Wisconsin, the Stimulus Package, and Green Jobs

Some legal commentators in recent months have questioned whether the Obama Stimulus Package will truly create green jobs for the American economy. See, for example, Morriss et. al., Green Job Myths.

Here is some indication how to use those dollars so that they will actually create those jobs.  The following is a press release from the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS), a nonprofit, nonpartisan “think-and-do tank,” dedicated to improving economic performance and living standards in the state of Wisconsin and nationally:

A new report from the Center on Wisconsin Strategy encourages the state to embrace the green-collar potential of a clean energy economy. Greening Wisconsin’s Workforce: Training, Recovery and the Clean Energy Economy looks at how Wisconsin might best use its Recovery Act dollars and first-rate technical college system to ensure that the emerging green economy benefits Wisconsin’s working families. 

Continue ReadingWisconsin, the Stimulus Package, and Green Jobs

Environmental Crime and “Real” Crime

I just got back from a couple days at the University of Utah, where I was participating in a national conference on environmental crimes at the S.J. Quinney School of Law.  It was a terrific conference, and I was honored to be included among the many distinguished speakers.  But it was also among the more contentious academic conferences I have attended, with a marked divide among speakers and audience members as to whether the criminal liability provisions of the major federal environmental statutes have grown too expansive.  The basic critique — roundly rejected by some in attendance — was that the statutes (and the federal environmental sentencing guidelines) do not recognize important distinctions among environmental violations, but, rather, lump together offenses of greatly varying culpability.  The debate thus centered on the question of whether environmental criminal law respects the principle of proportionality in punishment.

In retrospect, it strikes me that the proportionality debate has a lot to do with how environmental criminal enforcement is framed: as an aspect of environmental law, or as an aspect of criminal law. 

Continue ReadingEnvironmental Crime and “Real” Crime

Real Estate Development and Environmental Consciousness

My colleague Matt Parlow has a new article suggesting that real estate developers are becoming more sensitive to environmental concerns. The article, “Greenwashed: Developers, Environmental Consciousness, and the Case of Playa Vista,” appeared as part of a terrific symposium issue of the Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review on “The Greening of the Corporation.” (The entire issue is available here.)  Matt’s article centers on a fascinating case study of Playa Vista, an enormous (and enormously controversial) mixed-use development project in Los Angeles near environmentally sensitive wetlands.

Playa Vista and Wetlands
Playa Vista and Wetlands

As Matt relates in the abstract to his article, he finds the Playa Vista saga to be a hopeful one:

Continue ReadingReal Estate Development and Environmental Consciousness