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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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The UCLA Journal of Environmental Law and Policy produces a high quality biannual journal on cutting-edge environmental legal and policy matters.  JELP is entirely run and produced by students at UCLA School of Law.  Articles in JELP are written by leading scholars throughout the country and often the world, and by students focusing on environmental law at UCLA.

Volume 31, Issue 1, 2013

Issue cover

Front Matter

Masthead

Masthead

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Articles

Marginalized Monitoring: Adaptively Managing Urban Stormwater

Adaptive management is a theory that encourages environmental managers to engage in a continual learning process and adapt their management choices based on learning about new scientific developments. One such area of scientific development relevant to water management is bacterial genetics, which now allows scientists to identify when human sewage has seeped into unintended places. Source-specific bacterial testing in a variety of cities across the United States indicates there is human sewage in urban stormwater pipes. These pipes are designed to carry runoff from city streets and lots; sending untreated water directly into rivers, streams, and lakes. This scientific breakthrough could be highly useful to urban water managers because it helps identify sewage infrastructure problems that pose significant public health risks. While accepted within the scientific community, this research sought to understand the extent to which urban water managers were using this new monitoring method and, to the degree they were not, to identify the barriers. We designed our study to illustrate how municipal stormwater managers understand and adapt to highly relevant scientific developments in monitoring techniques. The research findings and analysis are based on qualitative research interviews with urban stormwater managers and their state and federal agency regulators to identify what encourages and discourages the application of useful scientific discoveries to better manage water systems, with a particular focus on how the law influences adaptive management. This research provides important insights into necessary legal and management reforms that must occur if the theoretical benefits of adaptive management are to be realized. Moreover, it adds to the theoretical research on adaptive management by providing a detailed case study of the barriers in practice to the adoption of adaptive management approaches.

Building Bio-based Supply Chains: Theoretical Perspectives on Innovative Contract Design

By 2030, the United States will consume over 300 million tons of forest and agricultural feedstocks for energy production. The supply chain necessary to provide unprecedented quantities of new “bioenergy crops,” however, is fraught with uncertainty. The vertically integrated model currently used by the nascent sector may have limited opportunity for expansion to meet renewable energy mandates. A hybrid structure is likely to emerge as the industry evolves, in which end-users closely cooperate with a large number of heterogeneous producers through long-term contracting rather than as direct owners or operators of biomass farms. This “vertically coordinated” industry model is dependent on a series of biomass supply contracts between end-user and farmer. The “take it or leave it” production contracts offered by end-users represent the archetypal cost- and risk-minimization perspectives common in the fossil fuel-based energy context (e.g., petroleum, coal). These initial offerings lack many of the considerations provided in agricultural-based contracting and are unlikely to engender the level of dedicated energy biomass cultivation needed to meet renewable energy mandates. In response, we propose an alternative Biomass Contract Framework, which incorporates three separate theoretical approaches to contract design with the objective of removing barriers to entry into the market. Incorporating a socioeconomic perspective into the more familiar risk- and cost-minimizing approaches found in contract theory literature will enhance producer ability to maintain existing social networks, while minimizing farmer disincentives to enter into production contracts for novel biomass crops. Our Framework also recognizes end-users’ needs to meet emerging environmental sustainability requirements, even perhaps facilitating “shed-level” coordination.

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Agricultural Soil Carbon Sequestration Offset Programs: Strengths, Difficulties, and Suggestions for Their Potential Use in AB 32's Cap and Trade Program

Agricultural Soil Carbon Sequestration Offset Programs: Strengths, Difficulties, and Suggestions for Their Potential Use in AB 32's Cap and Trade Program