It is our pleasure to introduce Ecology Law Quarterly’s 2016–17 Annual Review of Environmental and Natural Resource Law. This is the Annual Review’s eighteenth year and is a product of collaboration among the ELQ editors and student authors, Berkeley Law’s environmental law faculty, and the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment.
Today in California, urban infill development proliferates. A welcome alternative to decades of greenfield expansion, this infill boom is the culmination of regulatory incentives like SB 375, economic growth in urban areas, as well as increasing awareness of the climate evils of vehicle emissions (quantified in vehicle miles traveled, or VMT). The social, spatial, environmental, and economic effects of this infill boom are far-flung and implicate many areas of study.
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.