Category:

Energy

Nuclear Energy: Safety and Viability

The United States currently stands ready to make energy decisions that will impact every U.S. citizen alive today and generations moving forward. President Joe Biden committed to fighting climate change in his campaign for President and has continued in this vein by making goals to halve U.S. carbon emissions by 2030 and further, to create a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. The key to this plan is the not-so-simple issue of electricity generation.

The Latest Environmental Regulations and What It Means for the US

For the past few weeks, world leaders have been discussing climate action and how to tackle the growing problem at COP26. They recently reached an agreement that pushes countries to strengthen climate targets that can be achieved in the near future and limit fossil fuel use, but they are still facing criticism from scientists who say it is not enough. While they did come up with language urging countries to move away from fossil fuels, there are few concrete goals written leaving it largely up to the countries themselves to decide how to meet those goals.

Data’s Dirty Little Secret – The Under Scrutinized Environmental Impact of Data Storage

When you think about what things harm the environment, your mind likely goes to gas-guzzling cars, single-use plastics, and cow farts. But when you’re considering your carbon footprint, the environmental impact of data storage is likely something you’ve left out. While the shows we stream, documents we download, and pictures we upload to social media may not take up storage space on our devices, the data must be stored somewhere, and that storage does not come without a cost.

Let’s Build Better Sooner Rather Than Later

“A building is only built once.”

So writes Ellen Vaughan, Policy Director at the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (“EESI”), and Jim Turner, former Chief Counsel at the EESI. The consequences of new construction can last for the entire life of that building and beyond. Just how and with what materials a building is constructed impacts energy, environment, resilience, and safety as well as cost effectiveness, functionality, accessibility, productivity, and overall sustainability. The how of building is an incredibly important part of the life of residential and commercial builds which can only be affected prior to the start of the entire process.

Illinois Energy Code Compliance: A Lost Cause?

The International Code Council (ICC) originally adopted the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in 2000. The 2021 IECC addresses energy efficiency on several fronts including cost, energy usage, use of natural resources, and the impact of energy usage on the environment. As of June 2019, Illinois has adopted a statewide commercial and residential building code based off the 2018 IECC. This Illinois Energy Conservation Code (Illinois Energy Code) was implemented with the belief that buildings built in compliance with these energy performance standards would see annual energy costs reduced by approximately thirty percent.

Should the United States Government Continue Subsidizing the Fossil Fuel Industry?

In his proposed American Jobs Plan, President Biden has stated that if the United States wants to achieve its decarbonization targets and get climate change under control, cutting off government support to the fossil fuel industry is a crucial first step. Eliminating government subsidies for fossil fuels is the most logical step in fighting back against climate change, but Biden is facing an uphill battle to get his American Jobs Plan passed through Congress.

Stronger Health Regulations in the Fracking Industry Benefit the Industry and Workers Alike

As a compliance deadline set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) for the fracking industry approaches on June 23, 2021, both the industry and the workers employed by it are seeing benefits. Created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA sets out regulations meant to protect employees from work conditions that threaten their health and monitors and enforces compliance with those standards.

Flaring and the Flagrancy of its Environmental Devastation

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 …
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Re-Regulating the Automotive Industry & the Road Ahead

A new President and a changing administration mean new priorities across some, if not all of the major executive agencies. One of the more heavily impacted industries will be transportation—specifically the automotive sector. From re-instating stricter emissions standards to moving forward with automated vehicle regulations, the automotive industry in the early 2020s should see innovation and progress at the forefront of the country’s new federal regulatory scheme.

Extracting the Middle Ground: Is it Time to Federally Regulate Fracking?

The use of fracking has made the United States the global leader in natural gas and crude oil production.  However, the practice is not without controversy.  Activist groups have called for a ban against fracking as scientists have warned of potential health and environmental impacts, while energy lobbyists have fought bitterly against any restrictions or regulations.  As it stands, U.S. regulating of fracking has been mostly left ineffectively to the states, with exemptions to federal regulations on the books. As the societal costs of fracking become better understood, regulators and policy makers must make difficult decisions regarding the practice.