July 31, 2017
by giannapetito
0 comments

Exploring Policy Options in China to Stem the Illegal Timber Trade

Forest Department Director of Inspection in Myanmar gestures towards confiscated illegal timber. SOURCE: Blue Moon Fund and Global Environmental Institute

Forest Department Director of Inspection in Myanmar gestures towards confiscated illegal timber. SOURCE: Blue Moon Fund and Global Environmental Institute

The U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law (PEL), in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), recently completed an initial report on our pioneering research into the international regulation of illegal timber trade, with a focus on the China’s transnational policy dynamics.

The regulation of illegal timber trade is a significant component of the international community’s effort to embed international economic activities within sustainable social and environmental practices. This vexing issue of international trade regulation is part of the larger controversy over management of globalization in order to maintain environmental integrity and social stability.  Therefore, illegal timber trade can be viewed as a case-in-point of one of the overarching challenges of our time.

Continue Reading →

June 12, 2017
by Xiaoyu Zhang
0 comments

Updates from the Field: Ecological Environmental Exchange and Research Convention with Fujian Provincial High Court

To extend our exchange and communication with Chinese judiciaries, on June 9th the Fujian Provincial High Court invited U.S. – Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law (PEL) to speak in Fujian, Wuyishan in front of more than 40 environmental and natural resources tribunal judges from Fujian province.

International Exchange and Research Convention on Ecological Environmental Judiciary in Fujian, Photo by Fujian Provincial High Court

International Exchange and Research Convention on Ecological Environmental Judiciary in Fujian, Photo by Fujian Provincial High Court

Continue Reading →

June 8, 2017
by Yanmei Lin
0 comments

Updates from the Field: Exploring Co-Learning with China’s Supreme People’s Court

In the last three years, China’s judiciary has made significant progress in strengthening its capacity to adjudicate environmental cases. The Supreme People’ Court in China (SPC) established a specialized environmental and resources division in June, 2014 proliferating more than 600 specialized environmental tribunals and divisions. The U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law at Vermont Law School (PEL) has been providing technical support to Chinese courts in these important efforts by conducting trainings and by sharing the results of our in-depth research on key judicial policy issues on environmental public interest litigation, including lessons learned from the U.S. and other countries’ experiences.

VLS Professors led a roundtable discussion with environmental judges at China’s Supreme People’s Court

VLS Professors led a roundtable discussion with environmental judges at China’s Supreme People’s Court

On June 6, 2017, Professor David Mears, Vice Dean of the Faculty at Vermont Law School, Professor Jack Tuholske, Director of the Water and Justice Program and Professor Yanmei Lin, Associate Director of PEL, together with Mr. Dimetri Deboer, Director of Client Earth China Program had a roundtable with judges from SPC and from four other provincial high courts, to discuss recent developments in China’s environmental judiciary and lessons and experiences from the U.S. environmental legal system.

Continue Reading →

May 15, 2017
by yuzhuang
0 comments

The Challenge of Litigation Costs and Damage Assessment Fees in Environmental Public Interest Litigation in China

blog-picture

The front picture is from “China encourages environmental groups to sue polluters,” THE GUARDIAN.

From January 2015 when the new Environmental Protection Law (EPL) took effect to the end of 2016, courts in China have accepted 112 environmental public interest litigation (EPIL) cases filed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). But, as of November 2016, only six NGOs have brought EPIL cases, down from eleven in 2015. In light of China’s mounting environmental crisis and the fact that over 700 NGOs are eligible to file EPIL cases under the EPL, the number of EPIL cases filed and the NGOs filing these cases are surprisingly low. One reason is the high upfront costs and risks borne by NGOs, which includes litigation costs paid to courts and damage assessment fees. These costs and fees constitute a formidable barrier to environmental NGOs because many of them operate on constrained budgets. As a result, very few NGOs can afford to pursue legal action.

[Author’s Note: This article was originally published in The Comparative Jurist, a William & Mary Law School’s International and Comparative Law Blog. The author would like to thank the editors of the Comparative Jurist for constructive comments and editing assistance.]

