January 2011

I love to carpool. We live in Vermont–a rural state where people drive many miles; possibly the most per capita in the country—yet we only own one car. My colleagues graciously drive me to work even though they know that they are unlikely to ever get a ride from me (though I always offer gas money and pay for gas whenever we stop). I have organized the carpool schedule, and would prefer to own zero cars. Yet, according to this article, carpooling is now unpopular, and the carpooling rate is falling. Car ownership, and accompanying convenience, is too common, urban planning and sprawl requiring driving, and driving is relatively inexpensive.

One of the great parts about being a Fulbright Scholar in China was meeting the recipients of the Fulbright student fellowships.  These American graduate students were all fluent in Chinese and had extraordinary research projects planned.  One such student studied the Chinese tea industry, but also found himself doing some fascinating environmental/public health journalism.  Here’s his fascinating (but disgusting) article about the China’s sewer-oil problem.

From today’s NT Times:

The Pentagon says that only two schools — Vermont Law School in South Royalton, Vt., and William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul — have barred military recruiters.

But as soon as Mr. Obama and the military certify the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Vermont and William Mitchell will allow recruiters on campus, spokesman for both said on Wednesday. It is not clear when that might happen, but Mr. Obama said in his speech that he expected it to occur “this year.”


Should I submit my article to this journal?… just for the fun of it.


See here. The Times article reads:

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Thursday that he would authorize the unrestricted commercial cultivation of genetically modified alfalfa, setting aside a controversial compromise that had generated stiff opposition.

In making the decision, Mr. Vilsack pulled back from a novel proposal that would have restricted the growing of genetically engineered alfalfa to protect organic farmers from so-called biotech contamination. That proposal drew criticism at a recent Congressional hearing and in public forums where Mr. Vilsack outlined the option.

See here.

Sitting here watching the State of the Union, and some brief thoughts:

I was happy to hear the President’s many calls for improved high-speed rail.

I think the biggest shout-outs to the liberal base were expressing the tax cuts on millionaires should not be permanent, and highlighting the end of DADT (and Vermont Law School has not allowed military recruiters in light of DADT, and I think the President just asked us to change our policy).

What is going to happen to earmarks?

As someone who teaches Natural Resources Law, I enjoyed the salmon joke.  “We live and do business in the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV. There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there’s my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they’re in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”

Finally, despite many on both sides of the political aisle who think Obama is a big liberal, the President is not.  He was and is a pragmatic moderate Democratic.  And I actually think, as a result, this political environment (e.g., the Dems not controlling both houses) will actually work to his political advantage.

The Center for Ocean Solutions, based in Monterey and Stanford, California, is seeking a legal and policy intern for the summer of 2011.  See here.

Second Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship

at Vermont Law School

September 23, 2011


Vermont Law School will host the Second Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship on September 23, 2011.  The Colloquium offers the opportunity for environmental law scholars to present their works-in-progress and recent scholarship, to get feedback from their colleagues, and to meet and interact with those who are also teaching and researching in the environmental and natural resources law area.

If you are interested in presenting a paper at the Colloquium, please submit a working title and short abstract to Professor Jason J. Czarnezki at czarnezki@gmail.com no later than April 15, 2011. For an abstract to be eligible for submission, the author must anticipate that the paper will still be at a revisable stage (neither published nor so close to publication that significant changes are not feasible) by the date of the Colloquium.  We will do our best to include all interested presenters, and will notify authors about acceptances no later than May 2011.

In a slight modification to last year’s format, this year, all selected participants will be required to submit a paper draft no later than September 1, 2011, and all participants will be asked to provide commentary on another participant’s paper draft at the Colloquium.  Final papers will also be eligible for publication in the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law.

The Colloquium will take place on Friday, September 23, and Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Center and its faculty will host a cocktail reception on Thursday evening, and dinner on Friday evening.  Further Colloquium details regarding schedule, events, lodging, and transportation will be forthcoming and available at http://www.vermontlaw.edu.

In my forthcoming book, I suggest that the only potential “mascot” for the climate cause is the polar bear.  Now it seems to be a reality, but I’m not as big a fan of this commercial as others.  And we still have the problem of what is used to produce the electricity.

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