Category:

Environmental

The Potential Impacts of Artificial Intelligence in the Environmental Context

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) has been quickly evolving over the past few years, satisfying unexpected needs and allowing for innovative solutions to different problems. More recently, environmental organizations are increasingly interested in potential AI solutions for environmental issues. AI has the potential to streamline regulatory compliance in the environmental context by switching the approach of environmental regulation from responding to current problems into prevention of future problems through data analysis, predictive analysis, and easier reporting procedures for violations of environmental regulation.

EPA Re-Defines “Waterways” in New Rule Following Sackett v. EPA

EPA Re-Defines “Waterways” in New Rule Following Sackett v. EPA Amanda Lane Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2025 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Army (together, Agencies) issued an amended final rule in August of 2023 revising the definition of “waters of the United States” following the …
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Harmony or Havoc: Balancing Tailpipe Emission Reductions and the Unseen Risks of Electric Vehicles

The effects of climate change and environmental degradation are more apparent than ever, with experts predicting that 2024 will possibly be the hottest year on record. Although significant progress remains to be seen, meaningful efforts like the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022 cannot be understated. Still, much more is necessary if the world plans to stay within the 1.5°C threshold, which experts predict will be surpassed by the 2030s. Recognizing the need for urgent, dramatic action, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new standards that would impose dramatic emissions limits on new vehicles produced beginning in 2027. The rule includes a “phase-in” period, allowing some flexibility for vehicle manufacturers to comply with the proposed standards, giving them five years to make the necessary adjustments. This ambitious plan aligns with President Biden’s Executive Order 14037, which sets forth the Administration’s priorities in promoting zero-emissions vehicles. The EPA specifically emphasized the Executive Order’s goal of having “50 percent of U.S. new vehicle sales to be zero-emission vehicles by 2030.” Given that passenger vehicles make up an estimated 17% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, with transportation being the “single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States,” the goal is admirable. However, achieving this transition to electric vehicles raises deep concerns related to deep seabed mining, the process of extracting critical minerals for batteries from the ocean floor.

The Battle Over the Endangered Species Act: Reversing Trump-era Changes and Protecting Imperiled Wildlife

On January 20, 2021, his first day in office, President Biden passed Executive Order 13990, directing all executive departments and agencies to “immediately review” existing regulations, orders, policies, etc. that were “promulgated, issued, or adopted” by the previous administration between January 20, 2017 and January 20, 2021 and identify those that are or may be inconsistent with “important national objectives” regarding protecting public health, the environment, and restoring science. The order further directs agency heads to review such policies and consider whether to take any agency actions to fully restore and enforce important national objectives. A key focus of this order was to strengthen and fully enforce the Endangered Species Act, emphasizing the importance of conservation efforts and wildlife protection.

New Rule Proposed by the EPA to Regulate “Forever Chemicals” in Drinking Water

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to regulate drinking water contaminants and require monitoring of public water systems. On March 14, 2023, the EPA announced the proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for a new federal standard to regulate PFAS in drinking water. PFAS are synthetic chemicals that can repel oil, water, and stains, which makes them useful for many products and industries. While there are currently state laws regulating PFAS in drinking water, the federal rule would be a huge step towards reducing exposure to these “forever chemicals” and preventing harm to public health. 

Sustainability and Environmental Regulations in the Food Industry

The food industry is crucial for ensuring food security and plays a significant role in the global economy. Yet, its environmental footprint often exacerbates the ecological crisis, nudging regulators and stakeholders towards more sustainable practices. Exploring the connection between sustainability initiatives and environmental regulations in the food industry unveils a complex narrative overflowing with progress and challenges. 

Melting Point: SEC’s Climate Disclosure Rule and Scope 3 Emissions

With every wildfire, catastrophic storm, and record-breaking heat, climate change is at our front doors. But what can help mitigate some of these effects? Regulations. Holding big polluters responsible for their carbon emissions is a crucial way to mitigate the effects of carbon emissions. Although many big companies voluntarily disclose some of their climate data, the pressure can come from investors, not the government. In an effort to enhance and standardize public companies’ climate data, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a controversial Climate-Disclosure Rule in April 2022. 

Generation Green: Young Activists Pave the Way for Environmental Justice in America

From blizzards striking California to wildfires ravaging Hawai’i and extreme heatwaves scorching Illinois, our world is witnessing a cascade of unexpected and alarming events. But, these are not merely isolated incidents; they are the very manifestations that climate change experts have long warned us about. While global awareness of the need for action grows, the United States continues to lag. Notwithstanding the recent unveiling of the American Climate Corps by the Biden Administration, environmental policies across the country face resistance from courts and legislators, leading to the emergence of the ‘Green Scare’ movement. In this context, an unexpected trend has materialized—the younger generation is fighting back.