More internships! NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (Albany, NYC)

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC") is looking for law-student interns to work within 2 of its legal departments. Those interested in environmental law, administrative law or New York State law, you are strongly encouraged to apply.

DEC's Central Office (Albany, NY) and Region 2 Office (Long Island City, NY) are seeking 2L and 3L legal interns.


Dilution's the solution!

The Oyster Creek nuclear power plant's operating license was due to expire in early 2009.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission deemed the plant good to go for another 20 years, despite some serious questions regarding the integrity of the drywell containment shell (think big metal can that keeps the bad stuff in).  Not two weeks after relicensing, tritium (carcinogen, half-life: 12.3 years) turned up in local groundwater outside the plant.
The spill at Oyster Creek - the nation's oldest, continuously operating nuclear plant - measured as high as 6 million picocuries in some monitoring wells, about 300 times the level the federal Environmental Protection Agency considers unsafe for drinking water. Since then, some of the drawn samples have fallen to safe levels during the past year, even without human intervention.
In response to public outcry, Exelon, the plant's owner-operator, promised to address the problem immediately (read: whenever they felt like it?).  So it is that almost 18 months later, the company has finally arrived at a winning solution to a problem that has already leaked upwards of 180,000 gallons of tritium tainted water.  Pump contaminated groundwater back into the plant, use it in the cooling process, and then discharge it with the flood of cooling water into public waterways. (Aside: When did we stop arguing about closed cycle cooling?)
"This water will be extensively diluted as it cycles through the plant. The amount of tritium released will be indiscernible from background radiation levels," Benson said. "It won't impact the discharge canal or the Barnegat Bay."


Cap'n trade detractors, rejoice!

Carbon offsets and international trading have long been weak links in cap and trade scheming.  Ensuring that offsets generated abroad are legitimate is a mammoth undertaking, particularly when  they come from areas with notoriously lax environment oversight.  Now, the European Commission is set to ban carbon permits generated by Chinese industrial gas entities from trading inside the E.U.

The European commission is planning to clamp down on a £1.6bn carbon trading scam. The use of carbon permits from industrial gas projects in China could be banned because of their "total lack of environmental integrity", the climate change commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, has told the Guardian.
Billions of euros' worth of the controversial permits were used between 2008-09 in the European Union's emission trading scheme (ETS), in which companies must exchange pollution permits for any emissions produced. The ETS allows some of those permits to be bought in from developing countries.
U.S. proponents of cap and trade as a means to control domestic carbon emissions have looked to the ETS as a model for the successes, and undoubtedly pitfalls, of implementing market-based approaches to environmental regulation.  The ETS is the largest multi-national carbon trading scheme in the world.  The E.C. reports that their scheme has created certain perverse incentives, in this instance the building of carbon-generating facilities in China and India for the purpose of creating negotiable carbon permits.


DOT, EPA Propose the Nation’s First Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Trucks and Buses

EPA and DOT logos (2010)
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced the first national standards to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses. This comprehensive national program is projected to reduce GHG emissions by about 250 million metric tons and save 500 million barrels of oil over the lives of the vehicles produced within the program’s first five years.

EPA and DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are proposing new standards for three categories of heavy trucks: combination tractors, heavy-duty pickups and vans, and vocational vehicles. The categories were established to address specific challenges for manufacturers in each area. For combination tractors, the agencies are proposing engine and vehicle standards that begin in the 2014 model year and achieve up to a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel consumption by 2018 model year.

External Pressure Builds on CA Climate Change Initiative

With federal legislation on climate change stalled, the fight rages over whether California's own climate change law will be overturned by Proposition 23, on the ballot next week. 

On Friday, Tesoro and Valero, the Texas oil companies that are largely funding Prop 23, contributed $1.5 million to the campaign in the first seven-figure donation since Sept. 2, when the billionaire Koch brothers dropped $1 million into campaign coffers, according to California Secretary of State records.
Check out this N.Y. Times article dishing on the longterm political maneuverings of influential billionaires Charles and David Koch.  

