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Author Archive

Pennsylvania House Bill 2357: Problems Posed On Riparian Landowners Bordering Non-Navigable Streams And The Taking Of Bed Ownership

Cole Konopka 

This Note argues that the enactment of the newly proposed Pennsylvania House Bill 2357 (HB 2357) will significantly alter the rights of private riparian landowners by unconstitutionally taking private land and opening it up to the public.

On June 14, 2014, Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Dan Moul proposed Bill 2357, an amendment seeking to increase fishing opportunities for the public.[1] The amendment states that “[a]ny water in this Commonwealth stocked with fish furnished by the commission, including water areas where stocked fish may migrate into, shall be open to the public for the purpose of free lawful fishing.”[2] Currently, because waters in Pennsylvania are deemed non-navigable unless decided otherwise via the court system, landowners bordering waters popularized by angling can restrict access or demand additional payment.

Can States Assert Their Right To A Carbon Free Future?: The Dormant Commerce Clause And Its Role In The Climate Legislation Case, North Dakota v. Heydinger

Alexander Jury

This Note analyzes whether states can assert their right to a carbon free future via regulation of electric industry greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Specifically, the purpose of this Note is to show that, based on the U.S. Supreme Court Commerce Clause jurisprudence surrounding regulation of the energy industry, the District Court’s ruling in North Dakota v. Heydinger[1] was improper. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals should reverse, finding Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act constitutional.

With Congress gridlocked,[2] states will be on the forefront of pioneering energy regulation to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.[3] Some states have already instituted various legal means to achieve their desired carbon footprint.[4] Meanwhile, utility companies—especially those generating electricity from fossil fuels—frequently oppose states’ efforts to lower carbon dioxide emissions.[5]

CAFOs And Contamination: Regulating Groundwater Pollution From Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Under The Clean Water Act

Irene Schwieger

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) represent a growing trend in global agriculture.[1] Despite their increasing prevalence, regulating CAFOs’ environmental impacts remains problematic: not all industrial animal farms are required to obtain waste discharge permits, and data on CAFO emissions are often limited or unavailable. Additionally, state anti-whistleblower (or “ag-gag”) laws and a general presumption against discharge contribute to preserving the animal agriculture industry’s status quo against heightened environmental regulations. This situation is alarming given the environmental and public health risks posed by CAFO discharges. These include eutrophication of U.S. waterways,[2] arsenic and other heavy metal contamination,[3] antibiotic resistance,[4] and a number of waterborne diseases originating from microbes in livestock and manure.[5]

Equitable Tolling Under The Hague Convention: An In Depth Look at Lozano v. Montoya Alvarez

Katherine Dressel

Lucia Montoya Alvarez and Manuel Jose Lozano met and fell in love in the city of London.[1] In October 2005, they gave birth to a daughter, around whom this case revolves.[2] Lozano described the relationship fondly, while his partner recalled physical and emotional abuse.[3] Lozano also remembers his daughter being generally happy for the first three years of her life, while her mother would argue the contrary.[4] The child began to exhibit crying fits and bed-wetting incidents. Montoya Alvarez also reported that her daughter refused to speak when Lozano was present.[5] Needless to say, Montoya Alvarez was concerned about her daughter’s fearful behavior around Lozano.[6] On November 19, 2008, Montoya Alvarez left home with her daughter, never to return.[7]

Beach Closed: A Summary And Analysis Of Legal Actions To Restore Public Access To Martins Beach

Katie Michel

In 2008, venture capitalist and Silicon Valley luminary Vinod Khosla acquired a coastal property in San Mateo County, California for $32.5 million.[1] The property included a stretch of coastline known as Martins Beach—a “crescent-shaped strip of sand” enclosed by “seventy-five foot cliffs” stretching into the Pacific Ocean to the north and south.[2] The coastal geography only allowed access to Martins Beach through Khosla’s property along Martins Beach Road.[3] For nearly a century, Khosla’s predecessors-in-interest, the Deeney family, had invited the public to use Martins Beach Road to access the beach for a small fee.[4] The Deeneys erected a billboard welcoming the public, and constructed a parking lot, public restrooms, and a convenience store to serve beachgoers, who for generations came to surf, fish and enjoy the scenery.[5] After continuing the Deeneys’ tradition for two years, in 2010 Khosla locked the gate across Martins Beach Road, which bore a new sign reading: “Beach Temporarily Closed for Repair.”[6]

