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It is our pleasure to introduce Ecology Law Quarterly’s 2017–18 Annual Review of Environmental and Natural Resource Law. In its nineteenth year, the Annual Review is the product of collaboration among the student authors, ELQ’s editors, Berkeley Law’s environmental law faculty, and the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment.
Addressing the threat of climate change will require a large-scale transition from fossil fuel-generated power to renewable energy. However, climate change has been politicized in the United States to such an extent that many states’ lawmakers resist embracing wind and solar power for the simple reason that it is favored by liberals. Fortunately, there are now economic as well as environmental reasons why republican lawmakers should encourage solar and wind sectors in their states.
In 1972, in his dissent to the majority’s decision in Sierra Club v. Morton, Justice Blackmun posed a question: “Must our law be so rigid and our procedural concepts so inflexible that we render ourselves helpless when the existing methods and the traditional concepts do not quite fit and do not prove to be entirely adequate for new issues?” Forty years later, Aotearoa New Zealand’s parliament answered in the negative.
In 2013, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians sued the Coachella Valley Water District and Desert Water Agency after nearly two decades of voicing its concerns to the agencies over their unsustainable groundwater management practices. Specifically, the Agua Caliente disapproved of the agencies’ overdraft mitigation techniques, which involve artificially replenishing the region’s groundwater basin with lower-quality water imported from the Colorado River.