Minority Fellowships in Environmental Law

This fellowship program is designed to encourage minority law students to enter the field of environmental law.
Presented by: NYSBA Environmental Law Section
Co-Sponsored By: NYC Bar Association Committee on Environmental Law and the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources.
Nomination Deadline: November 19, 2010

Searching For Science In Marcellus Shale Decisions (Law360)

-Image: Geology.com

Law360, New York (October 20, 2010) -- Along with lower energy costs and new jobs, investment in the development of natural gas resources in the Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania has brought claims of groundwater contamination and litigation to the commonwealth. Marcellus Shale development has also precipitated increased scrutiny by federal and state lawmakers and regulators.
Critical and scientific evaluation of reports and other information concerning the potential link between Marcellus Shale production activities and environmental problems is essential to reasoned decisions in the courtroom and in setting public policy for this industry.


DRBC Again Delays Rules Covering Natural Gas Drilling

The Delaware River Basin Commission is again delaying the release of rules covering the drilling of natural gas within the watershed.
In a statement, the commission announced that the proposed regulations, which were to be unveiled in September and then were delayed until mid-October, now won't come for at least another month. The commission said the delay was to give staffers time to ensure that it minimizes bureaucratic overlap with other regulators.
"The commissioners are working with staff to continue refining the draft regulations to ensure protection of basin waters while minimizing regulatory duplication," the statement said. "The draft regulations will likely be published in November or December 2010, and will be accompanied by a public rulemaking process. This process will entail two public hearings and a written comment period."
The Delaware Riverkeeper Network, which opposes drilling, urged supporters to lobby against releasing the proposed regulations until a federal study is completed. "This federally funded comprehensive study must be done first and then the information learned be used to inform the regulations that the DRBC will adopt regarding gas development in the Delaware River Watershed," said Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum in a statement. "This is essential to [prevent] … pollution and degradation to the Delaware River and the water supply for more than 15 million people."

Feds to propose FIRST EVER truck fuel efficiency rules

From the Associated Press
"Future tractor-trailers, school buses, delivery vans, garbage trucks and heavy-duty pickup trucks must do better at the pump under first-ever fuel efficiency rules coming from the Obama administration."
"The fleet of new cars, pickup trucks and SUVs will need to reach 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016, and the government is developing plans for future vehicle models that could push the standards to 47 mpg to 62 mpg by 2025."
Is this good enough?

Tea Party, Climate Change and God

From the N.Y. Times:
"Climate change is real, and man is causing it,” Mr. Hill said, echoing most climate scientists. “That is indisputable. And we have to do something about it.”
A rain of boos showered Mr. Hill, including a hearty growl from Norman Dennison, a 50-year-old electrician and founder of the Corydon Tea Party.
“It’s a flat-out lie,” Mr. Dennison said in an interview after the debate, adding that he had based his view on the preaching of Rush Limbaugh and the teaching of Scripture. “I read my Bible,” Mr. Dennison said. “He made this earth for us to utilize.”


NYS Neighborhood Preservation Coalition’s Annual Conference

NPCNYS’s Statewide Housing Conference
Revitalization: Building New York’s Future

Thursday & Friday October 28-29, 2010 New York Law School

On October 28 & 29, 2010 the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal and The Center for Real Estate Studies and Justice Action Centers of The New York Law School will be hosting the 2010 NPCNYS’s Conference on Affordable Housing and Community Development.

We will: 

  • Discuss ways we are building New York’s future by revitalizing communities throughout the State. 
  • Explore green building strategies, community revitalization efforts and more. 
  • Discover innovations in planning, development and preservation in today’s housing industry. 
  • Share ideas, tips, and approaches with fellow industry professionals and experts during our networking lunches and workshops. 
  • Tackle solutions for all areas of sustainable communities, including environmental, transportation, and health.
A great chance to network with: 
  • Affordable housing advocates 
  • Architects and planners 
  • Community development advocates 
  • Lawyers 
  • Legislators 
  • Lending industry 
  • Neighborhood groups 
  • Nonprofit housing organizations 
  • Public agencies 
  • Researchers 
  • Residential builders and developers 
  • Sustainable development experts 
  • Tenants/housing consumers 

A full schedule of events can be found http://www.npcnys.org/conference2010.html.

