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.

Sponsored by the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School

"Food and Virtual Water in the Great Lakes States" Free Download
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 “virtual,� 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" Free Download
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 West’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 — water project development, followed by environmental protection — 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.

"Conversion of Jointly-Held Old Order Mining Rights: An All and Nothing Ruling? Minister of Mineral Resources of the RSA v Sishen Iron Ore (394/12) [2013] ZASCA 50 (28 March 2013)" Free Download
Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law, Vol. 77, p. 145-155, 2014

PIETER BADENHORST, Deakin University - Faculty of Business and Law
NIC OLIVIER, University of Pretoria

In this case, the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the decision of Zondo J in Sishen Iron Ore Company (Pty) Limited v Minister of Mineral Resources (28980/10) [2011] ZAGPPHC 220 (20 December 2011) in respect of the extinction of an undivided share in an old order mining right that had been held jointly by two parties in the case where the one holder thereof had not applied for its conversion into a new order right. The court also upheld the decision of the court a quo that such extinction resulted in the holder of the other part of this joint old order mining right who had applied for the conversion thereof into a new order mining right (in accordance with the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 becoming by operation of law the “exclusive holder� of the mining right in respect of the minerals concerned (iron ore and quartzite).

"Promoting Access to Modern Energy Sources in Small Island Developing States" Free Download
OUTREACH, Stakeholderforum, p. 8, August 2014

RAFAEL LEAL-ARCAS, Queen Mary University of London - School of Law

Energy is the mainstay of today’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" Free Download
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 (“Great Lakes Compact� or “Compact�). 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 “straddling county� is eligible for a diversion out of the Great Lakes if it demonstrates, among other things, that it does not have a “reasonable water supply alternative,� and receives approval from all members of the Great Lakes Council. To date, the Great Lakes Council has not defined “reasonable water supply alternative,� leaving it up to the Compact member states to develop their own definitions. The Great Lakes Council’s failure to define “reasonable water supply alternative� leaves the Council’s decisions to approve or deny a community in a “straddling county’s� diversion application vulnerable to legal challenges. This Note suggests that the Great Lakes Council should define “reasonable water supply alternative� with a focus on the alternative’s effectiveness in terms of public health and environmental effects as opposed to the alternative’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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Advisory Board

Natural Resources Law & Policy eJournal

Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law

Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

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 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

David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law, Vanderbilt University - Law School

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