act declares an ambitious goal for the United States, “It is the national goal that the discharge of pollutants into the navigable waters be eliminated by 1985;” Id. Unfortunately, many of the key terms within the statute are somewhat vague and require very different practical applications depending on their interpretations. These conflicting interpretations make...

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Teslas’s Long Road to Direct Sales

Posted by on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 in Environmental Law, The MJEAL Blog | 0 comments

On April 1st of this year, Tesla was banned from selling cars in New Jersey. Jim Appleton, the President of the New Jersey Coalition of Automobile Retails (NJ CAR) was riding high off the victory and could not stop himself from sticking a barb to Elon Musk, Tesla’s co-founder: “If you’re an internet billionaire, maybe you think the world revolves around you, and the world springs from your laptop. Well, I got news for [Musk]. This is not a new law, Tesla is operating illegally, and as of April 1st, they will be out of business unless...

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Are Belizean Protected-Lands Safe From Oil?

Posted by on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 in Environmental Law, The MJEAL Blog | 0 comments

Deforestation and habitat destruction in tropical rainforests have long been a concern for conservationists. The country of Belize has fared better than many countries in protecting its bio-diverse habitats; for instance, approximately 93 percent of Belize is covered by forests, housing more than 220 tree species and 350 species of birds.[i] Further, Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world, and the second largest population of West Indian Manatees.[ii] However, recent petroleum development condoned by the Belizean government...

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Should agencies be allowed to issue interpretive rules without public input?

Posted by on Sunday, April 13th, 2014 in Administrative Law, The MJEAL Blog | 0 comments

The Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) states that agencies must engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking, a three-step process that requires agencies to notify and solicit public feedback, before promulgating a legally binding regulation.[i]  The APA does not, however, require notice-and-comment for “interpretative rules, general statements of policy, or rules of agency organization . . . or practice.”[ii]  Whether agencies should be allowed to issue interpretive rules without soliciting public input is an important and evolving...

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Defining “Water”: EPA and Corps of Engineers’ Proposed Rule to Clarify Jurisdiction is a Positive Step Towards Greater Environmental Protection

Posted by on Sunday, April 13th, 2014 in Administrative Law, Environmental Law, The MJEAL Blog | 0 comments

 On March 25, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) announced that a proposal for a new rule defining “waters of the United States” as it appears in the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) would be appearing in the Federal Register for notice and comment in the coming weeks.[i] The definition is meant to clarify the scope of federal jurisdiction under the CWA, including the reach of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permitting program, the oil spill prevention and...

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Plastic Bag Bans: California Moving Toward a Statewide Solution

Posted by on Saturday, April 12th, 2014 in Environmental Law, The MJEAL Blog | 0 comments

Over the past few years local plastic bag ban campaigns have been gaining momentum, particularly in California and other coastal states. Environmentalists encourage the bans because the plastic bags currently used in most retail check-out stands are not easily recyclable. In addition, almost all of the 400 plastic bags used per second in California are discarded.[i] Plastic bags end up in landfills, on city streets, or in water bodies where they can take up to hundreds of years to decompose and release tiny toxic bits as they do.[ii] In...

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One small step for Cape Wind, one giant leap for domestic offshore wind development?

Posted by on Friday, April 11th, 2014 in Administrative Law, Environmental Law, The MJEAL Blog | 0 comments

March was a significant month for the Cape Wind project: the utility-scale wind farm proposed for the waters off of Cape Cod would be the first of its kind in the United States. Last month, Cape Wind secured an additional $400 million in financing, bringing its total fundraising to $1.3 billion or about half of the project’s estimated cost of $2.5 billion.[i] The project also prevailed last month in federal court, defeating numerous challenges to federal agency authorizations of the project.[ii] The wind farm has seen well-organized and...

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Government Clashes with Property Owners Over Unused Railroad Tracks

Posted by on Friday, April 11th, 2014 in Administrative Law, Environmental Law, The MJEAL Blog | 0 comments

The conflict between private property and public land is nothing new. Property rights have shaped the way in which American society was structured from the moment Europeans reached the New World. Although there have been instances where conservationists have been able to use property rights to their advantage, such as in buying up land that houses sensitive environments, the relationship between conservation and property has typically been rocky. For example, legislation such as the Endangered Species Act allows the federal government to...

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Concerns Raised by the Wave of Hydrofracking in the US

Posted by on Thursday, April 10th, 2014 in Administrative Law, Environmental Law, The MJEAL Blog | 0 comments

Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as “hydrofracking,” is a controversial mining technique that allows natural gas and oil industry developers to reach otherwise unattainable deposits of shale gas.[i] There are varying techniques currently in use, but the general process involves pumping fluids at high pressures into underground wells to force out either oil or natural gas.[ii] The composition of this ‘fluid’ is generally unknown because disclosure is not required by industry groups, but it is estimated that some fluid mixtures...

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