Norfolk, VA Prepares for Rising Sea Levels

The city of Norfolk (Virginia) will not sit around and just wait for sea-levels to rise. Situated just west of the mouth of Cheasapeake Bay, it is bordered on 3 sides by water, and has, thus far, experienced the highest relative increase in sea level on the East Coast (14.5" since 1930).

I sure hope other coastal cities (ahem...NYC...) follow suit. This is not a drill, people!


Save the date! 2/9/10 @12:50pm - Mike Gerrard will be speaking!

I know, I know. I'm being ridiculous, but I'm really excited about this one. Thank me later.
The NYLS Center for Real Estate Studies & the Environmental Law Society of NYLS invite you to---

Lunch with Michael E. Gerrard: Climate change, its impacts on New York and where lawyers fit into this whole mess.

Michael E. Gerrard is the leading legal-theorist on Climate Change and the Law. He is Director of Columbia Law School's Center for Climate Change Law, and teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law, and energy law.

He has written or edited eight books, including Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, the leading work in its field. His eighth book, The Law of Green Buildings (with Cullen Howe), was published in August 2010. Since 1986 he has been an environmental law columnist for the New York Law Journal.

Join us, as we discuss climate change.

Wednesday, February 9th / 12:50pm - 1:50pm /  Room: TBD (but at NYLS)

Lunch will be provided.

------------------Please RSVP so that we don't waste food!------------------


NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection: We need Spring and Summer Interns!

The NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is seeking law students interested in environmental and administrative law for legal intern positions (spring & summer). Only currently enrolled law students are eligible to apply for an internship. DEP is particularly interested in students planning careers in the public sector or seeking experience in environmental and administrative law.

DEP legal interns will have the opportunity to work on a number of legal and administrative issues, including: statutory research, conducting administrative hearings before the Environmental Control Board (ECB), drafting appeals against adverse ECB decisions, and assisting DEP attorneys on any matters that may arise.

Spring Internships are unpaid, part-time positions (no more than 20-hours per week based on your schedule). Summer Internships are 10-to-12 week full-time positions. Funding may be available for the summer positions, either through DEP directly or your school's financial aid office.

For more information, please contact Jose Almanzar (jose.almanzar@law.nyls.edu).


Corporations Aren't People

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund has been working for years to teach communities how to reclaim their rights from major corporations.  On November 16, they won a major victory.

This morning, the Pittsburgh City Council became the first municipality in the United States to ban natural gas extraction within its boundaries. The ordinance isn’t just a ban – it consists of a new Bill of Rights for Pittsburgh residents (which includes a right to water along with rights for ecosystems and nature), and then proceeds to ban those activities – including natural gas extraction - which would violate those rights.
The CELDF has promoted a number of legal measures for use by small, resource-rich, communities over the years, including stripping corporations of their legal personhood and guaranteeing constitutional rights for the natural environment.  While "Pittsburgh's Community Protection from Natural Gas Extraction Ordinance" does not attempt to overturn the manifold rights of personhood guaranteed to corporations, it does protect the right to water, the rights of natural communities, the right to self-government, and the people as sovereign.  
The City Council of Pittsburgh finds that the commercial extraction of natural gas in the urban environment of Pittsburgh poses a significant threat to the health, safety, and welfare of residents and neighborhoods within the City.  Moreover, widespread environmental and human health impacts have resulted from commercial gas extraction in other areas.  Regulating the activity of commercial gas extraction automatically means allowing commercial gas extraction to occur within the City, thus allowing the deposition of toxins into the air, soil, water, environment, and the bodies of residents within our City.  
Meaningful regulatory limitations and prohibitions concerning Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction, along with zoning and land use provisions, are barred because they conflict with certain legal powers claimed by resource extraction corporations.   The City Council recognizes that environmental and economic sustainability cannot be achieved if the rights of municipal majorities are routinely overridden by corporate minorities claiming certain legal powers.
Industry representatives have, predictably, attacked the ban as "short-sighted," while
City Councilman Doug Shields, the bill's sponsor, talked about what he called the "arrogance of this industry" that he said puts money ahead of trying to figure out the health, environmental and municipal effects of drilling.
Buffalo's City Council was set to vote on a similar ordinance on November 10, while another ban was rejected in Fort Worth.  Good start.

EPA Releases the 2010 Fuel Economy Trends Report

Carbon dioxide decreases as fuel economy increases

WASHINGTON - For the sixth consecutive year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reporting a decrease in average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and a slight increase in the average fuel efficiency for new cars and light duty trucks, according to EPA’s annual report “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2010”.

EPA projects a small improvement in 2010, based on pre-model year sales estimates provided by automakers, to 395 grams of CO2 per mile and 22.5 miles per gallon (mpg), though there is uncertainty in these projections as they were made during the atypical automotive market in 2009. The 2010 final data will be available in next year’s report.

For 2009, the last year EPA has final data from automakers, the average CO2 emissions from new vehicles were 397 grams per mile and the average fuel economy value was 22.4 mpg.

See below for more on this report...


2010 Green Scissors Report

This annual report identifies existing federal subsidies and programs that harm our environment and economy. For the 2010 fiscal year, the Friends of Earth have found "more than $200 billion in wasteful government subsidies that are damaging to the environment and harmful to consumers."

This in-depth and comprehensive report explores four sectors that, for a long time, have received billions upon billions in tax subsidies that eventually harm our environment and consumers.
-Energy (oil & gas, coal, nuclear)
-Agriculture & Biofuels (commodity crops, market access program, ethanol and other biofuels)
-Infrastructure (Army Corp of Engineers, transportation)
-Public Lands (hardrock mining, timber subsidies, grazing)

Republican and Democrats alike must come together and stop these wasteful programs and subsidies, for the sake of our pockets and our environment.


