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.
The Freedom of Information Act offers critical access to journalists — that is, when it’s working well. The latest WatchDog Opinion digs into the latest reports from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to see how well it lives up to its FOIA requirements and finds that despite progress, the agency continues to fall short on important measures. Plus, insight into how to work the system.
"The U.S. Forest Service made critical mistakes that caused a planned burn to reduce the threat of wildfires to explode into the largest blaze in New Mexico's recorded history, the agency said Tuesday. A new report found that employees made multiple miscalculations, used inaccurate models and underestimated how dry conditions were in the Southwest before lighting the flames."
"The Biden administration has reached a historic agreement to give five Native American tribes more say over the day-to-day management of a national monument in Utah, marking a new chapter in the federal government’s often-fraught relationship with tribes."
"House Democrats’ $56.3 billion fiscal 2023 Energy-Water spending bill released last night seeks to bolster a host of Biden administration clean energy and water infrastructure deployment goals that are running into funding limitations this year."
"Chris Mariano became a federal wildland firefighter because he wanted to help protect the Northern California landscapes and communities he’d grown to love."
As funding from the U.S. government’s massive infrastructure bill starts to get spent, big swaths of it on environmental-related concerns, Reporter’s Toolbox points to a problem for journalists covering it — there appears to be no single database to help track the money. But for intrepid reporters, various data sources are out there to help tell the story.
In a second Issue Backgrounder looking at major environmental questions before the U.S. Supreme Court, SEJournal considers the long-standing controversy about the definition of “waters of the United States.” The Clean Water Act case, which the high court could (re)decide during its next term, would have profound environmental and economic implications. The latest Backgrounder wades into the issue.
"President Joe Biden has tapped Catherine J.K. Sandoval for the US Chemical Hazard and Safety Investigation Board."