In July 2010, a section of a pipeline located in Marshall, Michigan burst. Approximately one million gallons of diluted bitumen spilled into the Talmadge Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. Diluted bitumen, commonly referred to as “dilbit”, is a petroleum blend consisting of oil sands taken from Alberta, Canada and gas condensates. Responders and investigators found that the diluted bitumen did not behave as ordinary crude oil usually does in a spill, by floating to the surface of the water. Instead, the EPA noted that submerged diluted bitumen attached itself to particles and sank, coating the bottom of the river and that diluted bitumen that had been exposed to sunlight formed a sticky, impermeable coat. The Kalamazoo oil spill was arguably one of the costliest oil spills in United States history.
The summer of 2013 was momentous for Ohio residents John Arthur and James Obergefell. In early July, after more than 20 years together, the couple flew to Maryland to be married. Because a neurological condition was rapidly depriving John of his ability to move and speak on his own, the couple exchanged vows from inside the plane’s cabin. After a mere 56 minutes on the ground, the pilots flew the newlyweds back to their home in Cincinnati. Just two weeks before John and James married, the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in United States v. Windsor. The decision overturned Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and thereby paved the way for federal recognition of lawful same-sex marriages. But the ruling left untouched the legal framework that allows states to deny recognition to otherwise valid same-sex marriages. Therefore, when John and James returned to Ohio, they reclaimed their unwanted status as single under the laws of the state. The couple also faced the unsettling prospect that John would soon die. Because of Ohio’s ban on recognition of same-sex marriages, the state would list John’s marital status on his death certificate as “unmarried” and would fail to name James as his surviving spouse. Determined to avoid this quiet nullification of their marriage, John and James filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state of Ohio.
This Note examines the implications of predictive policing and seeks ways to avoid legal snares. Predictive policing is the practice of using computer algorithms that predict the time and place crimes are likely to occur. “Crime maps” and other statistical law enforcement tools are not new and are part of an overall trend towards intelligence-led policing. However, recently the Los Angeles Police Department, as well as other law enforcement agencies, has spearheaded the use of software that interprets vast amounts of data and makes predictions well outside of human intuition. So far studies have shown predictive policing techniques to be generally successful. Some police agencies have pinpointed 500-square-foot “hot spots,” lowered crime, and saved money by distributing manpower in accordance.
Regulating group homes for marginalized groups, including developmentally disabled people, has social justice implications that extend beyond the traditional environmental, economic, and technical considerations that generally underlay land use decisions. Group homes are community residential facilities: homes that are integrated in residential neighborhoods, but contain support professionals that do not ordinarily exist in the archetype nuclear families that have historically predominated the American residential landscape.
At least 267,000 undocumented Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) adults are presently living in the United States. This figure, however, does not include those undocumented LGBT immigrants under the age of eighteen. LGBT-identified youth not only deal with higher rates of violence at home, familial rejection, and homelessness than heterosexual children, but introducing immigration issues significantly increases these risks. Overwhelming roadblocks obstruct individuals’ attempts to obtain lawful immigration status in the United States, and LGBT immigrant youth “must endure the same ‘coming out’ process as their American counterparts, but they also face the additional burden of living undocumented or facing deportation if their families reject them.”
A series of undercover videos exposing inhumane conditions on factory farms has sprung up in recent years. In 2011, an activist working for Mercy for Animals filmed undercover at Sparboe Egg Farms, McDonald’s main egg supplier. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) documented disturbing acts of animal cruelty at a Bushway Packing slaughterhouse in Grand Isle, Vermont in 2009, and later at Hallmark Meat Packing in Chino, California. When leaked to the public, the footage obtained during these undercover investigations can have dramatic, tangible effects. As a result of Mercy for Animals’ investigation, Sparboe received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration and McDonald’s dropped the company as its supplier. As of November 13, 2013, the video had over 1,100,000 views on Youtube. Following HSUS’ investigation at Grand Isle, the state shut down the slaughterhouse and charged two former employees with animal cruelty. HSUS’ investigation in Chino led to the largest meat recall in history.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently introduced numerous regulations in accordance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) enacted in 2011. The FDA’s most recent proposed regulation aims to regulate Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVPs), specifically those that import foodstuffs into the United States for human and animal consumption. In order to participate in import programs with the United States, foreign suppliers will have to comply with U.S. processes and risk-based preventive controls in order to better protect the public health. This is meant to work in conjunction with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).
This note revisits eminent domain jurisprudence as applied to a novel situation in Vermont: the taking of private property in Cornwall and Shoreham for the primary purpose of supplying natural gas to a corporate beneficiary across the lake in New York. In March of 2012, International Paper (IP) contacted Vermont Gas Systems to inquire whether Vermont Gas would consider constructing additional natural gas pipeline through western Vermont, under Lake Champlain, to IP’s mill in Ticonderoga, NY. Despite opposition among impacted property owners in Cornwall and Shoreham, this project is now moving forward as part of a larger natural gas pipeline expansion in Vermont’s Addison County. And should the Public Service Board approve the pipeline from VT to NY, Vermont Gas may have to acquire easements on private property through the power of eminent domain.