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VLS In the News

As SpaceX Gears up To Build Natural Gas-Related Infrastructure in an Ecologically Sensitive Area, Environmental Concerns Take a Backseat
... to go over this excellent thread compiled by ESG Hound on this subject. In a worrying development, the PEA barely mentions SpaceX's gas-fired power plant. Moreover, there is not a single mention of a pipeline that would be required to transport gas in such hefty volumes to the power station. Pat Parenteau, a law professor and senior counsel in the Environmental Advocacy Clinic at Vermont Law School, who was quoted by TechCrunch on this subject, believes that a lack of mention of this pipeline potentially contravenes the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). A thread ...
October 18, 2021
Migrant Farmworkers Are Being Left Out of Roundup Cancer Compensation
... and advocates estimate that more than 60% of the 400,000-plus farmworkers in California lack legal status. "Given the fact that so many farmworkers are undocumented, it is really, really challenging to expect that they would come forward in a lawsuit," Laurie Beyranevand, a law professor at Vermont Law School who directs the school's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, told EHN. "Just putting their name out in a public record or to be part of the class and give testimony that is public… that [itself] creates a tremendous amount of challenges and obstacles for farmworkers." Migrant Farmworkers' ... [pesticide exposure], they can get fired. Or sometimes the [farm] owner would say 'if you talk, we will call immigration,' " Yesica Ramirez, a farmworker turned organizer for the Farmworker Association of Florida based in Apopka, Florida, told EHN. Beyond not having legal status,
October 16, 2021
A US small-town mayor sued the oil industry. Then Exxon went after him
... and Healey filed a lawsuit against the company in 2019, which is still awaiting trial. But similar tactics persuaded the US Virgin Islands attorney general to shut down his investigation of the oil giant. Patrick Parenteau, a law professor and former director of the Environmental Law Center at Vermont law school, said the attempt to question Dedina and other officials is part of a broader strategy by the oil industry to counter lawsuits with its own litigation. "These cases are frivolous and vexatious. Intimidation is the goal. Just making it cost a lot and be painful to take on Exxon. They think that if ...
October 16, 2021
As masses of plaintiffs pursue Roundup cancer compensation, migrant farmworkers are left out
... and advocates estimate that more than 60% of the 400,000-plus farmworkers in California lack legal status. "Given the fact that so many farmworkers are undocumented, it is really, really challenging to expect that they would come forward in a lawsuit," Laurie Beyranevand, a law professor at Vermont Law School who directs the school's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, told EHN. "Just putting their name out in a public record or to be part of the class and give testimony that is public... that [itself] creates a tremendous amount of challenges and obstacles for farmworkers." Migrant farmworkers' ... [pesticide exposure], they can get fired. Or sometimes the [farm] owner would say 'if you talk, we will call immigration,' " Yesica Ramirez, a farmworker turned organizer for the Farmworker Association of Florida based in Apopka, Florida, told EHN. Beyond not having legal status
October 14, 2021
Fast Food and Grocery Giants Promise to Sell ‘Better’ Chicken—Is it Enough?
... corporations honor their commitments—or will they kick the can down the road in the hope that public attention will shift before their commitments come due? "Do I think it's meaningful? Yes. Do I think it's enough? Absolutely not," said Delcianna Winders, director of the Animal Law program at Vermont Law School. "This is not anything that is going to actually ensure good welfare for these animals, but there is such an utter lack of legal requirements and such horrific treatment that this will bring the minimum floor up a little bit." The animal advocates who have been working to convince food service ... in which these corporate commitments have worked in tandem with policy change. Part of the value of these corporate commitments is that it demonstrates to policymakers that this is achievable . . . that it's not going to crash our food system and cause food businesses to go
October 14, 2021
USDA accused of ignoring animal welfare violations in favor of business interests
During a 2017 inspection of Monterey Zoo, formerly known as Wild Things Animal Rentals, Inc., in Salinas, California, federal officials found a squirrel monkey, kept alone in a cage, with a chain dangling from its waist. An elderly kangaroo was "exhibiting tremors and vision loss," a federal inspector wrote in an internal memo. A rodent died after several days of declining health, without receiving veterinary care, the memo said. Two inspectors from the United States Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), detailed these problems in an ...
