Follow HLS on
Thousands of spills at US oil and gas fracking sites
Up to 16% of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells spill liquids every year, according to new research from US scientists. They found that there had been 6,600 releases from these fracked wells over a ten-year period in four states. The biggest problems were reported in oil-rich North Dakota where 67% of the spills were recorded. The largest spill recorded involved 100,000 litres of fluid with most related to storing and moving liquids..."Analyses like this one are so important, to define and mitigate risk to water supplies and human health," said Kate Konschnik
, another author on the paper from Harvard Law School's Environmental Policy Initiative.
The Washington Post
Harvard law clinic sues DOJ over for-profit college case files
The Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard Law School is suing the Justice Department for withholding documents that could help for-profit college students get their federal education loans canceled...“When the government settled this case, they hailed it as a victory for students and taxpayers. We are seeking these documents on behalf of students, but also on behalf of taxpayers who are the members of the public who have an interest in these documents,” said project attorney Amanda Savage
. “There has to be oversight of how public dollars are being funneled toward for-profit corporations.”
States’ Data on Fracking Well Spills Inadequate for Comprehensive Study, Researchers Say
The nation's regulation of oil and gas development is a mish-mash of disjointed state oversight that makes it difficult to quantify the environmental impacts of drilling. A new study highlights just how inconsistent spill reporting is, showing that the range in requirements makes it impossible to compare states or come up with a comprehensive national picture..."It's quite scattershot the amount of information being collected, the form in which it's being collected and the way in which it's being shared with the public," said Kate Konschnik
, a co-author of the study and director of the Harvard Environmental Policy Initiative.
Stuck in legal limbo
When human rights clinical instructor Anna Crowe
first began documenting the legal challenges faced by Syrian refugees in Jordan, she found a tangled system that put their lives on hold. Thousands of refugees, stuck in legal limbo, were vulnerable to risks ranging from statelessness to relocation to refugee camps. .. “Documentation is the gateway to a variety of human rights, rights to health, education, nationality, and so on,” said Crowe, who teaches at the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School (HLS).
Revolution in Highway Safety Needs a Little Help
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein
...In the very month in which the nation’s capital seems to be overrun by deregulatory fever, it was announced that in 2016, more than 40,000 Americans died in accidents involving motor vehicles. That’s a significant jump from 2015, when traffic deaths also increased from the year before. The United States should not accept that level of human tragedy. The good news is that the Department of Transportation knows a lot about what might help -- and, yes, regulation is a part of the picture. In the coming year, the department’s new leadership and the White House ought to mount an aggressive effort, working alongside the private sector and state and local officials, to reduce deaths on roads and highways.
In Service of Those Who Served: Law Schools & Veterans Legal Clinics
For many of America’s veterans, help is coming from an unlikely source—the local law school. From Harvard and Yale to Widener and Wake Forest, law students are providing legal assistance to veterans through clinical programs. The programs can be a win-win for students and the community. Students gain hands-on legal research and writing skills and apply their coursework to real-world challenges facing actual people, not classroom hypotheticals. The Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinic
at Harvard Law notes that students will be exposed to practice areas including administrative, probate and constitutional law. As law schools endeavor to produce more “practice-ready” graduates, the Clinic notes that students will have opportunities to question witnesses, draft legal documents, present arguments, and engage in negotiations.
Revised Trump Travel Ban Will Face Legal Hurdles, Too
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. President Donald Trump is poised to announce a redrafted executive order on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. Will it pass legal muster? Or will the courts once again thwart the president’s will? Early reports suggest that the new order will be drafted to avoid many of the legal problems that were posed by the earlier version, and to make judicial review harder to obtain. But the crucial question is whether the courts will consider the political context in which the order was drafted to conclude that it is still a Muslim ban under another name. Whether the court should do so turns out to be a close legal question.
Nudge theory: the psychology and ethics of persuasion (audio)
An interview with Cass Sunstein
. This week, Ian Sample explores the psychology behind ‘nudging’, its usage by governments, and some of the ethical quandaries involved.