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OK, so the title is a bit of hyperbole. But every social movement has its inspirational leaders, and Pete played a huge role in galvanizing the environmental movement. His great gift was the power of song — not [just] as performance but as political participation. He brought people together for a cleaner Hudson River and […]

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So the Supreme Court has granted cert in the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius cases. In both of these cases, for-profit corporations are challenging the application of the birth control coverage employer mandates of the Affordable Care Act on the grounds that these mandates violate the religious freedoms […]

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The Land Use Law Center’s annual Land Use & Sustainable Development Conference is a significant educational event in the region, with more than 200 attorneys, business professionals, and local leaders learning about national, regional, and local challenges and innovations. This year’s theme: Leading Communities toward a Resilient Future Join us on December 6th at the […]

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Advances in district energy systems, combined heat and power, and trigeneration technologies allow multiple building owners to cooperate to produce energy on-site and share power for heating and cooling to reduce energy consumption in buildings by over 70 percent; local zoning is learning how to embrace and facilitate these novel land uses. This blog post […]

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The Fifth Assessment Report is out from the IPCC.  Andy Revkin’s DotEarth blog has an excellent summary.  No real surprises — the Earth has warmed, is warming, and will warm, the oceans are acidifying and human beings are in fact responsible for these changes due primarily to carbon emissions from fossil fuels. What is new […]

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Building technology and energy codes matured greatly during the last two decades making it possible for buildings, which consume 40 percent of the nation’s energy, to be net zero energy users, calling on government to translate technological advances into codes and to incentivize private owners to build and retrofit accordingly.  Local governments have the legal […]

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“Scientists Announce That Humanity Can Afford to Burn Twice as much Carbon as Previously Thought.”   File that thought among headlines-you-never-saw-in-the-New-York-Times.  But buried in Eduardo  Porter’s  Economics Scene column last month endorsing nuclear power as mitigation for global warming was just such a suggestion. Porter cites an “authoritative new study” for the proposition that  ”humanity […]

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Over the past two decades, some coherence in the federal environmental legal system has been achieved, but climate change now demands a stronger legal framework ensuring that federal, state, and local agencies work together to leverage available resources. Despite this imperative, recent legislation in North Carolina prohibiting the State Coastal Resources Commission from defining sea […]

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Open Space Law: Sequestration

The last two decades witnessed a surge in adopting local and state open space protection laws and strategies. These techniques are now being examined as capable of protecting and enhancing the sequestering environment, which captures and stores from 15 to 20 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. This blog post is adapted from my […]

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From Coal & Oil To Gas

Debates are raging in states underlain by shale gas formations, triggering arguments about the economic, health, and environmental impacts of a seemingly more climate-friendly source of energy. As we move from coal and oil to gas, countless decisions must be made about which level of government in our legal system should regulate which aspects of […]

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