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

"Comments on the OECD's 'Due Diligence Guidance for Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement in the Extractives Sector'" Free Download
New England Law | Boston Research Paper No. 15-08
University of Utah College of Law Research Paper

LISA J. LAPLANTE, New England Law | Boston
ERIKA R. GEORGE, University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Professor Lisa Laplante of New England Law | Boston’s Center for International Law and Policy (CILP) and Professor Erika George of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law’s Center for Global Justice respectfully submitted this collaborative commentary in response to the OECD’s Draft Due Diligence Guidance for Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement in the Extractives Sector which build off of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises which offer comprehensive recommendations to promote responsible business conduct. The 2011 revisions to the OECD MNE Guidelines introduced an important new provision on stakeholder engagement. Pursuant to the provision, multinational enterprises should: “engage with relevant stakeholders in order to provide meaningful opportunities for their views to be taken into account in relation to planning and decision making for projects or other activities that may significantly impact local communities.? Beyond meaningful stakeholder engagement, the OECD MNE Guidelines provide that multinational enterprises should: “carry out risk-based due diligence… to identify, prevent and mitigate actual and potential adverse impacts…and account for how these impacts are addressed.?

Because the nature of business in the extractive sector often requires a long term presence in a particular location and large capital and infrastructure investments meaningful stakeholder engagement is especially important for enterprises engaged in the business of resource extraction. Moreover, the extensive social, economic and environmental impacts often associated with particular business practices warrants serious consideration of the interests of multiple stakeholders. Understanding extractive sector enterprises to include enterprises conducting exploration, development, extraction, processing, transport, and/or storage of oil, gas and minerals, it is a critically important sector for the global economy. For that reason the OECD developed these recent Guidelines.

"Hydropower in Sub-Saharan Africa: Making Energy and Development Possible" Free Download

MATTHIEU BONVOISIN, Stanford University, School of Law, Students

Although those of us in developed countries take power production and the efficiencies for granted, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that approximately 1.4 billion people have no access to electricity. In particular, those in the least developed countries could be described as being “energy-impoverished?. Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly afflicted with more than 70% of the population having no access to power whatsoever. The African continent possesses an invaluable resource, largely untapped, in its vast number and extent of tributaries including thousands of miles of waterways. Africa has been moving forward to exploit its hydropower potential and developing adequate infrastructure is a cornerstone in order to compete on the world’s economic stage.

This empirical study is aimed to provide a descriptive case study of two pioneering, regional hydropower projects in SSA and partly financed by the World Bank. The initial analysis of the two projects reviewed have contrasting outcomes according to World Bank evaluations conducted upon project completion. Several years later, the expectations for these vanguard projects fell short according to experts around the globe. The testimony of World Bank lawyers, economists, international consultants and Ivory Coast’s Minister for Economic Infrastructure shed light on the formidable challenges encountered in the sustainability of large-scale energy infrastructure projects. While some short-term successes could be counted in the building of the actual energy generation and transmission infrastructures, long-term perspectives have been grave and largely affected by project administration deficiencies, political interference, inadequacy of electricity tariffication policy and lack of serious follow-through toward countries’ financial obligations.

Over the last decade, the region has been implementing a common strategy promoting large scale cooperation in the energy sector and the creation of regional power pools. Such efforts combined with the development of new infrastructure projects and lessons learned from the past will ideally mitigate the most common challenges arising in projects of this magnitude. The concerted focus should be directed toward a cost-effective orientation intended to attract private sector investors who would demand accountable management thereby creating a market motivation for project sustainability. Ultimately, the successful delivery of affordable and reliable power will contribute to a vision where all have ready access to clean energy, the energizing catalyst driving a developed Africa.

"Re-Imagining Mining: The Earth Charter as a Guide for Ecological Mining Reform" Free Download
Carla Sbert, "Re-Imagining Mining: The Earth Charter as a Guide for Ecological Mining Reform," (2015) 6 IUCNAEL EJournal 66.

CARLA SBERT, University of Ottawa, Graduate Studies in Law, Students

With its far-reaching effects on society and the environment, mining has a crucial role to play in building a sustainable world, and must be profoundly transformed. The Earth Charter offers an ethical grounding for the transition to a world of sustainability, equity, and peace. This transition becomes ever more urgent as the global ecological, economic, and social crises deepen.

This paper argues that the Earth Charter provides guidance for ecological mining reform, and draws from it three overarching rules: cause no serious environmental harm, minimize depletion, and protect the rights of people. To mine in a way that is consistent with these principles of ecological justice and ecological integrity would entail a profound transformation of mining. While very challenging, this surely would be easier than experiencing collapse, and the reward might be nothing less than an ecologically just society.


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.

Editor: Melissa K. Scanlan, Vermont Law School


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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