William Baker Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2022 The oil and gas industry recently announced plans to end gas flaring by 2030. Flaring involves the controlled release of excess gas from natural gas wells. While this practice is commonplace in the oil and gas industry, it nevertheless harms the environment …
Container ports from coast to coast are inundated with empty cargo containers. The Federal Maritime Commission has commenced an investigation into America’s import and export flows, as many ports are overcrowded with empty containers that have yet to be collected or transported back to their point of origin. Carriers that fail to remove empty containers from the port run the risk of incurring fines or penalties, but there is widespread inconsistency with regard to port authorities and their enforcement practices. In addition, the global pandemic has exacerbated container congestion, as shipping flows reached an all-time high in 2020 and citizens around the world have become increasingly reliant on online retailers to deliver household goods.
Shipping is the backbone of today’s globalized world and accounts for the carriage of roughly 90% of international trade. Given the sheer number of countries that engage in international shipping, the United Nations created an agency known as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for regulatory oversight purposes. The IMO subsequently created the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), the most significant international agreement dealing with maritime vessel pollution to date. A predominant responsibility of the IMO is to reduce shipping emissions, seeing as the industry accounts for nearly 3% of global CO2 emissions. Likewise, sulfur emissions are unacceptably high, which has compelled the IMO to take unprecedented steps toward reducing the sulfur content in the grade of fuel oil used by maritime vessels.
A whistleblower recently called attention to unsafe landing practices at the Detroit Metro Airport. The whistleblower, a veteran air traffic controller, has helped uncover dangerous flaws in the airport’s instrument landing system (ILS). This system emits radio waves that help guide approaching aircraft to the center of the runway. Air traffic control recordings attest to the danger, as many pilots have voiced complaints about the flawed system upon landing. Nevertheless, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has failed to take immediate corrective actions. The U.S. Special Counsel recently notified the President about this lapse in safety, but it remains to be determined whether officials at the Detroit Metro Airport have repaired or replaced the faulty system.
Boeing’s fleet of 737 Max jets remain grounded in the wake of two crashes that occurred shortly after takeoff and within five months of each other. Both crashes killed all passengers on board, a total of 346 people, and the jets’ black box data recorders have revealed many similarities between the two incidents. Both jets were equipped with Boeing’s newly implemented stall-prevention software called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The system automatically adjusts the pitch of the aircraft, but it malfunctioned in both crashes when MCAS seized control from the pilots and plunged the jets into the ground. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not yet announced when these jets will be allowed to fly again, although test flights have recently been conducted.