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Fighting Methane Emissions With the False Claims Act

This Comment argues that the False Claims Act (FCA) can now be used to enforce the Inflation Reduction Act's waste emissions charge and its royalties on vented and flared gas. It first explains why, unlike with other environmental violations, dodging either of these fees can trigger FCA liability. It then examines how two possible groups of plaintiffs—industry employees and outside observers—might discover unreported methane emissions and use the FCA against companies that dodge each of the IRA’s methane fees.

The Business of Sustainability

This Comment argues that what is needed to make sustainability work for business is a National Business Sustainability Council that would develop and promulgate sustainability criteria, be able to evaluate whether specific small businesses are meeting those criteria, and be able to “certify” that a small business is, in fact, meeting these criteria, and is therefore “sustainable.” It asserts the Council’s criteria and evaluation methodology should be both rigorous and transparent, such that when the Council awards a sustainability certification to a business, the federal and state governmen

The Environmental Justice Impacts of Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution is a global environmental problem with a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities and other vulnerable groups. On June 27, 2023, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), ELI’s Women in Environmental Law & Leadership initiative, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and WilmerHale co-hosted a panel of experts who explored the environmental justice implications of continued production and disposal of plastics, and addressed key domestic and international policy efforts.

“Sustainable” Fashion's True Colors: A Proposal for “Restyling” the FTC Green Guides

The fashion industry continues to grow exponentially, along with marketers’ use of false and misleading claims about “sustainability” and other environmental attributes of fashion garments. This Article explores recent instances of greenwashing in the industry and other countries’ efforts to address the issue, and proposes specific ways that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should improve its guidelines for environmental marketing claims and expand enforcement.

Tumultuous Beginnings of EPA Enforcement: An Insider's Account

James O. “Jim” McDonald was the first director of enforcement in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Midwest regional office. His privately published autobiography, Holes in My Shoes: Tales of Growing Up in the Great Depression, provides a candid account of his impoverished childhood and his memorable experiences as a soldier, student, journalist, amateur athlete, and public health official.

Making Participation in Algorithm-Assisted Decisionmaking in Climate Investments More Accessible and Equitable

In How Algorithm-Assisted Decisionmaking Is Influencing Environmental Law and Climate Adaptation, Ziaja provides a useful framework to analyze whether an algorithm-assisted decisionmaking (AADM) tool and its design process is procedurally equitable. Ziaja’s framework contains several different questions advocacy groups can use to analyze the AADM tools that are increasingly used for environmental resource governance, such as the INFORM and RESOLVE algorithms discussed in the article, which guide the allocation and distribution of water and energy resources.

Learning to See Through the Black Box: Develop X-Ray Vision Through Algorithmic Intuition

Environmental, natural resource, and energy planning will continue to rely on increasingly complex algorithms. Are these processes then also doomed to be inaccessible to key stakeholders? Hopefully not. There are multiple steps to ensuring process and participatory equity. There is ease of access to the process, access to necessary information, and then there is the matter of having the right information to be able to meaningfully impact outcomes of algorithm-assisted decisionmaking processes.

How Algorithm-Assisted Decisionmaking is Influencing Environmental Law and Climate Adaptation

Agencies responsible for water and energy systems increasingly rely on algorithm-assisted decisionmaking to regulate these systems and shepherd them through climate adaptation. Legal scholars, attorneys, and environmental equity advocates should care about this fundamental change in governance for three reasons. First, climate adaptation depends on these tools. Second, algorithmic tools are not policy-neutral; rather they embed value-laden assumptions and biases. And third, the “rules” of this new forum impede equity and democratic participation, without deliberate countermeasures.

ESG is Investment Strategy

Curtis, Fisch, and Robertson's article, Do ESG Mutual Funds Deliver on Their Promises, is a timely and insightful piece with several important conclusions.