Continue Reading →

May 9, 2017
by William Schulte
0 comments

Myanmar: National Consultation on the Draft Guideline on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment

MONREC LogoOn May 8, 2017 we supported the Environmental Conservation Department (ECD) of Myanmar’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) to host a National Consultation Meeting in Yangon on the Draft Guidelines for Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment.  The meeting brought together over one hundred representatives of stakeholder groups including civil society, government, and the private sector.  The project has been made possible through funding from USAID and the Mekong Partnership for the Environment. Continue Reading →

March 13, 2017
by Yanmei Lin
0 comments

EPIL Typical Case #1: Taizhou Environmental Protection Association of Jiangsu Province v. Taixing Jinhui Chemical Company, et al., A Water Pollution Environmental Public Interest Litigation Case

Rutai River, Picture from Beidu Baike Wiki

Rutai River, Picture from Beidu Baike Wiki

This case is translated and summarized from the 10 Environmental Public Interest Cases promulgated by Supreme People’s Court . The original publication can be found here.

Basic Facts of the Case:

From January 2012 to February 2013, the Taixing Jinhui Chemical Company, et al., six defendants, dumped nearly 26,000 tons of acid by-product into the Rutai Canal and the Gugaman River, causing severe ecological damage. All six defendants entered contracts to sell the acid by-product at the rate of 20 to 100 yuan/per ton to companies that were not licensed to handle hazardous wastes. The plaintiff Taizhou Environmental Protection Federation (TEPF) petitioned to the court to assign environmental restoration expenses of 160,666,745 yuan (US $26 million) and 100,000 yuan (US $14,285). Continue Reading →

March 13, 2017
by Yanmei Lin
0 comments

China’s Supreme Court Releases Ten Model Environmental Public Interest Litigation Cases

SPC Press Conference Photo from Xinhua News

SPC Press Conference Photo from Xinhua News

On March 7, 2017, the Supreme People’s Court of China (SPC) released ten model/typical (典型) Environmental Public Interest Litigation (EPIL) cases. EPIL is a new type of suit that environmental social organizations (ESOs) and procuratorates can bring to the courts on behalf of the public against the conducts of pollution or ecological destruction that causes harm to social public interests. Continue Reading →

December 21, 2016
by yuzhuang
0 comments

环境司法公益培训 招募通知

logo2环境司法公益培训(以下简称“培训”)是由佛蒙特法学院(VLS),佛蒙特大学(UVM),和欧盟环境保护协会(ClientEarth)联合主办,在佛蒙特法学院举行的关于美国环境法和环境司法的培训。培训时间为2017年1月9日至2月27日。

培训将招收3至5名致力于中国环境保护事业的环保社会公益组织的法律工作者或合作公益律师参与1至2周的培训课程。佛蒙特法学院将为学员提供部分或全额奖学金用于支付学费、国际和国内交通费用和在佛蒙特学习期间的住宿费用。

Continue Reading →

December 8, 2016
by yuzhuang
0 comments

Environmental Public Interest Litigation (EPIL) in China – Background and Overview

blog-picture

This picture is from Jiang jie, NGOs await top court ruling that may allow them to sue more easily, GLOBAL TIMES.

  1. Introduction of EPIL

Environmental Public Interest Litigation (EPIL) in China permits qualified environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to file litigation to protect the public interest in safeguarding the environment and natural resources from pollution and ecological destruction. It took China almost ten years to establish the EPIL scheme in law and may take several more years to fine-tune the EPIL system through practices.

[Author’s Note: This article was originally published in The Comparative Jurist, a William & Mary Law School’s International and Comparative Law Blog. The author would like to thank the editors of the Comparative Jurist for constructive comments and editing assistance.]

Continue Reading →

October 31, 2016
by William Schulte
0 comments

Discussing Citizen Enforcement of Clean Water Laws with the Supreme People’s Court of China

SPC1On October 14 Vermont Law School Professor and Technical Advisor to the US-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law Jack Tuholske had the special opportunity to give a presentation on judicial and citizen enforcement of water protection laws to the Environment and Natural Resources Tribunal of the Supreme People’s Court.  Ever since China first authorized citizen enforcement of its environmental laws through litigation last year, the Supreme People’s Court has show great interest in developing and standardizing the practice of environmental public interest litigation.  Indeed, less than one week after the Environmental Protection Law amendments went into effect on January 1, 2015, the Supreme People’s Court issued a judicial interpretation of the public interest litigation provisions that addressed issues such as standing, jurisdiction, and remedies. Continue Reading →