Paterson Sacks DEC Head Grannis

This is going to get real interesting real fast.  On Tuesday, the Times-Union reported on a leaked DEC memo that set out the dire consequences of laying off more than 200 agency employees.  On Thursday, DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis was fired by Gov. Paterson for “poor performance and insubordination.”

”Here I am being called on the carpet for doing what we were supposed to do, for being asked to tell the administration what the cuts they want meant,” Grannis said. “Apparently facts don’t sit well with this administration.”
Grannis protested that the memo was not leaked with his knowledge, and left two telephone messages with Paterson, one Wednesday evening and another Thursday morning, seeking a chance to make his case. “Larry Schwartz said the governor would not talk to me,” Grannis said.
Read the full article for details of the increasingly heated exchange between Grannis and Paterson aide he has called a “hatchet man” and a “thug".


Earthjustice Northeast Region Office (NYC) Looking for Summer 2011 Legal Interns!

Earthjustice's Northeast Region Office (in NYC) is hiring full-time legal interns for the summer of 2011. They prefer 3Ls, but what the heck. Throw your name into the mix!

Legal interns work under the direct supervision of attorneys in the development and prosecution of environmental litigation and other advocacy. In general, the intern becomes a participant in the process of researching, investigating, preparing, and prosecuting environmental lawsuits. Virtually all interns undertake legal research, write memoranda, and help evaluate factual issues. Depending upon the needs of the case and the experience of the intern, attendance at client meetings, court appearances, meetings with public agency representatives, and drafting of pleadings, briefs, and discovery documents may be part of the internship experience. Interns are included in staff meetings and are invited to attend informal topical discussions and social events.

Extreme Droughts Taking Toll on South, Midwest

"Parts of Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Florida and southern Indiana are suffering 'extreme drought,' according to data expected to be released by the [National Drought Mitigation Center] Thursday."

"Climatologists say the dry weather likely will continue at least until spring, raising the possibility of prolonged drought in some areas next summer."


BETTER YET, READ THE USER COMMENTSThe first comment is from a "climate change denier", who is using 3 straight days of rain as his sign that climate change is a hoax. 

I thought we were past that...

EPA Proposes to Add Nine New Hazardous Waste Sites to Superfund's National Priorities List

The Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) keeps getting bigger and bigger. On October 19, the EPA declared it was proposing to add another 9 contaminated sites to the list.

"To date, 1,627 sites have been listed on the NPL. There have been 346 sites deleted from the NPL with 1,281 sites remaining.   With the proposal of nine new sites and one site being withdrawn from proposal, there are 62 proposed sites awaiting final agency action:  57 in the general Superfund section and five in the federal facilities section.  There are a total of 1,343 final and proposed sites."



Summer 2011 Legal Internship Opportunity with EPA Region 1 (Boston). DEADLINE for 2Ls: OCT 31st

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's office in Boston (Region 1) is accepting applications for their Summer 2011 legal internship program.

1Ls and 2Ls are encouraged to apply, but hurry! Deadlines are quickly approaching.

In 2010, 10 interns were hired for the Summer, out of over 1,000 applicants; 6 were paid and 4 were unpaid. Interns work on a range of issues involving federal environmental law and public policy.

The Summer program includes information sessions with EPA experts on homeland security, criminal enforcement, emergency response, and environmental justice; field trips to sites of environmental concern in the Region; office-wide legal retreat; and brown bag lunches with senior regional managers.


General Interest Meeting: Wednesday Oct 20, 2010 1-2 PM RM W303

Among other things, we will be discussing:

-The ABA Environmental Law Conference in New Orleans
-The Pace Environmental Law Moot Court Competition
- West Virginia Environmental Law Moot Court Competition
- Job Opportunities in Environmental Law
- Labels for Household Cleaner Project
- EPA Open Government Project
- Does the Gowanus Canal really have gonorrhea?

Snacks will be served!

Alternative Food Channels for NYC Neighborhoods

The evolution and outlook for food cooperatives as a strategy to bring healthy, affordable food to under resourced neighborhoods. What are the challenges and needs of these efforts? What are the potential resources? Is there a role for policy?

Food Systems Network NYC is hosting an open networking meeting to discuss alternative food channels for NYC neighborhoods this Wednesday. Panelists include: Joe Holtz, General Manager and founding member of the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn, Natalie Soleil from the Fourth St. Food Co-op in Manhattan, and Shira Shaham from the Bushwick Food Co-op.

