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How Environmental Litigation Has Turned Pipelines Into Pipe Dreams

Proposed oil and gas pipelines have faced a myriad of legal challenges in the past several years. Even where pipeline proponents have prevailed, the cost and delay of protracted litigation has often caused cancellation of pipeline projects. In addition, presidential transitions have led to abrupt reversals of pipeline policies, which courts have often reviewed skeptically.

Amending the NEPA Regulations

The Joe Biden Administration has proposed reversing a number of the Donald Trump Administration’s changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations by again requiring federal agencies to evaluate the direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts of projects under environmental review. On April 20, 2022, the first phase of those amendments was finalized, and on April 21, the Environmental Law Institute hosted a panel of experts to explore the changes to NEPA implementation, and how they might impact climate change policy and environmental justice.

Mining Our Future Critical Minerals: Does Darkness Await Us?

We are told the transition to a zero-carbon economy will depend upon the United States’ ability to assure a sufficient supply of rare earths and minerals such as cobalt, nickel, or lithium. The Biden Administration is intent on promoting some new form of a critical mineral policy, and calls for reforming the 1872 Mining Law have persisted for well over one hundred years. This Article is designed to provoke a meaningful conversation about a critical minerals policy informed by our past.

The Future of Pipelines

New oil and gas pipeline construction is increasingly controversial, with environmental and indigenous groups warning of leaks and spills, increased reliance on fossil fuels, and infringement upon indigenous land. Recent setbacks to three projects—the Dakota Access Pipeline, Keystone XL Pipeline, and Atlantic Coast Pipeline—reflect shifting legal, economic, and policy pressures facing new construction. On September 30, 2020, the Environmental Law Institute hosted a panel of experts who explored the emerging challenges facing oil and gas pipelines and discussed their future.

NEPA’s Trajectory: Our Waning Environmental Charter From Nixon to Trump?

Heralded in 1970 as the nation’s environmental Magna Carta, the National Environmental Policy Act’s (NEPA’s) luster seems faded and its future uncertain. While Trump Administration initiatives threaten to diminish further and perhaps even dismantle aspects of NEPA, this Article chronicles how the current assault merely continues NEPA’s unfortunate trajectory, examining how the courts, the U.S. Congress, and the executive branch each have whittled away at the Act. NEPA consequently sits at a critical juncture: it could soon fade away or it could hew back toward its original promise.

The Trump Card: Tarnishing Planning, Democracy, and the Environment

One of the most important and transformative mechanisms the U.S. Congress has ever created to protect the environment is under assault from the Donald Trump Administration. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ushered in the modern era of U.S. environmental law.

Navigating NEPA 50 Years Later: The Future Of NEPA

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) plays a crucial role in the authorization and approval of more development projects than any other federal law. Proponents believe NEPA protects communities and the environment from potentially detrimental projects, while critics counter the Act prevents timely review of important infrastructure projects.

NEPA's Promise: A Future in Which We All Thrive

NEPA is not about my agenda or your agenda. It is about solutions that work for all of us. This Comment offers a litmus test. The first section explains the promise NEPA makes to each of us, describing the integration, information, and inclusion that NEPA brought to our federal statutory framework in a way not previously seen and describing how NEPA enhances our democracy by holding the government accountable to the people it serves—by giving the public a right to information, as well as the right to provide information.

Expertise and Discretion: New Jersey's Approach to Natural Resource Damages

With a Department of Environmental Protection that predates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New Jersey has always been at the forefront of combating pollution, becoming only the third state to consolidate all environmental protection and conservation into one cohesive agency on April 22, 1970, and paving the way for environmental protection nationwide with the passage of the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (Spill Act) in 1976.

Strategizing Against the Flame: What’s Next for California’s Wildfires?

The 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive on record in California, destroying thousands of structures. Gov. Gavin Newsom created a strike force to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the destabilizing effect of wildfires on the state’s electric utilities. In April 2019, the strike force issued a report outlining a vision for clean energy policies to reduce the impacts of climate change on wildfire risk, and in July, the newly created Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery released its recommendations.