Summer Writing Projects

In a month, the flurry of the new semester begins with orientation and the hustle and bustle of fall classes. This summer I completed two law review articles, which will be published in a couple months or so.

Energy for Metropolis looks at municipal initiatives for advanced biofuels and will be published in the University of Miami Law Review (forthcoming 2018).

The role of municipal governments in climate change adaptation measures, natural resource conservation, and clean energy initiatives has increased dramatically in the past decade. Through energy efficiency measures and renewable energy mandates, cities are poised to have significant impacts in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the mitigation of climate risks in the clean energy transition. This article addresses municipal regulation of advanced biofuels as an integral part of the clean energy transition. Existing laws and policies have critical design flaws. Specifically, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has proven to be burdensome and complex, producing more unintended consequences than desired outcomes. Problems in the implementation of the RFS indicate that Congress overestimated the capacity of the biofuel industry to produce energy and the ability of the retail gasoline market to accommodate ethanol. Consumer resistance to ethanol use and market pressures create problems for biofuel use. This research will analyze the loopholes in current regulatory systems for biofuels nationally and locally and consider how to overcome these social, economic, and environmental hurdles to harness the full potential of biofuels in urban systems.

“Mask Off” – The Coloniality of Environmental Justice, is a symposium piece, which will be appearing in Widener Law Review (forthcoming 2018).

This Article suggests a paradigmatic reversal in the sociolegal conceptualization of environmental justice and seeks to expand the notion of environmental justice to a disaster risk reduction modality. This legal narrative chronicles how those with power and wealth govern the lives, fortunes, and health of those on the bottom rungs through discriminatory environmental policies. I explore case studies of sudden onset water hazard events, energy access, and the use of advanced biofuels in the localities of Puerto Rico, Pakistan, and the Philippines to show the problematic configurations of environmental justice. These examples elucidate how environmental justice is perceived and how the legal framework for environmental justice is marginalized. In turn, I recommend reframing environmental justice through the lens of the Anibal Quijano’s “coloniality of power” and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction by the United Nations. This Article is a fourth in a series on advanced biofuels and environmental justice. Previously, I examined international dimensions in Blood Biofuels (Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum), federal efforts in Resiliency and Responsive Regulation for Advanced Biofuels (Virginia Environmental Law Journal), and municipal initiatives in Energy for Metropolis (University of Miami Law Review).

I also have to place the finishing touches on my chapter, Faith-Based Approaches to Environmental Protection, in Locating Nature: The Making and Unmaking of International Law (eds. Usha Natarajan and Julia Dehm) (Cambridge) (forthcoming 2019).

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