Farmland preservation has become an important pursuit for those seeking to protect the working landscape. One of the most common approaches for securing this protection is through the targeted use of agricultural conservation easements, typically perpetual land use agreements designed to limit incompatible activities in order to preserve future agricultural viability. Since the 1990s, agricultural conservation easements have protected millions of acres of land, and many of these donations have relied on the federal tax incentives provided by section 170(h) of the Internal Revenue Code to facilitate these transactions.
Recent years have shown an uptick in lawsuits involving sustainability disclosures, or lack thereof, by companies. In the United States, litigation involving sustainability disclosures has primarily arisen in two statutory contexts: securities fraud (federal law) and consumer protection or consumer fraud (state and federal law). Essentially, these cases involve allegations that a company has either provided false and misleading information, or omitted information, about corporate sustainability practices.
The continuing failure of the federal government to respond to the growing threat of climate change, despite affirmative duties to do so, creates a governance vacuum that the Constitution might help fill, if such a responsibility could be found within the document. This Article explores textual and non-textual constitutional support for that responsibility, finding that no single provision of the Constitution is a perfect fit for that responsibility.
In 2017, multiple claims and declarations from around the legal world appeared to signal a tipping point in the global acceptance of a new and evolving legal status for nature. Whether it was litigation in the United States, India, and Colombia, or legislation emanating from New Zealand and Australia, the law seems to be grappling with a new normative order in relation to the legal status of nature. However, this shift has been a long time coming, being at least forty- five years since Christopher Stone famously asked whether trees should have legal standing.