The Future of Oxy-Coal Combustion: FutureGen 2.0 and the Illinois Commerce Commission

Presently, the two main technologies capable of allowing coal-fired power plants to generate power on a commercial scale with near zero carbon emissions are Oxy-Coal Combustion (“Oxy-Coal”) and Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (“IGCC”).[1]  Several commercial scale projects will use or are already using IGCC technology;[2] however, only one commercial scale project is planning to use… Continue reading The Future of Oxy-Coal Combustion: FutureGen 2.0 and the Illinois Commerce Commission

Choices and Challenges: The Future of Climate Change Litigation

Much has been written and studied on the topic of global warming since Svante Arrhenius—drawing on the earlier work of Joseph Fourier—first hypothesized in 1896 that the level of water vapor in the atmosphere increases as CO2 levels increase, that the presence of additional water vapor enhances the heat-trapping effects of CO2,[1] and that fossil… Continue reading Choices and Challenges: The Future of Climate Change Litigation

First U.S. National Ocean Policy Established – Congress Just Needs to Support It

Our oceans and coasts are in crisis.[1] Faced with the devastating impacts of global warming, overfishing, industrialization, and pollution,[2] the health of marine ecosystems are at a tipping point and deteriorating rapidly. In 2010, President Obama issued an Executive Order[3] that created America’s first National Ocean Policy. This new national policy created a window of… Continue reading First U.S. National Ocean Policy Established – Congress Just Needs to Support It

The Antarctic Treaty: How Amending the Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure Can Save the Only Place Left on Earth as it Should Be

There are few places left in our industrialized world that have been left untouched.  Antarctica, never having a native population, is one of these unique wild places that have somehow escaped the grasp of human pillage. [1]  Referred to as “Earth’s last great wilderness,” this uninhabited land indicates how humans have impacted the world and… Continue reading The Antarctic Treaty: How Amending the Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure Can Save the Only Place Left on Earth as it Should Be

Is Public Commenting on Future Proposed Rules by the National Marine Fisheries Service at Risk?

Over time, fishing has evolved from a sustenance-based activity to a lucrative commercial industry.[1] This shift from sustenance to commercial fishing, however, is not without its consequences. The high economic value of certain marine life has encouraged overfishing and, consequently, decimation of certain fish populations.[2] As a species becomes increasingly threatened and harder to obtain,… Continue reading Is Public Commenting on Future Proposed Rules by the National Marine Fisheries Service at Risk?

When it Comes to the Clean Air Act’s Routine Maintenance, Repair, and Replacement Exception, Everyone’s a Loser

In late September, the Middle District of Louisiana added to the growing number of district court cases weighing in on the Clean Air Act’s Routine Maintenance, Repair, and Replacement (RMRR) exception.[1] At least two commentators have called Louisiana Generating a clear “win” for EPA,[2] but this conclusion greatly oversimplifies the issue. When it comes to… Continue reading When it Comes to the Clean Air Act’s Routine Maintenance, Repair, and Replacement Exception, Everyone’s a Loser

Wyoming v. U.S. Department of Agriculture: Good News for Conservationists, But the Roadless Rule Is Not Out of the Woods Just Yet

On October 1, 2012, the Supreme Court denied two petitions for writ of certiorari seeking to strike down the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.[i]  The Court’s order leaves intact the decision of the Tenth Circuit, which upheld the Roadless Rule in 2011.[ii]  The Roadless Rule was promulgated by the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service on January… Continue reading Wyoming v. U.S. Department of Agriculture: Good News for Conservationists, But the Roadless Rule Is Not Out of the Woods Just Yet

We Want You! (To be a Permanent High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Site)

The Fukushima Daiichi plant meltdowns and subsequent explosions in Japan exposed the dangers of the storage plans for spent high level radioactive waste[1] (HLW) currently used by the United States.[2]  The United States stores nearly 65,000 metric tons[3] of HLW in water tanks or concrete casks within operating nuclear power plants or on the grounds… Continue reading We Want You! (To be a Permanent High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Site)

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Approves First Nuclear Reactors Since 1978

  On February 9, 2012, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (“NRC” or the “Commission”), by a four-to-one vote, granted licenses to the Southern Nuclear Operating Company (“SNOC”) to build and operate two new nuclear reactors at SNOC’s existing Vogtle Electric Generating site near Waynesboro, Georgia.[1]  This action marked the first time the NRC had… Continue reading Nuclear Regulatory Commission Approves First Nuclear Reactors Since 1978

Exportation of Spent Batteries Harms Mexicans

Recent EPA standards regulating the recycling of lead may be good for the United States, but they can be deadly for Mexico.[1]  These standards make the recycling of lead batteries more costly and burdensome, but do not restrict the export of the waste.[2]  As a result, companies are shipping their spent lead batteries to Mexico,… Continue reading Exportation of Spent Batteries Harms Mexicans