Date: October 19, 2010
Time: 12:30 PM
Location: Fund for the City of New York, Main Conference Room
121 Avenue of the Americas, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10013-1590


Top EPA Official Opposes West Virginia Mountaintop Coal Mine

E.P.A. Official Seeks to Block West Virginia Mine

Client Counseling Competition (ABA Law Student Division). DEADLINE Oct. 22!

A competition promoting preventative law and counseling functions. Entry forms and fees are due OCTOBER 22, 2010. 

Team member names and ABA ID numbers are due JANUARY 25, 2011.

CLICK HERE for the Client Competition Homepage
CLICK HERE for the 2010-2011 Entry Form

2010-2011 Competition Topic: Professional Responsibility of Lawyers and Judges

Questions? Contact ccc@staff.abanet.org


NYC Mayor and DEP Commissioner Announce New Green Infrastructure to Reduce Sewer Overflows, Improve Quality of City Waterways and Save the City $2.4 Billion

"Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway unveiled a new plan to utilize “green infrastructure” to improve the quality of waterways around New York City by capturing and retaining stormwater to reduce sewer overflows."

"The new plan, called NYC Green Infrastructure, will replace the existing approach for sewer overflow control, which relies solely on traditional investments like holding tanks and tunnels, with a mix of green infrastructure and cost-effective traditional infrastructure that will reduce sewer overflows into waterways by 40 percent by 2030 by capturing more stormwater." 

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the Mayor's Press Release.

Student Writing Competition: "Endangered Environmental Laws" ($2000 cash prize!)

Co-Sponsored by the Environmental Law Institute, the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, and the National Association of Environmental Law Societies
Award: $2000 cash prize, an offer of publication in the Environmental Law Reporter, and a one-year individual membership to ELI.

Topic: Any topic addressing recent developments or trends in U.S. environmental law that have a significant constitutional or “federalism” component. (See sample topics below.)

Eligibility: Students currently enrolled in law school (in the U.S. or abroad) are eligible, including students who will graduate in the spring or summer of 2011. 



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Region 9 Office (San Francisco) has extended the application deadline for their Honor's Program. The application deadline has been moved to next Friday, October 15th, midnight!

You must be a recent graduate of an accredited law school with bar results or bar results pending.

For more information check out: http://www.epa.gov/region9/orc/positions.html

I can't see 1 reason why an unemployed recent graduate would NOT apply for this one. You might be what they're looking for.

10/20: NYCLA Wants to Feed You and Help You Increase Your Professional Network

The New York County Lawyers' Association (NYCLA) invites you to their Kick-Off Reception for the 2011 Minority Judicial Internship Program. The events is on Wednesday, October 20th, beginning at 6pm.

Go to meet practicing attorneys and other law students. Stay for cheese and crackers.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 @ 6pm
New York County Lawyers' Association
14 Vesey Street (b/w B'way and Church) Manhattan

E-mail LDavis@NYCLA.org to RSVP for this program.

Need More Info? Check out the NYCLA website.

Intra-Law School ELS Potluck Dinner at Mercer Pub! (10/14 @7pm)

NYU's Environmental Law Society will be hosting an "Intra-Law School Environmental Law Society Potluck Dinner" on Thursday, October 14th.

This is a great opportunity for students interested in environmental law to meet other like-minded students from other law schools. Come on down, have a few brews and munch on good food. At the very least, playoff baseball will be on the tube.

The event will be taking place at Mercer Pub and going from 7pm until midnight.

If you're interested in joining us, please contact Dorian Iafeliece (doria.iafeliece@law.nyls.edu).


National Energy Moot Court Competition!

West Virginia University School of Law will be hosting its Innagural National Energy Moot Court Competition in the Spring 2011 semester. The NYLS Environmental Law Society is looking to send a team (of 2 students) to this competition.

For more information, please check out their website (http://energycomp.wvu.edu/). Registration deadline is November 15, 2010.

If you're interested in competing and are a 2L or 3L at NYLS, please contact Jose Almanzar (jose.almanzar@law.nyls.edu).