October 13, 2021
The mystery of Elon Musk’s missing gas
An environmental document that needs U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approval before SpaceX can begin testing the world's largest rockets is missing key details about where its fuel will come from, experts say. The draft programmatic environmental assessment (PEA) for SpaceX's Starship and Super Heavy launch vehicles, which Elon Musk hopes will soon be shooting into orbit and then on to Mars, was issued last month by the FAA for public comment . The 142-page document covers construction and daily operations at SpaceX's Boca Chica facility in Texas, which Musk is hoping to incorporate ...
October 08, 2021
What is state government’s role in ongoing pandemic?
MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - We are now 20 months into COVID-19 and the numbers in Vermont are not encouraging. We told you last week that September saw the highest case count of any month during the pandemic with more than 4,600 cases. Now we know September comes in second when it comes to deaths. The deadliest month in Vermont was December 2020 when 75 people died from COVID. Last month, 42 people died. The third deadliest month was near the beginning when 35 people died in April 2020. Vermont currently does not have any statewide restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. So ...
October 04, 2021
BC-The Conversation for October 4, 10am, ADVISORY
Here's a look at what The Conversation, a non-profit source of explanatory journalism from experts in academia, is offering today. AP members may find The Conversation content on AP Newsroom or through AP webfeeds. For technical assistance, please contact apcustomersupport@ap.org or call 877-836-9477. If you have any questions on The Conversation content, including: - Requests for cut-down copy - Photos and chart availability - Information on upcoming stories and coverage plans Please contact Joel Abrams at us-republish@theconversation.com or 857-233-8429. ------- TODAY'S ...
October 04, 2021
Here’s how Congress could hold the EPA accountable for its ‘dereliction of duty’
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump Administration announced a policy that relaxed federal environmental monitoring and reporting requirements for polluting industries across the country. The March announcement meant that the agency, which is charged with enforcing the country's environmental laws, wouldn't likely seek penalties from facilities who failed to monitor or report regulatory violations due to the pandemic. By later in the spring, research was already showing a connection between elevated COVID-19 death rates and ...
October 04, 2021
Washington's King County drops climate lawsuit against oil companies
Law firms Related documents The company and law firm names shown above are generated automatically based on the text of the article. We are improving this feature as we continue to test and develop in beta. We welcome feedback, which you can provide using the feedback tab on the right of the page. (Reuters) - King County in Washington state has dropped a state court lawsuit accusing five major oil companies including BP Plc, Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp of contributing to climate change. The county, which includes Seattle, said in a Tuesday filing that it is voluntarily abandoning its ...
September 29, 2021
Reporter Debrief: Daniel Banyai Versus Town Of Pawlet Case To Be Heard By State Supreme Court
Vermont's Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday in a long-simmering case between Daniel Banyai and the town of Pawlet. Banyai is the owner of Slate Ridge, a tactical weapons training facility he began operating in West Pawlet in 2017. Neighbors have complained about the loud gunfire they've heard coming from the site. And several have told VPR that when they complained to local officials about it, they received threats from Daniel Banyai. Town officials say Banyai opened his training facility without a permit and that he has ignored notices of violation. More from VPR: Despite ...
September 28, 2021
National and state GOP sue Montpelier and Winooski over noncitizen voting rights
The national and state branches of the Republican Party are suing two Vermont cities for allowing residents without American citizenship to vote in municipal elections.  The Republican National Committee and the Vermont Republican Party filed the complaints Monday against the cities of Winooski and Montpelier in Vermont Superior Court. Voters in both cities amended their charters — Montpelier did so in 2018, Winooski last year — to give noncitizens a vote in local elections. In June, the Legislature approved those amendments after overriding a veto from Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who told ...
September 28, 2021
Congressional, Court Climate Probes Put More Pressure on Big Oil
Congressional Democrats are wading into the battle over climate misinformation claims against oil companies, a move that parallels a sea of litigation from states, counties, and cities looking to put those companies on the hook for the local impacts of global warming. Though climate litigation has been moving slowly in U.S. courts, some experts see the growing pile of calls for energy company climate liability in and out of court as a pressure-point to speed the process. Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee—led by Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Ro Khanna ...
