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Agricultural Exceptionalism, Environmental Injustice, and U.S. Right-to-Farm Laws

While the environmental justice movement has gained traction in the United States, the relationship between agri-food systems and environmental injustices in rural areas has yet to come into focus. This Article explores the relationship between U.S. agricultural exceptionalism and rural environmental justice through examining right-to-farm laws.

30 by 30, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and Tribal Cultural Lands

President Joe Biden’s Executive Order No. 14008 of January 2021 called for the Administration to conserve at least 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030. To accomplish this ambitious “30 by 30” effort, the Order directed federal agencies to work with tribal governments, among others, to propose lands and waters as qualifying for conservation. This Comment examines "areas of critical environmental concern" and their potential role in the 30 by 30 program, particularly their potential to enlist tribal governments in helping to manage lands of tribal cultural significance. 

Federal Grazing Lands as “Conservation Lands” in the 30 by 30 Program

On January 28, 2021, President Joseph Biden issued Executive Order No. 14008 initiating the “30 by 30” program to “conserve” 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030, but to date, the Administration has yet to clarify the standards defining "conservation" lands. In September 2021, Nada Culver, the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Chris French, the deputy chief of the Forest Service’s National Forest System (NFS) confirmed at an annual Public Lands Council meeting that they believe the nation’s grazing lands “should [be] include[d]” in the 30 by 30 count.

Reuse, Restore, Recycle: Historic Preservation as an Alternative to Sprawl

Our country's landscape has changed dramatically over the last 50 years as a result of numerous governmental policies and subsidies that encourage low-density development commonly referred to as "sprawl." Sprawl results in environmental problems ranging from air pollution to wetland degradation. Our countryside is disappearing and becoming more fragmented, while urban areas are simply neglected. Moreover, this type of growth, which has gone unchecked for the latter half of this century, increases traffic congestion, strains public budgets, and deteriorates our quality of life.

No New Fossil Fuel Leasing: The Only Path to Maximizing Social Welfare in the Climate Change Era

In Federal Lands and Fossil Fuels: Maximizing Social Welfare in Federal Energy Leasing, Prof. Jayni Foley Hein assesses inefficiencies in the federal fossil fuel leasing program that lead to the over-extraction of fossil fuels at great societal cost. In recognition of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI's) role in stewarding federal lands for the long-term benefit of the American people, Hein proposes that DOI should adopt a policy of seeking to maximize social welfare or “net public benefits” in its leasing decisions.

Federal Lands and Fossil Fuels: Maximizing Social Welfare in Federal Energy Leasing

The externality costs of fossil fuel production—including pollution costs—are not accounted for under the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (Interior) coal, oil, and natural gas leasing programs. This results in fossil fuel production on public lands imposing significant social costs. Interior’s leasing programs have never been tailored to meet any past or present climate change goals, despite their significant contribution to domestic greenhouse gas emissions.

Planning for the Effects of Climate Change on Natural Resources

Climate change has important implications for the management and conservation of natural resources and public lands. The federal agencies responsible for managing these resources have generally recognized that considerations pertaining to climate change adaptation should be incorporated into existing planning processes, yet this topic is still treated as an afterthought in many planning documents. Only a few federal agencies have published guidance on how managers should consider climate change impacts and their management implications.