In 2006, a local government council in Pennsylvania concerned about sewage sludge dumping enacted the Western legal system’s first formal “rights of nature” instrument. Today, numerous countries have laws recognizing specific rights or even legal personhood for nature. As legal expert Alice Bleby explains, this new perspective arises from a wide range of contexts and plays out in many different ways.
Mid-Atlantic (DC DE MD PA VA WV)
"The current pace of reducing agricultural pollution in the Chesapeake Bay is off track, an advocacy group said Wednesday."
"An executive order this spring by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin trumpeted efforts to boost recycling, but it also eliminated a commitment by his predecessor to phase out single-use plastics at state agencies and universities."
"Scientists on the latest dredge survey said factors like pollution, predation and a sex imbalance in the blue crab population could be among the factors contributing to the decline."
"As sea levels rise, some of Virginia’s most valuable coastal wetlands, from the Chesapeake Bay marshes to the Great Dismal Swamp, are at risk of either being lost or migrating farther inland."
"The Chesapeake Bay’s condition ticked upward in 2021 but not enough to raise its middling C grade in the latest report card from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science."
A milestone legal challenge soon to be decided by the U.S. high court could severely limit how the U.S. government regulates the greenhouse gasses that cause climate change. The new Issue Backgrounder takes a look at West Virginia v. EPA, its legal implications, the politics behind it and what it would mean for efforts to curb future impacts of global warming.
"Democrats who control the [Virginia] state Senate thwarted a Republican effort on Tuesday to revive the Cabinet bid of former Trump administration official Andrew Wheeler, leaving Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) embattled appointee in limbo."