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Parts Per Billion
15 minutes | 7 days ago
After Flint, Uptick in Environmental Indictments Unlikely
The former governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder (R), was hit with criminal charges last week over his role in the drinking water contamination crisis in the town of Flint. He is fighting the case and his attorneys say the charges are "wholly without merit."Will this usher in a new era where elected officials could be thrown in prison if an environmental catastrophe occurs on their watch? Not likely, says Bob Percival, a law professor at the University of Maryland who leads the school's environmental law program. We spoke to Percival about why prosecutions like Snyder's are so rare for our weekly environmental podcast, Parts Per Billion.
15 minutes | 14 days ago
Supreme Court Fills Up Docket With Environmental Cases
The Supreme Court has not been shy about wading into some pretty thorny environmental disputes. Including the two cases it took up last week, the justices now have six environmental cases outstanding on their docket.On this episode of our weekly podcast, Parts Per Billion, we hear from Bloomberg Law's Ellen M. Gilmer, who summarized all of these cases and broke down their individual story lines. She also talks about arguments in a climate change case that the Supreme Court will hear one day before President-elect Biden will officially take office.
12 minutes | 21 days ago
Carbon Capture Gets Federal Money, But Is It Needed?
Tucked away in the stimulus bill that the President just signed was nearly half a billion dollars for research into carbon capture technology.On this episode of our weekly environmental podcast, Parts Per Billion, we hear from Bloomberg Law's Bobby Magill about why this money was added into to the bill, where it will go, and why it probably won't make a significant dent in our climate change problem.
16 minutes | a month ago
Save the Everglades, Eat Python for Christmas Dinner
Invasive Burmese pythons are becoming a real problem in Florida’s everglades, where they have no natural predators and are causing plummeting populations of native species like foxes and rabbits. State wildlife officials have encouraged the hunting of these massive snakes, but the problem still persists.Now, according to Bloomberg Law correspondent Jennifer Kay, officials are trying a different tack: convincing Sunshine Staters to start eating python meat.On the latest episode of our weekly environmental podcast, Parts Per Billion, Jennifer explains to us why Florida is getting increasingly desperate to eliminate pythons and whether encouraging Floridians to eat snakes could actually work.
15 minutes | a month ago
Biden Environmental Plan Rests on the Backs of Lawyers
The Biden administration is staffing up quickly and it seems like there's a new headline almost every day about the President-elect's choice for one cabinet position or another. But less attention is being paid to the lower-level attorneys, even though the new administration's entire environmental agenda largely depends on them.On this episode of our weekly environmental podcast, Parts Per Billion, we talk to Bloomberg Law's Ellen M. Gilmer about how these regulatory attorneys will be trying to help their agencies win in court and about how the attorneys can avoid getting a reputation as a sort of statutory killjoy.
19 minutes | 2 months ago
Electric Vehicles Good for Climate, Bad for Taxation
Teslas and other electric vehicles may be helping to solve the problem of climate change, but they're also creating a new problem for state and federal transportation budgets. That's because these budgets are funded largely from revenue generated by taxes on gasoline.But if gas-fueled cars are being phased out, where will funding come from build new roads or even just to maintain existing ones? We posed this question to Sahas Katta, the CEO of an automobile tech startup who is working with several states on developing new ways to tax vehicle use. Katta spoke to Bloomberg Law correspondent Michael Bologna.
18 minutes | 2 months ago
Firefighting Gear Opens a New Front in PFAS Legal War
Much of the litigation over toxic PFAS chemicals, at least thus far, has focused on the spraying of PFAS-laden firefighting foam. But now, a new avenue of lawsuits has opened up over the use of PFAS-coated firefighting gear.Bloomberg Law reporters Andrew Wallender and Fatima Hussein join our weekly environmental podcast, Parts Per Billion, to talk about suits over these jackets, gloves, and other protective equipment. And they also explain why some of the firefighters filing the suits are now at odds with their own firefighting unions.
3 minutes | 2 months ago
Introducing: Black Lawyers Speak
Despite decades of work to educate more Black lawyers, the percentage of Black associates and partners in firms across the U.S. remain very low, and well below those of other professional careers. Big Law firms across the board are ramping up social justice efforts as the nation engages in a renewed dialogue on race and equality. But some have accused firms of using minorities as “diversity props” to impress clients and misrepresent their inclusiveness to potential employees. So what are law firms doing to fix their lack of diversity?Hosts Adam Allington and Lisa Helem, along with reporters Ayanna Alexander, Ruiqi Chen, and Meghan Tribe, interviewed lawyers across the industry, from corporate general counsels to top Am Law 200 lawyers to current law students, each sharing their experience navigating the legal space as a person of color. We try to answer what law firms are doing to recruit more diverse classes of lawyers, and how they are addressing barriers to entry for Black lawyers.
14 minutes | 2 months ago
Arctic Drilling Push Comes Down to Trump's Final Days
The Trump administration may need every single minute of its four-year term to accomplish its goal of opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling.On today's episode of Parts Per Billion, we hear from Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer A. Dlouhy about how the administration is in a race against the clock to auction off leases in this environmentally sensitive area of northeastern Alaska. Jennifer says there's so little time that it's possible the auctions may take place on Inauguration Day, just hours before President-elect Biden takes office.
