10th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium

10th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium
More than 250 environmental experts from 35 countries gather at the University of Maryland for the 10th Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law in July 2012

March 2013 Environmental Field Trip to Israel

March 2013 Environmental Field Trip to Israel
Maryland students vist Israel's first solar power plant in the Negev desert as part of a spring break field trip to study environmental issues in the Middle East

Workshop with All China Environment Federation

Workshop with All China Environment Federation
Participants in March 12 Workshop with All China Environment Federation in Beijing

Winners of Jordanian National Moot Court Competition

Winners of Jordanian National Moot Court Competition
Jordanian Justice Minister Aymen Odah presents trophy to Noura Saleh & Niveen Abdel Rahman from Al Al Bait University along with US AID Mission Director Jay Knott & ABA's Maha Shomali

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Indian Election, Eli Lilly Fined by Brazil for Worker Exposure to Toxics, German Nuclear "Bad Bank" Proposal, Graduation, Global Public Health Grant (by Bob Percival)

Last week voters in India completed the largest election in history by sweeping the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power, making Narendra Modi the prime minister-elect of India.  More than 814 million people were eligible to vote in the election, which was held on nine polling days extending over five weeks.  While many believe that Modi’s pro-business policies may be bad for the environment, the new prime minister pledged during the campaign to clean up the horrendously-polluted Ganges River.  It is estimated that 300 million liters of raw sewage and industrial pollutants are dumped into the Ganges every day.  Modi has used his pledge to clean up the Ganges as a metaphor for his campaign to clean up corruption in India.  While there is wide public support for cleaning up the river, many express skepticism concerning Modi’s environmental record, noting that he claims to have cleaned up the Sabarmati River, which is still polluted.  Shreeva Sinha, A River Is Revered, Fouled, and the Symbol of an Election Campaign, N.Y. Times, May 15, 2014, at A7.

Eli Lilly and a unit of the Italian company ACS Dobfar were fined $1 billion reals ($450 million) for exposing hundreds of workers to toxic substances at a chemical plant 140 kilometers from Sao Paulo.  Judge Antonio Rita Bonardo found that the vast majority of workers tested showed evidence of heavy metals and other toxics in their blood.  The judge also prohibited the plant from operating for a year.  The ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed against the companies in 2008 to redress worker exposure to toxics.  The judge also required the companies to pay for medical treatment of workers who worked at the plant for more than six months as well as the cost of medical treatment of their children. Paul Kiernan, Brazilian Judge Fines United Over Worker Illnesses, Wall St. J., May 12, 2014, at B3.

A proposal to create a “nuclear bad bank” to take responsibility for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in Germany has met with skepticisim.  German utilities Eon, RWE and EnBW have been in discussions to create a state-owned foundation to oversee the decommissioning process as the country phases out nuclear power.  German environment minister Barbara Hendricks rejected the “bad bank” idea, stating that “The full responsibility for the safe phasing out, closure, decommissioning and interim storage of nuclear waste lies with the energy companies.” Jeevan Vasager, German Utilities and Government Clash over Nuclear ‘Bad Bank’,” Financial Times, May 11, 2014

On May 16 the University of Maryland Carey School of Law held its commencement exercises.  A total of twenty-one students graduated with the certificate of concentration in environmental law.  Since 1998 a total of 346 students have graduated with the environmental law concentration.  On May 15 the Maryland Environmental Law Program held a reception to honor the 21 J.D. students graduating with a certificate of concentration in environmental law.  We also honored Yuezhu Liu, who graduated with an LL.M. focused on environmental law.  Her family from Nanjing, China, attended the ceremony, including her father who is the chair of the environment and natural resources committee of the Jiangsu Bar.


On Wednesday May 14 I was honored as one of the recipients of an Interprofessional Global Health grant at a ceremony held in the Gladhill Board Room on the University of Maryland Baltimore campus.  The ceremony also included many of the students who will be participating in the multi-disciplinary projects this year.  My project was inspired by Julie Weisman of the Water Resoures Action Project who went to Israel with me and some Maryland students last year.  Next spring break we will return to Israel with a multi-disciplinary group of students from Maryland’s law, business, and public health schools to work on policies to facilitate greater use of greywater recycling.

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