wetlands

Reading Lists

Week 3 — Water I

Florida Numeric Nutrient Criteria
Florida (like all other states) is supposed to develop numeric criteria for nutrient pollutants, so they know when their water quality is violating the CWA. But they really don't want to.














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Rock River TMDL
Wisconsin has developed a comprehensive picture of the Phosphorus problem in the Rock River, and it's quite a bit more complex than one of the earliest TMDLs (Token Creek) -- but how will they use it? Please note that although this document appears to be long, because of many images and a long appendix (DO NOT READ), it is the same amount of reading as the other two.














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Clean Water Rule and Retraction
After decades of debate over what counts as a "Water of the US", and thus protected by the CWA, in 2015 the Obama Admiistration finally complied with a 2006 Supreme Court decision and issued a regulation defining them. Retracting the Clean Water Rule has been one of Trump's highest environmental priorities.














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Week 4 — Water II

Evolution of Wisconsin's wetland protections, 2001-2018
Wisconsin used to have a vigorous state wetland protection program based both in use of its 401 Cert powers and in state statute. In 2011 the Wisconsin Legislature passed a bill to restrict the DNR's ability to object to wetland filling, and is currently considering a second bill to further scale back protections.














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Wetland Mitigation Banking
Wetland mitigation banking has become a multi-billion dollar industry, now strongly regulated by the 2008 Weltand Compensation Rule. Use the RIBITS website to look carefully at two bank "instruments' and consider whether and how they achieve the goal of providing high-quality wetland compensation sites.














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Fracking and the Clean Water Act
Can the Safe Drinking Water Act be used to regulate "fracking" (the hydraulic fracturing of shales to extract natural gas)? No one is really sure at this point.














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Week 5 — Air

SO2 Monitoring
EPA is trying to figure out the best way to monitor how much Sulfur Dioxide is in the air all around us -- can we model it or do we need direct measurements? It sounds like a question for data geeks, but it generates some surprising responses.














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Trump EPA and the Clean Power Plan
Following the issuance of Obama's greenhouse gas reductions policy, called the Clean Power Plan, in 2015, it has been targeted for repeal by the energy industry and the Trump EPA has announced its intent to repeal and replace the law.














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Cancer Alley and NESHAPS
Louisiana's "cancer alley" is an area where the NESHAPS program (controlling toxic emissions from smokestacks) is criticized as being a total failure. What happens when EPA tries to crack down?














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Week 6 — Species

Changes to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
The 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act laid the foundation for species protection that led to the Endangered Species Act, especially in its description of what actions are forbidden. The Trump Administration is reinterpreting the MBTA, perhaps in the hope of making similar changes to the ESA.














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Polar Bears and Climate Change Policy
The polar bear is protected under the Marine Mammals Protection Act, and its habitat is being threatened by global warming. Are the MMPA and ESA ways to force government action on global warming? Some environmental non-profits attempted to find out.














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The Tehachapi Condor Habitat Conservation Plan
A huge new luxury development complex called Tejon Ranch is proposed in the high California desert, in the heart of remaining habitat for the California Condor. What do the developers have to do to comply with the Endangered Species Act and get their devleopment permit? Is it enough?














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Week 7 — Energy

Renewable Fuel Standard
The Renewable Fuels Standard is a federal requirement that transportation fuel sold in the US contain a certain minimum of renewable content (ethanol, etc.). But the attempt to meet those minimum goals is stressing out almost everyone, especially the farm community.














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Coal Mines and Rivers
The Frasure Creek and ICG coal mines in Eastern Kentucky are required to monitor the water quality downstream of its "mountaintop removal" mine site to make sure that human health and the environment are protected. They appear to have been cooking the books, and a coalition of local citizens is pretty upset.














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Natural Gas and Flaring
The flaring of natural gas from the Bakken shale oil and gas district of North Dakota is so bright that it looks like a major city from space at night. What is the environmental impact of all this methane and CO2 release? What is the economic impact? Which is worse, and what is being done about it?














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Week 8 — Scale and Federalism

Wisconsin's Shoreland Zoning Ordinances and Act 55
Wisconsin counties have a long history of adopting Shoreland Zoning ordinances that protect lakes and wetlands for conservation purposes. But from 2011 to 2015 the State Legislature adopted laws that prevented county Shoreland ordinances from being more restrictive than the DNR standard. How did that go down?














