A second installment of notable new publications, reports, and announcements.
- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, CREW Sues Council on Environmental Quality Sued over Global Warming Documents
"Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has sued the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) today for its failure to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records related to global warming science and policy. CREW filed its FOIA request after media reports—including a 60 Minutes piece—and documents gathered by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform revealed that political appointees at CEQ, including former Chief of Staff Philip Cooney, edited various government reports to downplay and obscure scientific findings about global warming."—Press Release (February 20, 2007)
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The State of Fisheries and Aquaculture 2006
"Although the proportion of the world’s marine fish stocks rated by FAO as overexploited or depleted has remained stable over the past 15 years, the status of certain highly migratory and high-seas species is cause for serious concern, a new report from the UN agency warned today."—Press release (March 5, 2007)
- V.L. McGuire, Water-Level Changes in the High Plains Aquifer, Predevelopment to 2005 and 2003 to 2005 (U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5324, 2007)
"The High Plains aquifer underlies 111.4 million acres (174,000 square miles) in parts of eight States—Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Water-level declines began in parts of the High Plains aquifer soon after the beginning of extensive ground-water irrigation. This report presents water-level changes in the High Plains aquifer from the time prior to substantial ground-water irrigation development (about 1950) to 2005 and from 2003 to 2005."—Abstract.
- Slashdot, Scientists Threatened for “Climate Denial” (March 12, 2007)
"A former professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg has received multiple death threats for questioning the extent to which human activities are driving global warming." A caveat: Slashdot is deservedly one of the earliest and most widely read technology blogs, but it also fairly dubs itself, "News for Nerds." The vast number of comments—over 1150 for this post—are frequently sarcastic, haughty, erroneous...and funny.
- United States Department of State, Memorandum of Understanding Between the United States and Brazil to Advance Cooperation on Biofuels
"The agreement highlights the importance of biofuels as a transformative force in the region to diversify energy supplies, bolster economic prosperity, advance sustainable development, and protect the environment."—Press release (March 9, 2007)
- United States Government Accountability Office, Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: EPA Should Take Steps to Better Ensure the Effective Use of Public Funding for Cleanups (Report to Congressional Requesters, GAO-07-152, February 2007)
"The cleanup of known releases from leaking underground storage tanks could take years to complete, and states reported that it would cost around $12 billion in public funds from state and federal sources. This amount reflects states’ estimates of public cleanup costs for about 54,000 of the approximately 117,000 known releases that states reported had not yet been fully cleaned up as of September 30, 2005. Tank owners or operators will pay to clean up the majority of the remaining 63,000 known releases, according to state officials. However, an unknown number of releases lack a viable owner to pay cleanup costs. Some of these releases may lack a viable owner because the tank owner or operator failed to maintain adequate financial responsibility coverage. While 16 states require annual proof that tank owners or operators are maintaining the required coverage, the remaining states generally reported that they check this coverage less often or not at all, even though coverage may change on an annual basis. Without regular monitoring that tank owners or operators are maintaining their required coverage, this coverage may lapse, potentially making the owner or operator nonviable and, in the event of a release, may result in the need to use public funds to ensure timely cleanup."—Results in Brief.
- David A. Wirth, Globalization and the Environment: Why All the Fuss? (Boston College Law School Faculty Papers, no. 189, February 12, 2007)
"The relationship between globalization and environmental policies presents more nuances than the popular paradigm of free trader versus self-serving protectionists, the familiar model of environmentalist battling greedy polluters, or the outmoded view of a progressive multilateral agenda juxtaposed against a parochial, inward-looking domestic one. This piece sets out a structural and analytical framework for addressing the major issues in the field – including (1) unilateral trade-based measures to protect the environment; (2) science-based tests applied through trade agreements; (3) disciplines on foreign investment that may have a 'chilling effect' on environmental regulation; and (4) the relationship between free trade agreements and multilateral environmental agreements. The implications for domestic law in the United States, including federal administrative law and federal-state relations, are also examined."
- David A. Wirth, Hazardous Substances and Activities (Boston College Law School Faculty Papers, no 188, February 12, 2007)
"This piece analyzes and critically evaluates the enormous number and variety of international instruments addressing the regulation of hazardous substances and activities, from consumer products to nuclear power plants. International authorities are categorized according to regulatory theory, ranging from hazard identification and testing to disposal. Other regulatory approaches include limitations on pollutant releases, prevention of and response to industrial accidents, and international trade in toxic chemicals and waste. Multilateral norms originating from global and regional institutions, UN specialized agencies, and non-UN organizations are analyzed. The piece addresses both 'hard' (binding or conventional) and 'soft' (nonbinding) instruments, correlating legal form with policy purpose. The relationship between each international policy analogous domestic regulatory approaches is explored."