The eJournal is sponsored by the Environmental Law Center at the Vermont Law School, home to one of the nation's leading environmental law programs. Since establishing the Environmental Law Center in 1978, Vermont Law School has been training people to be environmental leaders in government, nonprofits, corporations, and private practice - locally, nationally, and internationally. With the largest and deepest graduate environmental law program in the country, the Environmental Law Center offers the most comprehensive environmental law and policy curriculum in the nation for law students, and also confers the Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP) and Master of Laws in Environmental Law (LLM) degrees, as well as a joint JD/MELP degree. The Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center is also home to the Institute for Energy and the Environment, Environmental Tax Policy Institute, Climate Legacy Initiative, Land Use Institute, Partnership for Environmental Law in China, and Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic.
NATURAL RESOURCES LAW & POLICY eJOURNAL
Sponsored by the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School
"Food and Virtual Water in the Great Lakes States"
DePaul Law Review, Vol. 63, 2014
Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 15-14
MELISSA K. SCANLAN, Vermont Law School
JENNY KEHL, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
The virtual water content of food needs to be understood and regulated, due to the vast amount of water involved in food production. Virtual water is the total amount of water used to produce a product. Such water consumption has been coined â€śvirtual,â€? because the water use is hidden, embedded in the production of the product. For example, it takes approximately 119 gallons of water to produce one ear of corn. The virtual water content required to produce the corn is largely invisible to the consumer.
As water scarcity increasingly affects food security, negotiations over water rights, allocations, and exports will become more contentious. The quantification is insufficient to prevent conflict, especially in times of scarcity. Legal mechanisms must be in place to address the emerging concept of virtual water and to provide protection against inadvertently diminishing the water commons via agricultural trade.
The purpose of this Article is to illuminate discussion of virtual water in food. We focus this analysis on the Great Lakes states because this is a significant agricultural region for the United States and there is an existing legal structure in place that governs the shared use of Great Lakes waters under the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.
This Article provides first-of-its-kind calculations of the quantity of virtual water being exported from the Great Lakes region via agriculture. These data show that the Great Lakes region is a net exporter of virtual water through its agricultural production and export. We analyze these data in light of the existing legal framework for managing the waters of the Great Lakes Basin and discuss the potential for existing laws to address the net water loss in the Great Lakes region resulting from exports of virtual water through food production. Through this analysis we identify complex, and largely unanswered, questions for policymakers, and make normative recommendations for how the law should evolve to simultaneously promote sustainable water use and food security.
"The Greenback, the Humpback, and the Silverback: How a Third Wave of Federal Water Policy Could Benefit the West"
Oregon Law Review, Vol. 93, Forthcoming
UNM School of Law Research Paper
REED D. BENSON, University of New Mexico - School of Law
Proposing any major new federal initiative regarding water in the western United States might seem outlandish, given conventional wisdom and entrenched positions on state control of water resources. But there is a strong rationale, and a growing imperative, for a new federal water policy for the West. Many river basins face serious problems as limited water supplies are overallocated, demands continue to increase, and climate change promises to exacerbate the Westâ€™s perennial problems of scarcity and variability. Solutions to such problems are likely to be expensive, and will need to address national interests as well as state and local concerns.
Like the first two eras of federal water policy â€” water project development, followed by environmental protection â€” the third wave will need to bring federal money to the table in proportion to the size of the problems to be solved. But that money will come with important conditions, helping to ensure that western water problems are resolved in a way that meets national needs. This article begins by summarizing the value of the federal role in western water management, then examines the first two waves of federal water policy, exploring how Congress employed a broadly similar approach to both building water supply projects and regulating water quality. It then turns to some indications of modern demands for federal involvement in western water issues, and concludes with some observations about important elements of a third wave of federal water policy for the West.
"Promoting Access to Modern Energy Sources in Small Island Developing States"
OUTREACH, Stakeholderforum, p. 8, August 2014
RAFAEL LEAL-ARCAS, Queen Mary University of London - School of Law
Energy is the mainstay of todayâ€™s economy in the developed world, in the rapidly industrializing developing world, and in other parts of the world. Such is its importance to the modern economy that energy security has been linked to national security. Yet one in five people in the world today has no access to electricity, and there are large inequalities in per capita electricity consumption across countries. Regions which are most affected by energy poverty are small island developing states, sub-Saharan Africa, and developing Asia. Such inequalities often have their roots in history, but some crucial questions arise: Is the global energy economy being collectively managed in an effective way that is steering us towards greater energy security for all? Is the global governance framework for energy security comprehensive and inclusive?
"'Death by a Thousand Straws': Why and How the Great Lakes Council Should Define 'Reasonable Water Supply Alternative' Within the Great Lakes Compact"
Iowa Law Review, Forthcoming
AMANDA K. BEGGS, University of Iowa - College of Law
In 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (â€śGreat Lakes Compactâ€? or â€śCompactâ€?). The Compact is a legally binding instrument between all the Great Lakes states that manages all water diversions out of the Great Lakes. The Compact sets a general prohibition on diverting water out of the Great Lakes and delineates a few exceptions to that ban. Under the Compact, a community in a â€śstraddling countyâ€? is eligible for a diversion out of the Great Lakes if it demonstrates, among other things, that it does not have a â€śreasonable water supply alternative,â€? and receives approval from all members of the Great Lakes Council. To date, the Great Lakes Council has not defined â€śreasonable water supply alternative,â€? leaving it up to the Compact member states to develop their own definitions. The Great Lakes Councilâ€™s failure to define â€śreasonable water supply alternativeâ€? leaves the Councilâ€™s decisions to approve or deny a community in a â€śstraddling countyâ€™sâ€? diversion application vulnerable to legal challenges. This Note suggests that the Great Lakes Council should define â€śreasonable water supply alternativeâ€? with a focus on the alternativeâ€™s effectiveness in terms of public health and environmental effects as opposed to the alternativeâ€™s costs because this formulation will help avoid litigation and effectuate the purpose of the Compact.
About this eJournal
Sponsored by: Institute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School. This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts dealing with the regulation, management, and distribution of natural resources. The eJournal will discuss a diverse array of natural resource topics such as public and private land use, wildlife and biodiversity, forest protection, mineral rights, parks and wilderness, the public trust doctrine, water and wetlands, and tribal lands and resources.
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ENVIRONMENTAL & NATURAL RESOURCES LAW EJOURNALS
BERNARD S. BLACK
Northwestern University - School of Law, Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
RONALD J. GILSON
Stanford Law School, Columbia Law School, European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
Please contact us at the above addresses with your comments, questions or suggestions for LSN-Sub.
Natural Resources Law & Policy eJournal
LEE P. BRECKENRIDGE
Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law
Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley - School of Law
TIMOTHY P. DUANE
Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz
Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law
Associate Professor of Law, University of Maine - School of Law
ROBERT V. PERCIVAL
Robert F. Stanton Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Law Program, University of Maryland - Francis King Carey School of Law
Assistant Professor of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School
J. B. RUHL
David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law, Vanderbilt University - Law School
MARK STEPHEN SQUILLACE
Professor of Law and Director of the Natural Resources Law Center, University of Colorado Law School
Associate Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School
Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law