The National Sea Grant Law Center

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Recent Blog Posts

  • North Carolina Rejects Proposal to Conduct Seismic Airgun Surveys off the North Carolina Coast
  • July 31st, 2019 — by Bryce Burgwyn — Category: Coastal Management

  • North Carolina has objected to a federal permit granting WesternGeco, LLC authorization to conduct seismic airgun surveys in federal waters off the Atlantic Coast of North Carolina. In making its decision, the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management reviewed input from subject matter experts, state agencies, and the public. North Carolina deemed WesternGeco’s proposal inconsistent with the relevant enforceable policies in the North Carolina Coastal Zone Management Program.


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  • Oh, Barnacles! Lawsuit Challenges Navy’s Ship Cleaning Activity in Puget Sound
  • July 25th, 2019 — by Amanda Nichols — Category: Environmental Law  Clean Water Act

  • In June 2017, the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, the Washington Environmental Council, and the Suquamish Native American tribe filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington alleging that its ship cleaning activity violated the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).


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  • Webinar Series to Feature Legal Research from Collaborative Shellfish Aquaculture Project
  • July 15th, 2019 — by Catherine Janasie — Category: Aquaculture

  • Throughout July and August, the National Sea Grant Law Center (NSGLC) will be hosting a webinar series to highlight the work and findings of its collaborative project, entitled “Overcoming Impediments to Shellfish Aquaculture through Legal Research and Outreach.”


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  • North Carolina Enacts New Shellfish Aquaculture Law
  • July 12th, 2019 — by Amanda Nichols — Category: Aquaculture

  • On June 21, North Carolina’s governor signed a bill into law that makes several critical changes to the state’s shellfish aquaculture leasing program. The bill—S.B. 648—was unanimously passed by the state’s Senate in early May, with the House doing the same on June 12. The final text of the bill was refined in a yearlong stakeholder process, and is drawn in part from a strategic plan for shellfish mariculture that was developed last year by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s North Carolina Policy Collaboratory.


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  • Memorandum of Understanding Formalizes Commercial Fishing Industry Input to Outer Continental Shelf Wind Energy Development
  • June 26th, 2019 — by Bryce Burgwyn — Category: Fisheries Offshore Energy

  • The offshore wind energy industry on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) adjacent to the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions is on the verge of dramatic expansion. Currently, a single wind farm consisting of five turbines located three miles southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island is the only operational wind farm on the United States Atlantic coast.


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  • Meet the 2019 NSGLC Summer Intern
  • June 13th, 2019 — Category: Miscellaneous

  • Each summer, the National Sea Grant Law Center hires a full-time research associate. This summer’s Research Associate is Bryce Burgwyn, a rising 2L at Harvard Law School. We asked Bryce several questions to get to know her better.


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  • Price Fixing Lawsuit Targets Norwegian Salmon Aquaculture Sector
  • June 12th, 2019 — by Amanda Nichols — Category: Aquaculture

  • In February, news broke that the European Union Commission’s Competition Authority had carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several European aquaculture companies, including facilities owned by Norwegian companies Mowi, Grieg Seafood, and SalMar and Lerøy Seafood (as joint owners). Soon after, the Commission announced that the inspections were part of an investigation focused on accusations of anti-competitive cooperation in the Norwegian Atlantic salmon aquaculture sector.


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  • New Jersey Enacts Public Beach Access Law
  • May 22nd, 2019 — by Amanda Nichols — Category: Environmental Law

  • On May 3, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signed into law a bill intended to protect the public’s access to state beaches. The legislation codifies the state’s public trust doctrine, which ensures that tidal waters and adjacent shorelines are available to the public for navigation, commerce, and recreation, including bathing, swimming, and fishing.


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  • Changes for Offshore Drilling Safety Rules
  • May 10th, 2019 — by Terra Bowling — Category: Endangered Species

  • Last week, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), a division of the Department of Interior (DOI), announced final changes to offshore drilling safety rules enacted following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The agency stated that it needed to amend the portions of the rule that caused “unnecessary burdens” on stakeholders. Many fear the changes could pave the way for another disaster like Deepwater Horizon.


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  • Trump Administration Halts Plans for Offshore Drilling on Outer Continental Shelf
  • May 2nd, 2019 — by Amanda Nichols — Category: Environmental Law

  • On April 25, a new development in President Trump’s “energy dominance” agenda arose when the Department of the Interior confirmed that the current administration would not yet move forward with its plans to open virtually all federal waters to offshore drilling. This decision came in the wake of an Alaska District Court ruling issued in late March that denied President Trump’s attempt to overturn former President Obama’s Arctic and Atlantic drilling bans.


