Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy
Recent posts from the Center's blog.
Blog: The Politics of Fracking Campaigns
If you have been paying attention to the news this past week, and have an interest in domestic energy policy, you will probably have heard: In Texas, municipal fracking bans are now prohibited. On May 18, 2015, Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 40, which his office says will ensure that Texas landowners are protected against “the heavy hand of local regulation.” While not entirely surprising, HB 40 is a strange message to Texas residents. It is an incursion of the state government into local affairs, an overreach that Gov. Abbot is generally all too quick to condemn when the federal government inserts itself into Texan affairs, even when it results from an established congressional mandate.
Blog: Fracking News: Texas Bans Bans
Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently signed a law that prohibits local governments from banning hydraulic fracturing within their borders. The new law also limits the ability of local governments to regulate other aspects of fracking, such as drilling location. This new policy is not a complete surprise. In fall 2014, voters in Denton, Texas approved a city-wide ban on hydraulic fracturing. The first such ban in Texas, it caused a storm of criticism and new attention to the role of local governments in managing fracking.
While not surprising, the newly enacted state-wide ban on bans is a major departure from Texas tradition.
Spotlight: Dr. Angel Hsu on Solving China's Water Woes
News: What's in Your Air? [Interactive Infographic]
Take a deep breath. Hold it. Now, release. Breathing is an amazing bodily function, one that is fundamental to life and an act that we do both automatically and conscientiously. Though we are acutely aware of changes in our breathing—too fast, too shallow, too loud—most people give little thought to what is in the air we breathe.
With an estimated 3.4 million deaths annually attributed to outdoor air pollution, this lack of awareness is concerning. To better understand the linkages between air quality and human heath, a group of the world’s leading scientists convened by theEnvironmental Performance Index at Yale University came together to review the latest science on air pollution and explore how the next generation of air quality indicators can be made more useful for policy purposes.
Blog: Trying Not to Fall Through the Fracking Governance Gap
Over the past year I have been working on a project to define the local impacts of hydraulic fracturing and to develop frameworks for governing these impacts at the local level. The premise of this project is simple: federal and state law do not, and are not meant to, address uniquely local impacts from the hydraulic fracturing "boom." Along with my collaborators, John Nolon and Jessica Bacher from the Land Use Law Center at Pace Law School, and a brilliant team of students from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale Law School, we have identified dozens of these local impacts, including traffic and road degradation, noise and visual blight, stress on public services, and loss of farmland or recreational space. A new study published today in Science is a reminder that some of the impacts of hydraulic fracturing scale from local to national in scope and that the criticality of local governance does not undercut the importance of cooperative governance with federal and state policymakers.
News: Can the World Run on Renewable Energy?
Daniel Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, believes that better battery storage — a holy grail for scientists worldwide — is the key to solving the intermittency problem.
Blog: Gathering Voices, Emboldening Change, Harnessing Momentum:
On February 28, 2015, students, faculty, community leaders, businesspeople, and government officials alike gathered at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies for the 5th annual New Directions in Environmental Law Conference: Harnessing Momentum.