This Month's Issue of ELR

Volume 54 Issue 6 —

by Jeffrey Peterson, Alice Hill, Jessica Dandridge, Carolyn Kousky, and Dave Jones

More severe storms and rising sea levels pose a threat to U.S. coastal communities, including millions of homes and businesses. Insured damages to coastal property are steadily increasing, insurance premiums are increasing, and private insurance companies have stopped serving some coastal states. Taken together, the consequences of declining availability and increasing costs constitute a coastal property insurance crisis. On March 13, 2024, the Environmental Law Institute hosted a panel of experts to discuss the crisis and consider what programs and policies insurance providers and governments could adopt to best guide the coastal property insurance market toward desired national goals. This Dialogue presents a transcript of that discussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.

by Peter L. de la Cruz and Sheila A. Millar

Sustainability promotes decisions that balance social, environmental, and economic values; antitrust seeks to preserve and promote commercial competition. This Comment argues that antitrust (1) can help ensure healthy competition in markets relevant to sustainability and avoid harm to competition from standard-setting, certification, and statistical programs that might hinder innovation or unfairly exclude competitors; (2) does not consider whether an action promotes or deters sustainability, nor is that a proper role for competition authorities; (3) encompasses reviews of competitor collaborations that need to consider the context and structure of modern markets as part of the analysis, as do sustainability evaluations; and (4) allows meaningful and constructive joint efforts to promote sustainability.

by Haijing Wang and Mingqing You

In China, the year 2023 witnessed the further evolution of environmental protection and development of legislation and rulemaking. This mainly included adoption of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Ecological Protection Law, revision of the Marine Environmental Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China, and adoption of a series of judicial interpretations. This Comment summarizes some of the year’s major developments.

by Jon A. Mueller

For more than half a century, the Chesapeake Bay and many of its tributaries have suffered from poor water quality. Compelled by an executive order and litigation, in 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Chesapeake Bay total maximum daily load (Bay TMDL) to reduce pollution discharges and thereby restore Bay water quality; unfortunately, the Bay TMDL will fail to meet its 2025 objective. This Article argues it is time for EPA to use the tools granted by Congress in the Clean Water Act (CWA) to reduce pollution, and for the Bay jurisdictions to sign a binding and enforceable Bay agreement to ensure accountability. If CWA authorities and other legal mechanisms are fully utilized, they can achieve Bay restoration.

by Jonathan Rosenbloom

Development impacts many aspects of the food system, including where food is grown, how far food must travel, where distributors and retailers are placed, and who has access to fresh and nutritious food. By viewing development and its associated impacts through a sustainability and life-cycle lens, we can rethink the role of development and how communities can grow while fostering a strong, inclusive, affordable, accessible, and healthy food system. This Article focuses on the way local governments regulate development and how that impacts the food system. It is excerpted from Remarkable Cities and the Security and Sovereignty of Food and Nutrition (ELI Press 2023).

In the Courts

D.C. Circuit upholds California CAA waiver.

In the Agencies

EPA finalizes 2027-2032 vehicle emission rules.

In the Congress

Senate passes the Strengthening Coastal Communities Act of 2023.

In the States

Florida proposed to amend the Sea Level Impact Projection study.