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  • NMFS Lists Bryde’s Whale as Endangered
  • April 26th, 2019 — by Terra Bowling — Category: Endangered Species

  • Last week, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale, a large baleen whale, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency determined that the whale is endangered “due to its small population size and restricted range, and the threats of energy exploration, development and production, oil spills and oil spill response, vessel collision, fishing gear entanglement, and anthropogenic noise.” The agency cited studies showing that there are fewer than 100 Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whales left in the population.


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  • Climate Change, Coasts & Communities Symposium held at Monmouth University- Papers to be Published in the Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal
  • April 18th, 2019 — by Catherine Janasie — Category: Miscellaneous

  • The National Sea Grant Law Center, through the Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal, is partnering with the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University in New Jersey to publish papers from the institute’s Climate Change, Coasts & Communities Symposium. The New Jersey coast has been facing increased storm events, flooding, sea level rise, and coastal erosion, all of which will present daunting adaptation challenges in the future for the state. The symposium, which took place April 17-18, 2019, featured leading experts in climate change adaptation law and science to discuss lessons learned from other states and countries to assist New Jersey in navigating these challenges in the future.


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  • Delta Flooding Revives Discussion of the Yazoo Backwater Pump Project
  • April 12th, 2019 — by Alex Dominguez — Category: Environmental Law  Flooding

  • Over the past several months, the state of Mississippi has been hit with severe rainfall, causing intense flooding, especially along the Mississippi Delta (Delta). Approximately 500,000 acres in the Delta are underwater, 200,000 of which is agricultural farmland. This rainfall has swelled the Mississippi River and its levees, including the Yazoo Backwater Levee, causing some to resurrect old discussions of the Yazoo Backwater Pumping Project.


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  • Maine Supreme Court Rules Rockweed Harvesting Not Protected by Public Trust Doctrine
  • April 5th, 2019 — by Amanda Nichols — Category: Fisheries

  • On March 28, Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Ross v. Acadian Seaplants (No. Was-17-142, 2019 ME 45, WL 1388499), holding that rockweed—a variety of brown algae that many in the state harvest for both personal and commercial use—is private property. As a result, rockweed harvesters must now gain permission from shorefront property owners before they can collect rockweed from the intertidal zone (the area of wet sand that falls between the high- and low-tide marks) in front of the owners’ property.


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  • Port of Seattle Potentially Liable for Tenant’s CWA Permit Violations
  • March 29th, 2019 — by Terra Bowling — Category: Clean Water Act

  • Last fall, Puget Soundkeeper (Soundkeeper) filed suit against the Port of Seattle (Port) and its tenant, Total Terminals International, under the citizen suit provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Soundkeeper alleged that stormwater discharges from the marine cargo terminal exceeded the limits imposed by the Industrial Stormwater General Permit (ISGP) that covers the facility. The Port filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The Port claimed that Soundkeeper failed to comply with a CWA notice requirement and argued that only the permittee, Total Terminals, could be held liable for violations of the discharge permit.


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  • EPA Faces Another Safe Drinking Water Act Lawsuit
  • March 22nd, 2019 — by Rachel Buddrus — Category: Water Quality

  • The Waterkeeper Alliance, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, and California Coastkeeper Alliance (the organizations) recently filed a lawsuit against the EPA, claiming that the agency has sorely neglected its duties under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The organizations believe that the EPA has not updated regulations for currently regulated contaminants, been reluctant to regulate new contaminants in public drinking water systems, and missed mandatory deadlines under the Act.


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  • FDA Lifts Import Alert on AquAdvantage Salmon
  • March 14th, 2019 — by Amanda Nichols — Category: Aquaculture

  • On March 8, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would be deactivating the import alert it had previously imposed on AquaBounty AquAdvantage Salmon—fish that have often been termed “frankenfish” by the media. The lifting of this ban marks the first time that a genetically engineered (GE) animal product has been cleared for sale to U.S. consumers.


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  • Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal- Spring 2019 Article Submission Update
  • March 8th, 2019 — by Catherine Janasie — Category: Miscellaneous

  • The Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal (SGLPJ) has some exciting things planned for the Spring. First, we have out a call for student papers. We are currently seeking submissions from law students for papers addressing coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes law and policy issues. The chosen papers will be published in a Summer 2019 edition of the SGLPJ. Submissions must be received by 5 p.m. central time on Friday, March 15, 2019 and should be emailed to cjanasie@olemiss.edu.


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  • NSGLC’s Summer Research Associate Program
  • February 28th, 2019 — by Terra Bowling — Category: Miscellaneous

  • Each summer, the National Sea Grant Law Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law in Oxford, Mississippi hires a full-time paid research associate. During the 8-week position, the research associate functions as an integral component of the Law Center’s staff, assisting with publications, preparation of memorandum of law, and ongoing projects. Previous Research Associates have assisted with research on shellfish permitting, invasive species, and other legal issues related to our oceans and coasts. Associates also write at least one article for publication in the Law Center’s quarterly newsletter, The SandBar.


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