A River Runs Through Glacier National Park in Montana

Green Amendments and the Rise of Environmental Constitutional Rights

There has been a recent push across the country placing “green amendments” at the forefront of the fight to combat climate change and promote environmental justice. Analogous to the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, such as freedom of speech or freedom of religion, a green amendment is an amendment to a state Constitution’s Bill of Rights that guarantees its citizens the inalienable right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment. These amendments serve to create a constitutional mandate that every citizen has a …

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Pollution Factory Smoke in Air with Sky Bad for the Environment

California Enacts First of Its Kind Legislation Requiring Climate Emissions Information

Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted into law two bills, both of which will — for the first time in any U.S. state — require large companies doing business within the state to release a wide array of climate emissions information. Specifically, on October 7, Newsom signed into law Senate Bills (SB) 253 and SB 261, which affect both private and public businesses and their accountability towards what carbon footprint they are making in the state and their climate-related financial risks.

These new …

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"justice concept, selective focus on nearest part ,lens blur f/x"

This Month in PFAS: June 2023

The month of June saw major developments related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) litigation and legislation at the state and federal level — particularly in massive settlements, proposed legislation, and the delay of the nation’s first state-level PFAS reporting requirements.

The month began with chemical companies DuPont, Chemours, and Corteva striking a deal worth more than $1.1 billion with water companies around the United States to settle drinking-water claims related to PFAS. The settlement was followed by an additional $10.3 billion settlement by 3M …

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Front Refrigerator

DC Circuit Pours Cold Water on Global Warming Legislation

Refrigeration technology has come a long way since ancient Chinese cultures harvested ice from frozen lakes and desperately tried to keep them insulated in ice cellars more than a thousand years ago. The technology advanced through the subsequent centuries, culminating in an exponential explosion of growth over the last hundred years or so, with the advent of artificial refrigerants in the 19-teens and 20s. Still, these early-model units relied on toxic, foul-smelling gases such as ammonia and sulfur dioxide as condensing agents, resulting in fatalities …

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Aerial view to industrial zone and technology park.

New York State Passes Landmark Environmental Justice Legislation

On the final day of 2022, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law the Cumulative Impacts Bill (CIB), which both houses of New York State’s legislature had passed eight months earlier in the year (language here: S.8830 and A.2103D). The legislation amends New York’s Environmental Quality Review Act by now requiring the State to consider during its permitting approval and renewal processes an analysis of the “cumulative impacts” on overburdened communities that could result over time from the introduction or expansion of facilities …

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Massive California Wild Fire forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes, wildfires spreading rapidly, escaping to save their lives, destroyed silhouette, natural calamity

Politics Threaten Passage Of Wildfire Mitigation Bills

Lawmakers from both parties, in both houses of Congress, have proposed bills intended to speed up forest-management projects that reduce wildfire fuels, like brush and small trees, which can cause large-scale fires of the sort seen in Western states over the past few years.  The House has already passed the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act (“WRDRA”), a package of 49 bills that, among other things, will provide investments to improve fire-adapted ecosystems, protect communities against catastrophic wildfires, and enhance drought resiliency.  The Senate, on …

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Last week, through the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) publication of a final rule at the close of phase one of a two-phase rulemaking process, the Biden administration began its efforts to reverse the prior administration’s reworking of the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Originally signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970, NEPA requires federal agencies to assess environmental, social, and economic impacts of any activities those agencies are seeking to undertake. The list of such actions is broad, but …

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What’s Required Under the SEC’s Proposed Climate-Related Disclosure Act

On Monday, March 21, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a new rule aimed at requiring public companies to disclose extensive climate-related data to not only the federal government, but also their shareholders. More specifically, the proposed rule, entitled The Enhancements and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors, would amend the SEC’s rules under the Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The proposed rule aims to provide investors a better understanding of the risks that climate change poses to companies.

Chair …

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New Legislation Poised to Bolster Growing Electric Vehicle Network

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, electric vehicles (EVs) are not going anywhere.

While currently expected to account for only 5.4% of all new car sales in the U.S. in 2022, some analysts project this percentage will jump to almost 30% by 2030. Recent federal legislation aims to address this ever-expanding demand for a larger, more reliable EV network. On November 15, 2021, Congress enacted, and President Biden signed into law, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

While the $1.2 trillion IJJA certainly offers …

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House Takes Steps to Require EPA Regulation of PFAs

On July 21, 2021, the United States House of Representatives passed the PFAS Action Act of 2021 (Act) that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action to regulate two per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances. PFAS are commonly known as “forever chemicals” due to their ability to persist in the environment, including drinking water supply systems, the human body, and in animal populations as well. The use of PFAS chemicals has been widespread throughout the world as a result of their resistance to …

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