22 minutes | 3 months ago
The Morning After and Federal Agencies Hang in Balance
It's the morning after the elections and we don't know who the next President of the United States will be. But, despite that, we do have some idea of how things might change for the federal agencies that regulate the environment.On this special episode of our weekly environmental podcast, Parts Per Billion, we speak with three Bloomberg Law reporters about exactly how environmental policy could shift and about who would be on the shortlist to lead the EPA and the Interior Department.
13 minutes | 3 months ago
Post-Soviet Treaty Complicates EU's Climate Ambitions
The European Union is on a continent-wide push to reduce its carbon emissions. But some environmentalists say this goal is threatened by a nearly 30-year-old treaty enacted in response to the fall of the Soviet Union.On this episode of our weekly podcast, Parts Per Billion, we hear from Stephen Gardner, Bloomberg Law's Brussels correspondent. He explains how a treaty meant to spur energy investment in post-Soviet republics has turned into a powerful tool of Europe's fossil fuel industry.
13 minutes | 3 months ago
States Are Taking Action, Slowly, on Nonstick Chemicals
Several states—including the biggest, California—have moved to partially or fully ban the use of nonstick chemicals known as PFAS in firefighting foam. But many of these bans won't take effect for years or, in some cases, many years.On this episode of Parts Per Billion, we talk with Bloomberg Law California correspondent Emily C. Dooley about the Golden State's own recently enacted PFAS ban and its long, winding journey through the state's legislature.
15 minutes | 3 months ago
Trump's Wetland Dispute Slogs On at Bedminster Course
President Donald Trump has been in a nearly decade-long dispute with New Jersey environmental officials over some relatively minor wetlands violations at his signature golf course there. Though these violations were minor, they bring up some interesting questions about what happens when a President in charge of making environmental policy decisions is also personally affected by those decisions.On this episode of Parts Per Billion, we talk to Bloomberg Law's Stephen Lee about what's going on at the President's golf course and why managing this or any golf course is environmentally tricky.
13 minutes | 4 months ago
Oil Wildcatters a Wild Bunch in Oil-Poor Nevada
The federal government is granting leases that allow oil drilling on huge amounts of federal land in the state of Nevada. This is despite a fossil fuel market with highly depressed prices—and despite scant evidence that any oil actually exists below the Silver State.On this episode of Parts Per Billion, we talk with Bloomberg Law's Bobby Magill about the colorful bunch of so-called "wildcatters" who are not only willing but eager to search for oil in Nevada's vast public lands.
13 minutes | 4 months ago
Do EPA Chemicals Protections Protect 'Cancer Alley?'
There's a section of the Gulf Coast in the South that has significantly higher rates of cancer than other parts of the country. This section, nicknamed "Cancer Alley," is also home to dozens of chemical factories and petroleum refineries.Today on Parts Per Billion, we talk with Bloomberg Law's Pat Rizzuto about how the EPA calculates the risk of toxic chemical exposure in areas like Cancer Alley and about how some activists are using the agency's own data to prod it to change.
18 minutes | 4 months ago
How Ginsburg, and Her Absence, Affect the Environment
Though she may be better known for her work on gender equality, late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a substantial impact on environmental law.On today's episode of Parts Per Billion we hear from Bloomberg Law's Ellen M. Gilmer about some of Ginsburg's most notable environmental opinions and about how these types of cases may fare at the high court after her death.For more on this topic, check out a column written earlier this week by Harvard Law School professor Richard Lazarus.
19 minutes | 4 months ago
Air Quality Gadgets Fly Off Shelves in Smoky, Hazy West
One sign of how bad the wildfires have gotten along the West Coast is that the newest must-have tech gadget there is a personal air quality sensor.These devices send data on air quality to any smartphone or computer and, with wildfire smoke blanketing cities up and down the coast, manufacturers say demand is off the charts.On this episode of Parts Per Billion we speak with Laura Bliss, a reporter with Bloomberg's CityLab. She reported on the rapid adoption of these devices in communities affected by wildfires and about the way they're responding to a desire for real-time data that federal regulators can't provide.
17 minutes | 5 months ago
EPA Racial Justice Plan Has Interestingly Timed Debut
EPA chief Andrew Wheeler rolled out a new plan recently that addresses issues of environmental justice, when pollution disproportionately affects low-income communities and people of color.On this episode of Parts Per Billion, Bloomberg Law's Stephen Lee joins us to explain what's in this plan and why the timing of its rollout, just a couple months before Election Day, may not be a coincidence.
18 minutes | 5 months ago
Markey Win Shows Green New Deal Far From Irrelevant
Prospects for the Green New Deal legislative package were looking dim after it was introduced in Congress early last year. But since then it's had some surprising ripple effects.For example, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) used his early support of the Green New Deal to fend off an intra-party challenge from Rep. Joe Kennedy III. Markey beat Kennedy by more than 10 percentage points in their state's Sept. 1 primary.On this episode of Parts Per Billion, environment reporter Dean Scott explains how Markey used his environmental credentials to hold onto his seat and how the Green New Deal may play a significant role on Capitol Hill for years to come.
15 minutes | 5 months ago
California Fighting Massive Wildfires With Blackouts
California's power companies are trying to stop wildfires by imposing targeted blackouts in high risk areas. Their hope is that this will prevent a downed live wire from sparking a conflagration.This strategy was effective a tamping down fires last year, but in the year of Covid-19, many worry the solution will be nearly as bad as the problem.On this episode of our podcast, Parts Per Billion, California correspondent Emily C. Dooley talks about how power companies are struggling to ensure people fighting the pandemic don't lose power, and also about whether there may be a long-term solution that doesn't require ad hoc power shutoffs.
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