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Hydraulic fracturing, an oil and gas drilling technique commonly referred to as “fracking,” has experienced a profound expansion in the United States since the dawn of the twenty-first century. Providing an influx of cheap oil and gas and new job opportunities, the boom has worked wonders for the American economy. However, with the financial benefits came considerable environmental risks, such as air pollution and water contamination. With the federal government’s role in regulating fracking uncertain, the states have taken up the torch in managing the practice.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is one of our nation’s oldest environmental statutes. It was passed decades before the major environmental law renaissance of the 1970s, and is lesser known than the more contemporary wildlife protection statutes that dominate headlines and political debate, such as the Endangered Species Act.
In 2016, the United States Supreme Court decided Sturgeon v. Frost, which posed the question of whether the federal government may regulate activities on nonfederal lands within the hundred million acres of land designated for preservation under a 1980 federal statute, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). The Court did not answer the question, instead vacating the Ninth Circuit’s interpretation of the relevant statutory language.
When honey bee populations began to drastically decline in 2006 from what came to be known as Colony Collapse Disorder, the response from the United States Department of Agriculture was swift. As research emerged on the causes, pesticides—specifically a new and widely used class of pesticides called neonicotinoids—quickly emerged as an identifiable culprit.