Hidden in the food we eat daily, chlorpyrifos has been afflicting innocent people for decades. Chlorpyrifos kills insects upon contact by disrupting their nervous system. Similar to other organophosphate pesticides, chlorpyrifos is toxic to the nervous system because it creates an accumulation of acetylcholine which prevents regulated communication between nerve cells and overstimulates the nerves. Unfortunately, EPA has found chlorpyrifos to also affect human health by causing headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, muscle twitching, loss of coordination, respiratory paralysis, vomiting, diarrhea, brain damage to children, IQ reduction, working memory loss, and death.
As a “nation of immigrants,” the United States has a long and contentious history with immigration. Powerful economic and political forces, coinciding with rising racial and cultural tensions, have rendered immigration one of the defining challenges of the past century. In response to demographic shifts and economic anxiety, views of what it means to be an American have become increasingly disparate, culminating in the successful 2016 presidential bid of Donald Trump. Caught in the crossfire are the more than 11 million undocumented individuals estimated to be living in the U.S.
In recent years, communities across the United States have discovered water contamination from per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS). Research on the health impacts of PFAS contamination suggests that exposure to these chemicals is associated with various diseases, such as high cholesterol and cancer. Because of their widespread use in firefighting foams, these chemicals are particularly prevalent on military bases, airports, and in surrounding communities. Thus, people living in communities with PFAS-contaminated water may have elevated levels of PFAS in their blood and face significant potential health problems.
The Great Lakes are a unique natural resource and are considered one of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystems. Collectively, the Great Lakes make up roughly 21% of the planet’s surface freshwater, help support a six trillion-dollar regional economy, and define the Great Lakes region. Because the Great Lakes are such a valuable natural resource that are shared and held in trust by the Great Lakes states, it is imperative that federal, state, and tribal governments continually manage this natural resource in a cooperative manner.
Consider the hazards of perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. One, PFOA is toxic to humans and animals. The chemical contributes to liver and thyroid damage, low infant birthweight, decreased immune function, and cancer. Two, PFOA is elemental in the American home. Due to its convenient water and stain-resistant properties, PFOA was once used in cookware, food packaging, clothing, and carpet. Three, PFOA is ubiquitous in the environment. The blood of ninety-nine percent of the U.S. population now contains PFOA and Antarctic soils bear its traces. Four, PFOA is resistant to decomposition, bioaccumulative, and mobile through air and water. In an adult human, PFOA has a half-life of 8 years.
No other law has adversely affected the real estate market like the Conservation Environmental Recovery, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Upon Congress’s adoption of CERCLA in 1980, CERCLA liability tied up every contaminated parcel of land. Estimates of the total cost of remediating every Brownfield reach $650 billion. The overwhelming fear of CERCLA liability stifled the real estate market. From rural communities to inner cities, CERCLA has financially frustrated the nation as a whole.
Kimberly E. Johnson
Will the New England Fishery Management Council’s recent Clam Dredge Framework harm critically endangered North Atlantic right whale habitat by permitting hydraulic clam dredging in three excepted areas of the Great South Channel Habitat Management Area? On April 9, 2018, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of Commerce approved the final rule to implement the New England Fisheries Council Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2 (OHA2). The OHA2 made several changes to fishery management practices: (1) it revised essential fish habitat and areas of particular concern, (2) it revised or created new habitat management areas, (3) it established habitat research areas, and (4) it implemented several other administrative measures. The OHA2 established the Great South Channel Habitat Management Area (HMA), a protected area off the coast of Massachusetts. The HMA is closed to bottom-tending mobile gear, and it is closed to hydraulic clam dredge gear in the northeast corner. The New England Fishery Management Council (the Council) finalized its Clam Dredge Framework, a trailing action to the OHA2, on December 5, 2018. The Framework closed the HMA to hydraulic clam dredging but granted three exceptions for areas within the HMA where hydraulic clam dredging will be permitted. Next, the Council will submit its recommendations to NMFS/NOAA Fisheries for approval. If NMFS/NOAA approves the Council’s recommendations, right whale critical habitat in the HMA may be adversely affected by the surfclam industry’s fishing gear.
At its peak in 2009, the incarceration rate in the United States was the highest in the world, as was the total number of people incarcerated: 2.3 million Americans were incarcerated, 720 out of every 100,000 people. This explosion in the rate of incarceration was enabled by the politics of white reaction. African-Americans are incarcerated for drug convictions far beyond the proportion of the overall, or the drug-using, population that they represent. African-Americans face a 3.73 times greater likelihood of arrest for possession of marijuana than white people, despite similar rates of marijuana use. Among the most insidious harms done by the War on Drugs are the “collateral consequences” that result from criminal convictions, which include critical components of the social safety net, access to economic opportunities, and even parental rights and resources. These consequences have broadened in scope and deepened in reach concurrent with the “tough on crime” reactionary politics as exemplified by the War on Drugs.
Have thieves stolen your personal information? The answer is probably yes because data theft is on the rise. Furthermore, the problem will only get worse because online interactions are commonplace. Once thieves steal a consumer’s data, the consumer is left to unravel the wicked web of what a data breach means to their financial health. Of significance here, consumers have turned to the courts in an attempt to hold companies who housed the stolen data accountable for their data theft. However, most consumers have not been able to access the judicial system for relief because many courts have found plaintiffs do not have standing—a threshold legal requirement before the court can turn to the substantive issue. In fact, the federal circuit courts are inconsistent in their approach as to when a plaintiff establishes standing, in particular when a plaintiff has satisfied the injury-in-fact (injury) element of standing. That said, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) now has the opportunity to clarify what establishes the injury element of standing when thieves steal data in Zappos, Inc. v. Stevens. Zappos petitioned for Writ of Certiorari onAugust 20, 2018.
In a cyclical industry such as Africa’s mining sector, robust mining laws are required to discourage pollution by mining companies and deter them from plundering with relative impunity. These concerns arise because many of the world’s richest natural resource reserves are located in Africa. The continent’s importance as a source of energy is widely recognized. Indeed, to this day, Africa generally remains the world’s premier producer of mineral commodities. A traditional role as supplier of natural resources, however, has come at a price.International exploitation of these natural resources, coupled with a dearth of strong local institutions and legal frameworks, have given way to unrestrained excavation at the expense of local interests.