Bourguignon, Didier. “The precautionary principle: Definitions, applications and governance.” European Parliament Research Service Paper (2015).
Treaty on European Union, Article 191
2. Union policy on the environment shall aim at a high level of protection taking into account the diversity of situations in the various regions of the Union. It shall be based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay.
The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992)
In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.
In fulfillment of requirements of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change Act of 2015, this report provides updated projections of the amount of sea-level rise relative to Maryland coastal lands that is expected into the next century. These projections represent the consensus of an Expert Group drawn from the Mid-Atlantic region.
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The Great Fire of 1910 (original link)
This is a report on the Fire of 1910, which burned over 3,000,000 acres/4,700 sq. miles over a weekend. (Likely started by flaming cinders from a steam train.) The Camp Fire burned about 100,000 acres. The 1910 fire lead to the fire suppression policies by the US Forest Service that ultimately contributed to current fires. (These were co-opted by the timber industry, so it is not clear what the forest service on its own might have done through time as it saw the effects of the policies.) But the nature of temperate coniferous forests is that they burn, and even in a state of nature, large areas may burn. As with flooding, it is only an issue when people enter the picture, turning a natural phenomenon into a disaster.
The 1910 fire was not the biggest or most deadly:
Fire resistant construction and community design is not significantly more expensive than conventional construction and has additional benefits by increasing resistance to wind damage. It is pretty expensive to retrofit, however. The principles have been known for a long time, but the political will to impose the construction standards has been limited. Our insurance folks will know better, but at least until the most recent fire seasons, the cost of fire insurance has not been high enough in these areas to incentivize better construction. Part of the reason is that the homeowners and their communities do not pay the cost of firefighting, which usually can save the houses. Thus the risk is subsidized, as with flood insurance and flood control projects. (Fire insurance for high end homes in fire areas does include the cost of firefighting, which is what brings in those private teams to foam the house and the area when a fire threatens.)
Harris v. State, 2018 WL 5839607 (Miss. Nov. 8, 2018).
Abutting landowners brought an action against the State of Mississippi, a city, and a county to confirm title to waterfront properties. A trial court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the landowners on the issue of tideland boundaries, confirmed the landowners’ title, and ruled that the government parties failed to prove adverse possession or public prescriptive easement. On appeal, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed and remanded. Following a trial, the lower court held that Mississippi held title to the sand beach in front of landowners’ properties as public-trust tidelands and granted easements to the county and city. The landowners appealed. The Mississippi Supreme Court held that the beach was public-trust tidelands; the trial court acted within its discretion in relying on lay witness testimony that the beach was man-made; the expert report did not establish that beach was natural rather than man-made; and the pumping of sand along the shoreline did not constitute an uncompensated taking.
(Thanks for Mississippi Sea Grant National Law Center)
The human influence on Hurricane Florence – a real time forecast based on climate change information
For Hurricane Florence, we present the first advance forecasted attribution statements about the human influence on a tropical cyclone. We find that rainfall will be significantly increased by over 50% in the heaviest precipitating parts of the storm. This increase is substantially larger than expected from thermodynamic considerations alone. We further find that the storm will remain at a high category on the SaffirSimpson scale for a longer duration and that the storm is approximately 80 km in diameter larger at landfall because of the human interference in the climate system.
One flight today covering the outer coast from St. George Island east to Cedar Key, FL as well as Bonifay, FL, Chipley, FL and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from West Bay, FL to Point Washington, FL.
Web viewer: https://storms.ngs.noaa.gov/storms/michael/index.html#8/29.988/-84.532
Food & Water Watch v. United States Dep’t of Agric., No. CV 17-1714 (BAH), 2018 WL 4283568 (D.D.C. Sept. 7, 2018)
From the opinion:
The plaintiff, Food & Water Watch (“FWW”), has filed a nine-count complaint against three defendants, the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), the Farm Service Agency (“FSA”), and Deanna Dunning, in her official capacity as an FSA Farm Loan Officer (collectively, “defendants”), under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 551, et seq., and the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321–70, seeking an order and judgment setting aside an environmental assessment completed by the defendants in connection with a nonparty farm’s “application for a guaranteed loan to construct and operate a poultry concentrated animal feeding operation,” “[d]eclaring that Defendants violated NEPA by failing” to complete an adequate environmental impact statement in connection with the loan application, and “[e]njoining implementation of Defendants’ loan guarantee.” Compl. ¶¶ 1, 5, ECF No. 1. The defendants have moved for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), contending that the plaintiff’s claims are moot and that the plaintiff lacks standing, see generally Defs.’ Mot. J. Pleadings (“Defs.’ Mot.”), ECF No. 17, while the plaintiff has moved to compel the complete Administrative Record (“AR”), see generally Pl.’s Mot. Compel AR (“Pl.’s Mot. Compel”), ECF No. 18.1 For the reasons described below, the plaintiff’s claims are not moot and the plaintiff has standing to pursue this lawsuit. Accordingly, the defendants’ motion is denied while the plaintiff’s motion is granted.2