Looking ahead

What environmental issues to watch for in 2011

The Vermont School of Law just released a report on the top 10 environmental issues facing the world in the new year (http://watchlist.vermontlaw.edu). In addition to assessing the most important environmental law and policy issues, the report analyzes how the issues will play out in 2011.

1. Failed climate-change legislation: Nothing passed in 2010, and in 2011 the EPA will continue to battle and Obama will try to rally, but with more Republicans on the way it’s going to be rough.

2. Gulf oil spill: Government/industry reports on catastrophe to be released in 2011.

3. First U.S. greenhouse-gas rules: Will EPA’s new rules hold up under legal/political pressure?

4. Climate change in the courts: U.S. Supreme Court reviews American Electric Power v. Connecticut, which, if overturned, would take away power to file public-nuisance lawsuits against emissions polluters.

5. California’s climate law: With the defeat of Prop. 23, California is free to implement its Global Warming Solutions Act.

6. EPA vs. mountaintop mining: EPA faces lawsuits from coal states over regulations on destructive mining practices.

7. Wind/solar power: Will surging popularity continue?

8. Safe food: Supreme Court’s comments in 2010 Monsanto Co. case open door for future litigation on saftey of genetically modified foods.

9. Will EPA overturn water exemption?: The EPA’s water transfer rule (which exempts water transferring from Clean Water permits) is being invoked to move polluted water to otherwise clean areas.

10. Green military: Bypassing political hoops of real-world sustainability change, the military continues to implement and research green practices.