In This Issue

Environment

Environmental Justice: Merging Environmental Law and Ethics

Race and socioeconomic status play a large role in the environmental health of communities throughout the nation. Federal, state, and local environmental justice initiatives attempt to address the disproportionate share of environmental hazards placed on minority and low-income communities. Because the merger of ethics and environmental law forms the foundation of environmental justice...

Environment

Playing Poker with Pollution: Why It Is Time to Change the CERCLA Reporting Obligations

Three decades after the passage of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. ?? 9601 et seq., this country is still adding to its inventory of contaminated sites. Many of these contaminated properties have been transferred or sold a number of times since CERCLA was passed, yet regulators frequently are not notified about the environmental conditions uncovered during due diligence...

Environment

Sustainability Is Driving Toxic Chemicals from Products

Many chemicals now classified as ?toxic? based on exposure of test animals or humans at high levels have long been used in the manufacture of products. The Environmental Protection Agency, states, and even retailers are taking preventive action to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals. Adopting more sustainable products as a matter of regulatory or statutory policy may require, or at least provide an incentive for, removal of "toxic" chemicals from products...

Environment

Greenwashing: What Your Client Should Know to Avoid Costly Litigation and Consumer Backlash

"Greenwashing" refers to the phenomenon of eco-exaggeration, that is, the practice of many companies who label and advertise their products as ones that are good for the environment when their products have little or no positive environmental benefits. At its heart, greenwashing is the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental benefits of a product or service in order to entice the consumers to purchase that product or service...

Environment

Practical and Ethical Issues of Blogging in Environmental Law

Blogging presents environmental attorneys with a low-cost and effective method of marketing but requires attorneys to navigate several technical and ethical issues. This article provides a summary of the practical steps required in setting up a blog, from picking a topic to choosing a software platform. It focuses on the ethical issues involved in legal blogging, including confidentiality, client solicitation, extra-territorial practice of law, advertising, liability protections, and avoiding the inadvertent creation of an attorney-client relationship.

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Environment

Ninth Circuit Upends the CWA Applecart

This article discusses the Ninth Circuit's recent decision in Northwest Environmental Defense Center v. Brown, in which the court invalidated EPA's regulation exempting logging roads from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements. The decision is significant because it changes years of settled law regarding forest roads, affects potentially hundreds of thousands of miles of roads, and reflects the courts' general disapproval of categorical exemptions from Clean Water Act requirements...

Environment

It Seems Everyone Is Protesting BLM Oil and Gas Lease Sales

A July 2010 GAO report found that most federal oil and gas parcels offered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for competitive lease sale are protested by environmental groups and a wide variety of other groups and individuals. BLM?s decisions about whether the protests have merit often are not issued until long after the lease sales, and data available to the public about protests on BLM's website have been incomplete or inaccurate...

Environment

The "Green" Supply Chain: A New Role for Lawyers?

Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are increasingly faced with or adopting "green supply chain management" standards and practices. A recent high-profile example is the retailer Wal-Mart?s announcement, in July, 2009, that all its suppliers must now evaluate and report to Wal-Mart on their conformance to Wal-Mart's published sustainability criteria. The trend presents both novel legal issues and practice opportunities for environmental lawyers.