Government

How 'Rights of Nature' Is Recasting the Relationship Between Law and the Earth

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.

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EPA’s FOIA Report Updates Progress on Backlog Reduction

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.

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Critical Mistakes By USFS Caused Devastating New Mexico Wildfire: Report

"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."

Source: AP, 06/22/2022

"Native American Tribes To Co-Manage National Monument For First Time"

"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."

Source: Washington Post, 06/21/2022

"Clean Energy, Water Projects Get Boost In Spending Bill"

"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."

Source: E&E News, 06/21/2022

Unpacking Bipartisan Infrastructure Law With Data … But Not Databases

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.

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Supreme Court Winds Up for Another Swing at Clean Water Act

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.

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June 22, 2022 to June 23, 2022

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Virtual Public Meeting

The U.S. EPA's next NEJAC two-day public meeting will run approximately 1:00-5:00 pm (ET) each day, for the purpose of finalizing advice and recommendations on EPA’s investments to address environmental justice through the Justice40 Initiative. This free meeting is open to the public. Registration is required.

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