Jumping Ship On Cargo Preference: Promoting Local Procurement Through Private Sector Organizations As A Long-Term Solution To Global Food Insecurity

Melissa Shapiro

Global food insecurity is an international crisis, persisting despite continued efforts to find a long-term solution. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”[1] Unfortunately, this standard has proven impossible to meet: roughly one in eight people—842 million—suffer from chronic hunger, with 805 million people unable to receive sufficient nourishment.[2] Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is often cited as the most impoverished region because hunger is most prevalent in these nations (at 25%). [3] Other African nations, including the Central African Republic and South Sudan are similarly vulnerable to food insecurity, with the latter finding itself on the brink of famine.[4] Yet world hunger is not isolated to Africa. The largest population of hungry people—500 million—actually reside in Asia, and 98% of food insecurity exists in developing nations around the world. This means that there are more hungry people in the world than the combined populations of the U.S. Canada, and the European Union.[5]

The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA): Improvements For More Sustainable State Management Programs Using Massachusetts as a Case Study

Alexandra Van Baars

The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972 was designed as a means for states to achieve “the effective management, beneficial use, protection, and development of the coastal zone.”[1] Although the CZMA has been effective in certain areas, there are other portions of the CZMA that have become ineffective with the rapid sea level rise contributing to shoreline change in the United States coastal zones.[2] This Note addresses the areas that need improvement and makes a number of proposals for how to increase the effectiveness of the CZMA as a whole.[3]

New Jersey Taxpayers: Funding a Feud the Legislature Could Have Fixed in ‘86

Michael Marotta

My Note begins with the story of Bergen County police officers Saheed Baksh and Jeffery Roberts. On August 12, 2010, Officer Baksh was in vehicular pursuit of a burglary suspect.[1] After passing through six towns, the suspect’s vehicle finally came to rest.[2] Officer Baksh exited his patrol vehicle and allegedly fired two shots at the suspect, who tried to escape on foot, but he missed both times.[3] Officer Roberts responded to the scene shortly thereafter, where he allegedly assisted Baksh pick up the shell casings in an attempt to cover up the shooting.[4] The two officers were indicted on charges of official misconduct, tampering with evidence, and making false statements to investigators.[5] The trial eventually ended in their acquittal and subsequent reinstatement.[6] After the trial, a malicious prosecution action against Bergen County prosecutor John Molinelli and an action for indemnification of legal fees for the acquitted officers loomed.[7] To avoid further litigation, Bergen County settled with Baksh and Roberts by reimbursing them $1.12 million for legal fees and back pay.[8] A claim has been filed with the county’s insurance, but it is unclear if it will cover the settlement.[9]

Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife—Can Environmental Litigants Regain Ground to Stand on Using the “Ecosystem Nexus” Test for Causation, Redressibility?

Sophie Guilfoyle

Pressing environmental issues such as climate change, loss of habitat and biodiversity, overpopulation, and resource shortage involve complex adaptive systems that adhere to ecological principles.[1] While ecological observation has historically been limited to local scales, conceptual and technological advances are now revealing causative relationships in environmental degradation globally.[2] With such advances, it is plausible that ecological causation showing environmental injury will be much more than “pure speculation.”[3] The judiciary’s receptiveness to evolving ecological principles directly affects environmental standing. This Note discusses the possibility of an “ecosystem nexus” acceptable to the federal judiciary that satisfies the Article III standing requirements of causation, traceability, and injury-in-fact.

Posse Comitatus—Positively Cohabitate

Jared Kelly

Acts of police violence are common in today’s news. Police officers are no strangers to using violence to achieve their means.[1] In recent years, excessive police force has occurred in tandem with military-style weapons and tactics.[2] Particularly, the events that transpired in Ferguson, Missouri beginning in August 2014 attracted worldwide media attention.[3] Police used heavy-handed tactics and military equipment to quell protests.[4] Images from Missouri instilled a sense of fear and tension between the people of the United States and law enforcement officers, whose tactics mimicked those used in war against enemies.[5]

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