Lithium-Ion Batteries; Too Good to be True?

Irony alert: that lithium battery powering up the laptop, smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch that is allowing you to view this article—which is likely the same breed of battery powering your digital camera, your teenager’s vape pen, your electric toothbrush, your father’s pacemaker, and your prized Tesla—though indeed a technological marvel, may also be contaminating your drinking water, eroding natural resources, and harming the environment in ways as copious as its innovative applications.

Truth be told, in a world consumed by climate crisis chatter and threatened …

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A Black Friday Sale on Federal Oil and Gas Leases?!

This past Black Friday, while the rising cost of gas dominated the news and Americans began digging into their Thanksgiving leftovers, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a report concerning federal oil and gas leasing, prepared pursuant to Executive Order 14008. This order was signed by President Biden just days after he was inaugurated into office, placing a moratorium on federal oil and gas lease sales. Although the report does not recommend a total ban on oil and gas leasing on federal land, it …

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The Renaissance of the Pistachio to Achieve Net Zero Carbon Emissions

So you thought pistachio was just an underrated ice cream flavor or the in-vogue topping to that savory encrusted salmon recipe trending on social media. Think again—pistachios (along with some other unexpected resources) have upped their culinary game and are helping to decarbonize the cement industry by serving as an alternate, carbon-free fuel source for industrial manufacturers. The cement industry may take the credit for tapping into this underutilized resource, more specifically the pistachio shell, to fuel its cement kilns. However, Turkey was first keen …

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White House Proposes Modifications to Trump Administration’s Changes to NEPA Regulations

On October 6, 2021, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed modifications to provisions of its regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act. NEPA is a federal law that requires all federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of any proposed actions as part of its decision making. The proposed rule is the first of a two-phase rulemaking process, which would reverse changes to NEPA that went into effect during the Trump Presidency after being in place for decades prior to such modifications. …

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No Asylum from Microplastics: How Recent Studies May Spark a Flood of Environmental Litigation

In a world where everything is supersized, or perhaps more appropriately venti sized (because let’s be honest, anything less than a venti pumpkin latte is simply not adequate), we tend to overlook what isn’t pronounced. However, recent headlines involving the fate of our littlest constituents remind us that we should be paying more attention to the inconspicuous things in life for, as it turns out, the microsized may be the most threatening. Yes, it is arguably Darwinian to disregard the discreet dangers, ones that we …

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California’s Latest Oil Spill Poses Urgent Energy Questions

Around 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, October 2, 2021, the United States Coast Guard was notified that Amplify Energy’s 17-mile San Pedro Pipeline, off California’s Huntington Beach coastline, was leaking. By Sunday morning, birds and fish were washing up onshore, covered in oil, and the beaches were closed to a concerned public. Days later, there are still more questions than answers about what is already shaping up to be one of California’s largest oil spills in the state’s history, having already resulted in at least …

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Biden Administration Takes Steps to Advance Sustainable Fuel Use in Aviation Industry

In early September, President Biden released a fact sheet describing steps taken by the administration to advance innovation and the use of cleaner and more sustainable fuels in the American aviation industry, with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% by 2030 and reaching a zero-carbon aviation sector by 2050. According to the fact sheet, the aviation industry is responsible for 11% of transportation-related emissions in the United States, with that share expected to increase in the future. Meanwhile, less than 1% …

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The “Green” Fashion Police and the Renaissance of the Fashion Industry

Sustainability is the new black dress in the fashion world. As the need to address climate change becomes more urgent, it is no longer fashion forward, hip, or trendy to walk the red carpet in non-durable apparel/garments. Likewise, designers and textile manufacturers who neglect to embrace the paradigm shift toward making fashion a remedy for climate change will likely be left behind.

The fashion value chain is complex and threatening to the environment, with greenhouse gas emissions generated from the beginning to the end of …

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Ethylene Oxide—Back in the Spotlight with 150 New Lawsuits

Ethylene oxide (EtO) is a chemical long used to sterilize products that cannot be sterilized with steam, such as medical equipment and surgical devices. One of 187 hazardous air pollutants that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates, EtO has been shown to cause various cancers when inhaled over time. In December 2016, the EPA concluded that EtO gas, a human carcinogen, was more dangerous than previously thought, and updated its risk value. Although the EPA subsequently moved to update rules under the Clean Air Act …

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Homeowner Associations in New York to Make Way for Solar Power

Homeowner Associations (HOAs) are given broad authority in New York State to enforce covenants, conditions, and restrictions in efforts to manage a community of homes. Absent an unlawful purpose or improper internal procedures, HOAs have been largely permitted to develop and manage their properties as they deem fit. This broad authority included an HOA’s ability to prohibit a homeowner from installing a solar power system on his or her property. However, as New York continues to adopt various green initiatives, this is set to change.…

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