September 28, 2021
Federal judge blocks major Alaskan drilling project
A federal judge has blocked a drilling project in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve that would tap 600 million-barrels of oil. The Willow project would produce as much as 160,000 barrels a day for ConocoPhillips and had the support of both the Trump and Biden administrations. Judge Sharon Gleason of the US District Court ruled in favor of Indigenous and environmental groups, finding that the permitting process for the Willow oil and gas project failed to fully consider the impacts on the climate and wildlife. Because this was a procedural ruling, it's hard to say how much of a setback ...
September 23, 2021
What to expect from Interior and EPA this fall
Nearly 10 months into his term, President Biden's administration is still slowly unwinding the actions of its predecessors on the nation's public lands and waters, while moving forward with a climate-focused environmental agenda to curb greenhouse gases. Observers suggest numerous items languishing on the administration's to-do list could see action this fall and winter, putting the Interior Department and EPA front and center. The administration checked off the first of several long-awaited decisions on Friday, when Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced the Bureau of Land Management's ...
September 20, 2021
Across the Fence
significant. But as you look at them today, are they all created equal? Isn't it fair to say that some of the amendments are more important than others?Peter: Well, i would hate to have to vote but i would say if i had to vote, i would say the most important amendments to the Constitution are the post Civil War amendments, the 13th Amendment, which prohibits slavery, the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection of the law and due process of law 15th Amendment, which prohibits discrimination based on race or previous condition of servitude, and probably the 19th Amendment, which was subsequently ratified, oh man 1920, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.Will: 230 plus years, and it's a constitution that remains a work in progress. Thanks to you, Professor Peter Teachout of Vermont law school for sharing some insights with us about Constitution Day. Thank you
September 17, 2021
None
Leadership there with the V. V. Eight and we finish up with %hesitation cindy bands from the vermont law school and she'll teach us how to read food labels is a lot more often those labels and what and how they kind of parse out what is it what they're actually saying %hesitation there's a website for that that they've created at P. L. S. And we'll hear from sydney benson out that it's almost like a foreign language you learn how to interpret yan she's kind of an expert on this %hesitation this is our area of expertise could good to hear the the my husband of thinking of the food label my husband %hesitation tries to make sure that sugar is not in one of the first ingredients in food twenty buys something so i've started that habit and deal how hard it is to find something that doesn't have sugar for corn syrup yeah right is it out there
September 17, 2021
Would Biden’s oil freeze increase emissions?
Oil industry backers are bringing an Obama-era report to their playbook against the Biden administration's drilling policies, warning that a federal leasing freeze could increase greenhouse gas emissions. The argument, from a 2016 Interior Department analysis, is that if the U.S. doesn't develop oil offshore, where emissions from production are comparatively low, someone else will — potentially with a dirtier oil and gas drilling record. "[Emissions] could, in fact, increase slightly in the absence of new [outer continental shelf] leasing," the report said. Analysts from Wood Mackenzie and ...
September 16, 2021
Are ‘water positive’ pledges from tech companies just a new kind of greenwashing?
Corporate America is making a new kind of climate pledge. In recent months, multiple tech giants have pledged to use their reach and resources to join the fight for water conservation. Facebook made an announcement at the end of August declaring their efforts to "be water positive by 2030." And just this week, Google made a similar announcement to make its data centers more efficient and support water security in the communities it operates in.  Google, Facebook, and several other companies have promised to put more water back into the environment than they pipe in—an exchange they call ...
September 11, 2021
Is president’s vaccine mandate legal?
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - OSHA will soon require COVID-19 vaccines for employers with more than 100 workers. President Biden announced the move Thursday. Lawsuits are likely to follow but legal expert Jared Carter, of the Vermont Law School, says the requirement could still be enforced while it's being argued in a courtroom.
