Environmental Law

General

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Environmental Crimes Law Conference – St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands    

Source: Legal Scholarship Blog

August 05, 2019

The Common Good Foundation in partnership with The Resolution CentreJersey Law Commission, and The Resolution Journal, is hosting an Environmental Crimes Law Conference October 31st and November 1st2019 in St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands.

The purpose of the conference is to bring together diverse professionals from different disciplines to discuss emerging trends and responses to environmental crimes. The conference welcomes papers on topics such as (but not limited to):

  • Wildlife crimes
  • Environmental criminal laws, policies, or prosecutions
  • The impact of environmental crimes on specific communities
  • Environmental/Social movements which respond to or address an environmental crime
  • Technological responses to environmental crime

All papers that are accepted will have an opportunity for publication in The Resolution Journal, an open access law journal.

The conference fee will be £150 per person. All expenses will be paid for by the attendee, there are no stipends offered for travel or other expenses. Further information for registration will be posted by September.

If you are interested in presenting, please submit the following to Regina Paulose: (reginapaulose@gmail.com):

  • A brief bio
  • Abstract – 300 words

The deadline for abstract submission is Friday, August 30, 2019.  Notifications of acceptance will be delivered by early September.

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Derecho Ambiental / Environmental Law

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UK commits to ending greenhouse gas emissions by 2050         

Source: Jurist

June 14, 2019

-United Kingdom-

British Prime Minister Teresa May issued a statement Wednesday committing to passing legislation aimed at reducing the UK’s climate change emissions to net zero by 2050.

The UK government has been under increasing pressure to address its role in global climate change in recent weeks, as a series of highly public protests and sit-ins disrupted travel and business across London. Calling themselves the Extinction Rebellion, the student-led group demanded that the country commit to aggressively combating climate change, including the elimination of greenhouse gasses by 2025. While May’s proposed plan is less ambitious, the legislation is among the first of its kind proposed by the largest countries in the world. In her press release, May said that Britain “led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth.”

The UN recently published a report showing that human-caused climate change is worsening at an increasing rate and imploring world governments to act quickly to try to mitigate the effects. Likewise, in November a group of 13 US agencies released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, finding that climate change will have profound effects over the next century unless drastic action is quickly undertaken.

Derecho Ambiental / Environmental Law

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India environment court orders measures against airport noise pollution         

Source: Jurist

May 24, 2019

 India’s environment tribunal, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), on Tuesday directed the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) to implement measures authorized by it in a 2017 decision. The order aims to curb noise pollution in India’s capital New Delhi.

NGT Chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel and two other judicial members, Judge SP Wangdi, and Judge K Ramakrishnan, pronounced the decision in a bid to reduce noise pollution in the vicinity of New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport.

The bench ordered the government to “take all mitigating measures for reducing noise pollution…expeditiously.” According to the order, the measures include “construction of sound barriers” around the airport “at the earliest.” The government has also been directed to provide for “a green belt around the boundary wall of the airport while keeping the safety and security both in mind. The plantations shall be of the species that would only grow to the permissible height or would be maintained at the permissible height only.”

Relevant authorities such as the AAI are to issue instructions to airlines “whose aircraft land at the runway of the IGI airport to ensure judgment-based use of reverse thrust keeping in view weather, length of the runway, wind, and other attendant circumstances to reduce the noise level particularly at the time of landing of aircraft.” The measures are not limited to structures around the airport or the aircraft. Public transport used at the airport is also expected to adhere to environmental norms. “All the coaches/buses and other vehicles plying at the airport should be Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and must comply with the prescribed emission standards. Non-CNG buses/coaches or other vehicles plying at the airport should be converted to CNG,” the order reads.

Derecho Ambiental / Environmental Law

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Torres Strait Islanders to file UN human rights claim against Australia over climate change                     

Source: Jurist

May 15, 2019

Residents from Australia’s Torres Strait Islands plan to file a human rights complaint against the Australia government for failing to address the impacts of climate change.