Halliburton Subpoenaed After Failing to Meet EPA’s Voluntary Requests for Information

The EPA announced yesterday that eight of nine U.S. companies that deal in hydraulic fracturing (aka "fracking") for natural gas extraction will work with the agency in studies on fracking. Who was the ninth? Of course, our old friends, Halliburton.
Halliburton has failed to provide EPA the information necessary to move forward with this important study. As a result, and as part of the Agency's effort to move forward as quickly as possible, today EPA issued a subpoena to the company requiring submission of the information that has yet to be provided.
What a shady bunch of characters, that Halliburton. Then again, the company is a perfect fit for someone like Mr. Dick Cheney. I guess shady companies invite shady individuals.

Next Week's Breakfast Forum - Building for New York's Future with Joseph B. Rose‏

Professors Andrew R. Berman and Ross Sandler cordially invite you to a Breakfast Forum on

Building for New York's Future

Co-sponsored by the Center for Real Estate Studies and the Center for New York City Law

Keynote Speaker: Joseph B. Rose, Partner, The Georgetown Company and Former Chairman, NYC Planning Commission

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 from 8:15-9:30 a.m.
Location: New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, between Leonard and Worth Streets

Registration: Online by clicking the invitation image below OR calling 212-431-2135


Work for Earthjustice Northeast! Summer 2011 Interns Wanted!

Earthjustice’s Northeast regional office (in New York City) is hiring full-time legal interns for the summer of 2011. Students who have completed at least two years of law school are preferred.

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.

See below for Qualifications and Application Procedure.


New Speaker, Old Mentality

"I voted in the 2010 mid-term elections, and all I got was this lousy Boehner."  I want this on a t-shirt.  Someone please mass produce. I will pay you $25.

It's true.  Nancy Pelosi will be out and it's reported that John Boehner (should be pronounced "boner"), will be knighted as the new Speaker of the House.  No surprise that the republican from Ohio "fought bitterly" against the cap-and-trade bill that was passed by the House last year. 
"The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical," Mr. Boehner told ABC News in an April 2009 interview. "Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you've got more carbon dioxide."
No, Mr. Boehner.  That's not comical.  What's comical is that you think CO2 emissions and a cap-and-trade regulatory scheme have to do with cancer.  That, along with the pronunciation of your last name.

Simultaneous Nuclear Emergencies a "Coincidence"

The Entergy Indian Point Energy Center is seen from across the Hudson River September 24, 2002. (Photo by Monika Graff/Getty Images)
Two nuclear power plants operated by Entergy Corp. have been shut down due to near-simultaneous incidents the company has described as coincidental. The Vermont Yankee plant in Vermont shut down one of its two reactors Sunday evening after a leak of radioactive water was detected. This is not the first such problem at Vermont Yankee: 


The Vacuum from the Sea

Remember that huge Island of garbage in the Pacific Ocean? Well one company is actually doing something about it by taking the adrift plastic and turning it into something usable by consumers.

Enter: the Electrolux Vac from the Sea

To read more about this product click on this link: http://links.everyguyed.com/87aa77433c933d56/?web=35eb38&dst=http%3A//leberpr.com/blog/%3Fp%3D931%23

Protecting and Licensing Green Energy Technologies Speaking Engagement

Greentech Committee meeting on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm. Rory Radding will be hosting the meeting (see address below). Lunch will be provided, courtesy of Rory and Morrison & Foerster, LLP.
Discussion Topic:
REVISED:  “Protecting and Licensing Green Energy Technologies.” Speaker - Alex Sousa, in house counsel at Innovalight, Inc.
Call-in Information for Phone Participants:  Please call 800-650-4949 at 12:45 pm and use pass code 4688146#
Location of Meeting:
Rory J. Radding, Esq.
Morrison & Foerster, LLP
Conference Room on 43rd Floor
1290 Avenue of the Americas (at 51st St) New York, NY 10104-0185
Telephone (212) 468-8146
Secretary Telephone:  Sally McFarland (212) 336-4059

Security Check-in at Morrison & Foerster:


November 4th: NYLS Center for Real Estate Studies Master Class on Preservation (12:50pm-2pm)

You preservation junkies should enjoy this one. And there's free pizza lunch involved! Win-win!

The New York Law School Center for Real Estate Studies (CRES) will be hosting another one of its Master Class Series this Thursday, November 4th from 12:50pm-2pm in W320.

See full details below.


Research and Environmental Policy Opportunity!

There are 3 things you should know about New York City over the next 25 years: (1) We will be getting BIGGER; (2) our infrastructure will be getting OLDER; and (3) our environment will be AT RISK. PlaNYC 2030 is a comprehensive sustainability plan for New York that addresses each of these challenges.

The Mayor's Long Term Planning and Sustainability Office wants to update PlaNYC 2030 and has reached out to us, the ELS of NYLS, for help.

We are looking for INTERESTED STUDENTS to work with us on this project.

We are still in the planning stage, but anticipate beginning on this project in early January 2011 (with a chance of starting even earlier). Before proceeding we need to gauge student interest, so...

If you ARE INTERESTED in tackling this research project with us and want more information, please contact Dorian Iafeliece (dorian.iafeliece@law.nyls.edu) by Monday, Nov. 8th, 2010. Students interested in sustainable development, green infrastructure and environmental law are encouraged to join us.

You will get an opportunity to work with top New York City Officials on how to make NYC are greener and better city to live in!

TV manufacturers will have to disclose energy-use data, starting 2011

I wonder how much of a fight the big TV manufacturers (Sony, Samsung, et al.) put up against this FTC regulation...

In the consumer-based economy that we live in, this type of disclosure rule is essential before we move towards sustainable living. We should be doing this for most appliances. I like the fact that the FTC is on board.