September 11, 2021
Lawyers eye new climate court cases in fight against big oil following IPCC report
NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - More lawsuits seeking to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are likely in Europe, spurred by a recent report that makes the role of human activity "unequivocal" in global climate change. Activists have seized on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC's) 3,949-page report, released last month, telling energy companies they'll "see you in court". "It may help to bring in a broader diversity of litigants," said Catherine Higham, a policy analyst at the London School of Economics' Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. "It ...
September 09, 2021
Vermont law professor says fake vaccine cards are symptom of pandemic politics
The political conflict surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic may be a backdrop to the allegations that three former state troopers created fraudulent vaccine cards, says a professor at Vermont Law School. The former troopers — Shawn Sommers, Raymond Witkowski and David Pfindel — have all resigned, accused of potentially violating federal...
September 08, 2021
New legal guide helps grain farmers and processors navigate food safety regulations
The resource empowers grain farmers, processors, and food manufacturers to understand and comply with federal food safety laws. Vermont Business Magazine The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law School and the Midwest-based Artisan Grain Collaborative (AGC) have released a new guide for food-grade grain farmers and processors that breaks down complicated federal food safety regulations related to the Food Safety Modernization Act's (FSMA) Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule (PCR). Titled "Understanding FSMA's Preventive Controls...and medium-sized farms, which are often multi-faceted businesses that store, process, distribute and market foods, to determine if and how the PCR applies to them. "The regulatory definitions for what constitutes a farm versus a processing facility are very specific and dependent on the activities conducted," said Margaret
September 08, 2021
New legal guide helps grain farmers and processors navigate food safety regulations
The resource empowers grain farmers, processors, and food manufacturers to understand and comply with federal food safety laws. Vermont Business Magazine The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law School and the Midwest-based Artisan Grain Collaborative (AGC) have released a new guide for food-grade grain farmers and processors that breaks down complicated federal food safety regulations related to the Food Safety Modernization Act's (FSMA) Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule (PCR).
September 07, 2021
Almost half of the world’s children live in dangerous climate conditions
...extremely high-risk countries. The majority of those countries are in the global south and include several countries in Latin America, across Central Africa, and along South and Southeast Asia. Most of the safest countries for children for climate risks are found in North America and Northern and Central Europe.  Pat Parenteau, an environmental law professor at Vermont Law School explains that because children are still developing cognitively and psychologically, they are more at risk to climate crisis-related shocks like displacement, which can hurt their ability to access formal education and develop socially.   "Adults are responsible for...
September 04, 2021
Vt. lawmakers dismayed by SCOTUS abortion ruling, vow to enshrine state protections
...professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks, and before most women even know they're pregnant. "This is simply saying states that want to restrict abortions now have perhaps greater latitude, significantly greater latitude, to do so than they did under Roe v. Wade," said Peter Teachout, with the Vermont Law School. Abortion rights supporters and Vermont lawmakers say they're deeply concerned. Vermont House Speaker Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington, worked for Planned Parenthood of New England for eight years and says the law prevents womens' ability to make their own health care decisions. "There are no exceptions in this...
September 03, 2021
Behind GM's plan to help suppliers buy clean energy
...the needs of more complicated or regulated energy markets. "How do we take something that's kind of compact, yet large, and then figure out what we can do to scale that up across different markets and different states and different regions?" Threlkeld said. Jenny Carter, an assistant professor at the Vermont Law School Institute for Energy and the Environment, sees this new program as a tangible step toward meeting GM's sustainability goals — especially the commitment to go all-electric by 2035 . "That's a huge investment that they're making, and they're going to have to meet that goal...
July 13, 2021
On Cuba, Biden Has Adopted Politically Inconvenient Maximum Pressure of Trump
Party. But rather than welcoming Biden's extension of Trump's hard-line approach, Republicans are pushing him to do more against Cuba, which is suffering not only from disrupted trade ties due to the reintroduction of tight restrictions but also a collapse in the tourism industry brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Jared Carter, a Vermont Law School assistant professor who specializes in U.S. policy on Cuba, told Newsweek that "there is no question that Biden's continuation of the Trump policy and his walking back of his campaign promise to return to the diplomatic approach that Obama took...
July 12, 2021