SPRING ISSUE 2022

Image by Eutah Mizushima

BY: ADAM J. SULKOWSKI

This article takes a transdisciplinary approach to examining a range of issues related to the topic of Indigenous shared governance. It examines concepts such as free prior informed consent and the role of international law in affecting local reality in the context of a specific illustrative example in South America in the Amazon biome: the Iwokrama Forest and its communities in Guyana. The role of international law in preserving biodiversity, climate, and rainforests is considered as well. The article also considers legal, ethical, and scientific perspectives on issues related to mixed uses of rainforests. These include shared stewardship of natural resources, ecotourism, the means of funding scientific research and use of rainforests for science, reduced impact logging and green commerce certifications, and whether benefits of a mixed-use approach to natural resources are shared with Indigenous people. Finally, the article describes the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and considers options for responding to the additional stresses of the pandemic, which include exacerbation of illegal mining and logging in protected areas. Besides describing difficult decisions and trade-offs that arise in reality and generalizable take-away observations, the reflections and opinions of local Indigenous representatives are included, and directions for future research are suggested.

Image by Matteo Catanese

BY: KEVIN D. HERNDON

This Note examines the effects urban planning has on crime rates in two cities. The first, Washington, D.C., passed the Legacy Plan in 1997 to improve city aesthetics and revitalize businesses. Neighboring Alexandria, Virginia passed new city planning ordinances in 1992. The differential timing gives rise to a natural experiment for examining the impact of city planning on crime rates. A difference-in-differences analysis is used to compare the effect of the Legacy Plan in Washington, D.C. before and after its adoption, relative to the control jurisdiction of Alexandria during the same period. The difference-in-differences estimation produced one statistically significant result for motor vehicle thefts. There was also an overall decrease in crimes in both cities over the period studied. Recommendations for future research and for practice are discussed.

Image by Jannik Kiel

BY: EDWARD A. FITZGERALD

After Congress refused to fund the border wall, President Trump declared a national emergency. This allowed him to reprogram funds from other accounts to provide funding for border wall construction. The Ninth Circuit in Sierra Club v. Trump and California v. Trump held that the reprogramming of funds pursuant to sections 8005 and 2808 violated the statutes and posed constitutional problems. However, the Supreme Court issued a stay, which allowed
construction to continue. This article analyzes and asserts that the Ninth Circuit decisions were correct. Events at the end of Trump administration are reviewed. After taking office, President Biden cancelled the national emergency and stopped most of the funding for the border wall. President Biden supports the establishment of a virtual border wall. Events during the Biden administration are examined.

Image by Ernest Brillo


BY: DANIEL ANDRÉS DOMÍNGUEZ

Since the 1970s, the term “environmental racism” has become more commonplace in the public sphere and is largely recognized when governments and private industry aim to develop or use land for their own interests at the expense of the health and safety of the communities that reside nearby. This is a positive development in the evolution of dialogue on the environmental impacts on communities of color. Equal attention should also be paid to instances of environmental racism before the term became widely known. One such example is the Superfund site in Tucson, which sits near the city’s majority-minority southside. Federal contractor Hughes Aircraft Co., with the Tucson Airport Authority, spent nearly three decades disposing of a degreaser containing a toxic chemical,
trichloroethylene (TCE), which then leaked into the groundwater supply. While this took place largely before the term was coined, a retrospective demonstrates that the release of the TCE, intentional or not, resulted in many residents developing cancer or other illnesses, and falls under the definition of environmental racism. Although the litigation settled over 15 years ago, problems persist in the communities surrounding the Superfund site. In addition to the still ongoing TCE cleanup, a new contaminant, polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), has emerged, brought on by the Air National Guard’s use of firefighting foam, showing up in water wells close to the Tucson Airport Remediation Project (TARP). The state and federal governments have an obligation to act quickly to prevent the spread of PFAS in the water remediation system and avert a repetition of environmental harms on communities of color.