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Recycling in Chicago
The City of Chicago wants to improve its recycling program, but significant barriers have emerged.














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Environmental Zoning by Local Governments
Ocean Township in New Jersey passed a zoning ordinance in 2003 requiring that property lots in environmentally-sensitive areas be at least 20 acres. Does the municipality really have that power to protect the environment?














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Week 9 — Courts

Regulatory Takings jurisprudence
Two landmark cases take opposed views on the question of whether the state can "take" the value of your land through regulation














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Groundwater in the Wisconsin Courts
Two recent cases on the issue of high-capacity groundwater wells in Wisconsin seem to point in opposite directions concerning the state's ability to regulate withdrawals














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CAFOs and nuisance law, and the Right to Farm
A large Confined Animal Feeding Operation has set up shop across the road from a family farm in Iowa. Environmental laws won't help, but can the family sue under nuisance law?














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Week 10 — Agriculture

Slides:
Slides: Agriculture

Reading Questions:
Reading Questions: Agriculture

General Reading:

Kewanee County CAFOs
Kewaunee County is a hotspot of CAFO development and DNR held a public hearing in November 2017 to approve five CAFO permits at once. What are the environmental and social risks?














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Conservation Reserve Program Funding
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) provides many millions of dollars for the setaside of vulnerable land, preventing agricultural impacts to the environment. But skyrocketing food prices and the 2008 farm bill began to challenge CRP's effectiveness.














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2014 Toledo Drinking Water Crisis
The water quality crisis in Toledo in the summer of 2014 was widely blamed on excessive fertilizer runoff from farms in northwest Ohio. A major US city had to shut off its drinking water system and the mayor had to reassure citizens that "Our city is not going to be abandoned.” What is the State of Ohio trying to do about this?














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Week 11 — Environmental Justice

OSHA and the workplace environment
The workplace environment can be very hazardous, and there are limited protections against toxic exposure. See what happened when one North Carolina furniture plant's workers were exposed to methyl bromide.














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Environmental Justice in Indian Country
The Swinomish Tribe in coastal Washington is experiencing several different challenges as they try to make claims on resources that are historically part of their tribal patrimony. What does environmental justice mean in Indian Country?














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Subsistence fishing and mercury exposure
Thousands of low-income people in Wisconsin (and throughout the Great Lakes) supplement their diet by fishing in the lakes and rivers. What environmental justice issues does this present, and how can they be protected from toxic exposure to mercury?














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Week 12 — Environmental Economics

Ecosystem Service Credit Accounting
The Willamette (pronounced "wi-LAMM-it") Partnership in Oregon has received a big federal grant to develop an accounting system that will allow them to sell Ecosystem Service credits from their restored sites. Take a look at their ECAS system, and at the Salmon Calculator.














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Water Quality Trading in the Ohio River Basin
An energy-industry non-profit, EPRI, is trying to establish a region-wide water quality trading program that will entice farmers to produce "water quality credits" by changing their farming practices. How's it going to work?














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A Carbon Offsets Market in California
In 2013 the California carbon market officially went into business, created by a bill called AB 32. What kind of controversy did AB 32 have to survive, and what does the State of California think counts as an acceptable carbon credit that can be sold on its market?














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Week 13 — Global Environmental Policy

The Mine at Oyu Tolgoi
The major global banks that lend money to countries for development projects have established environmental performance standards that act as "conditions" on the loan -- the recipient of the loan has to abide by the standards. In Mongolia's effort to develop its mining industry, the financing of the Oyu Tolgoi mine is subject to such conditions -- but are they effective?














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CBD versus TRIPS
The Convention on Biological Diversity's Nagoya Protocol seeks to protect indigenous rights to knowledge about the medicinal value of plants, while the World Trade Organization's TRIPS policy treats such knowledge like any other kind of intellectual property: owned by whomever takes out a patent on it. The two principles come into constant conflict in global conservation efforts.














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Banking Habitat in the EU
The European Union issues environmental policy goals that its member states must meet, and the EU has decided that US-style "habitat banking" is the best way to meet the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the EU's own Habitats Directive. England and France are leading the way, but not everyone is happy about it.














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