The residents will be represented by a UK environmental non-profit organization, ClientEarth who issued a press release Sunday detailing the complaint to be lodged with the UN Human Rights Committee. The allegation is that the Australia government’s failure to mitigate the impacts of climate change violates legal obligations to the Torres Strait Islanders who are rising sea levels impacting burial grounds and cultural sites. The First Nations people who live on the island believe this impact on cultural heritage is a violation of on the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The residents are requesting for additional funding to protect against climate change impacts like seawalls to protect sacred sites and physical property, a phasing out of coal use, and commitment to reducing emissions.

This is the first legal complaint brought against the government of Australia for human rights violations related to climate change. The committee’s decision is non-binding on sovereign nations, but could place pressure on the Australian government to take action.

Derecho Ambiental / Environmental Law

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Montana court blocks mining company from mining near Yellowstone National Park 

Source: Jurist

April 17, 2019

-United States-

A Montana district court ruled Monday that a Canadian mining company cannot mine for gold in an area north of Yellowstone National Park.

The ruling is a result of a suit brought by the Park County Environmental Council and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. In its decision, the court ruled that certain amendments to the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) “violate the Montana Constitution beyond a reasonable doubt.” The court found that “[i]n passing the Amendments at issue here, the Legislature upset the balance of competing fundamental rights that was inherent in MEPA since its enactment.” It also found that the Amendments did not survive strict scrutiny, and therefore found that the Amendments violated the Montana Constitution.

Because these Amendments violated the Montana Constitution, the court found that “the decision to issue an exploration license” to the mining company was void.

Derecho Ambiental / Environmental Law

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PPG to pay $1.2 million in pollution settlement             

Source: Jurist

April 03, 2019

-United States-

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Tuesday announced the terms of a settlement with PPG Industries, Inc. (PPG), requiring PPG to pay a $1.2 million civil penalty for environmental contamination.

For decades, from the 1920’s until 1970, PPG dumped polluted materials from a glass manufacturing plant into the Allegheny River in Armstrong County. While there is evidence that the contamination has harmed stream quality and fish near the site of pollution, DEP said that public water supply intakes located downstream have not been impacted by the discharge.

The settlement also requires that PPG cleanup and treat the discharge in the Allegheny River and its tributary Glade Run. Since the lawsuit, PPG has “conducted numerous investigations of its own at the site and implemented various control and remedial strategies to control the leachate discharges.” 

DEP Southwest Regional Director Ron Schwartz said that reaching this agreement is “long overdue” but it is necessary for the environment and “protects further generations.”

As part of this settlement, PPG has agreed not to appeal the final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for treated wastewater discharges.

Derecho Ambiental / Environmental Law

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EU parliament passes clean energy measures 

Source: Jurist

March 27, 2019

-European Union-

EU parliament on Tuesday approved new rules to create a Europe-wide market for electricity that is cleaner, more competitive and better able to cope with risks.

The Clean Energy for All Europeans package empowers European consumers to become active players in the energy transition and creates the first national energy and climate plans. Among its rules, the legislation provides that consumers receive smart meters, dynamic pricing and the option to switch provider more quickly. Additionally, state aid to fossil-fuelled power plants will be phased out and measures have been enacted to prevent electricity blackouts.

The rapporteur on the internal market for electricity, Jerry Buzek, said the electricity market reform should make the sector more competitive across EU borders and support the transition to cleaner electricity. “It gives more power to consumers and protects the energy-poor. It is good for the environment and good for the wallet.”

By allowing electricity to move freely to where it is most needed and when it is most needed through undistorted price signals, consumers will benefit from cross-border competition. “This will drive the investments necessary to provide security of supply, whilst decarbonizing the European energy system.”

Following this parliamentary approval, the Council of Ministers of the EU will have to formally approve the texts of the Directive and three Regulations, after which the new laws will be published in the Official Journal of the Union.