Developing Adaptive and Integrated Strategies for Managing the Electricity-Water Nexus

Dr. Benjamin K. Sovacool *
Alex Gilbert **

Existing and planned reliance on thermoelectric power plants—facilities that burn oil, natural gas, coal, and biomass, or fission atoms—depends too heavily on assumptions of widespread, abundant water resources. As the Union of Concerned Scientists has estimated, power plants in the United States take in almost triple the average amount of water flowing over Niagara Falls each minute to meet their cooling needs.[1] Or, put another way, on a typical day more than 500 billion liters of fresh water travel through power plants in the United States—more than twice the amount flowing through the entire Nile River.[2] Yet water is a critical constraint often overlooked in electricity and energy decisions. When considered, it challenges us to think more broadly about integrated resource planning, reliability challenges, and resource selection.

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Insurance at the Energy-Water Nexus

Donald T. Hornstein *

As the outstanding contributions to this symposium demonstrate, the on-the-ground connections between water and energy are pervasive, multidimensional, and sobering. And, at the legal nexus between water and energy, the symposium’s contributors generally hint at some mix of land-use controls, common-law liability, or regulation to help mediate the challenges. Yet precisely because the challenges are so sobering, perhaps an even broader range of social institutions and solutions ought to be considered. In this essay, I offer some observations of the role that insurance may play at the energy-water nexus.

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Energy Versus Water: The Growing Role of Water in Controlling Energy Decisions

Andrea West Wortzel *

Energy and water are integrally linked. Water is necessary to produce and deliver energy,[1] both for cooling and for pollution control. For certain energy sources, such as natural gas and coal, water is needed in the extraction process. Energy powers water treatment processes and pumps for transporting water to end users. Energy is also needed to treat water after it has been used and to return it to the stream or to another user.

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Two Dads Are Better than One: The Supreme Court of Virginia’s Decision in L.F. v. Breit and Why Virginia’s Assisted Conception Statute Should Allow Gay Couples to Legally Parent a Child Together

Lauren Maxey

In May 2012, Roanoke Athletic Club in Virginia revoked a family club membership from two dads and their two-year-old son Oliver, after discovering that the two dads were gay and that they did not qualify for club membership. William Trinkle, Juan Granados, and Oliver applied for membership at the athletic club so that they could enjoy the summer by the pool as a family. Trinkle purchased a family membership and club officials approved his application, but soon after the family started using the facilities, the operations director contacted the couple. The director revoked their membership because they did not qualify under the club’s definition of a family. Thus, Trinkle, Granados, and Oliver were denied a family membership simply because of Trinkle’s and Granados’ sexual orientations. In addition, Oliver was denied the access available to children of heterosexual couples. Although the athletic club later changed its definition of a family to allow families like Trinkle, Granados, and Oliver to gain membership, this event highlights one of the many problems gay dads face in Virginia as a result of the current state of Virginia law regarding legal parentage.

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Avoiding the Catch-22: Reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard to Protect Freshwater Resources and Promote Energy Independence

Leah Stiegler *

“No beaches have been closed due to ethanol spills!”[1] An ethanol advocacy group near the United States Capitol shouted these words in 2010. Proponents of ethanol parade an environmentally benign image that plays up ethanol as a “clean fuel” that could never harm water resources, unlike well-publicized oil spills, such as the Exxon Valdez incident.[2] But this is not the case.

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The Purpose of the Fourth Amendment and Crafting Rules to Implement that Purpose

Thomas K. Clancy*

What is the purpose of the Fourth Amendment? How should rules – legal principles – be crafted to implement that purpose? This article addresses those questions. Nothing is more fundamental to the development of Fourth Amendment principles than the answers to those questions. Given the wide applicability of the Fourth Amendment to the countless intrusions by the government in daily life, how the Fourth Amendment is to be construed is itself of fundamental concern to all Americans. It is the foundation upon which other freedoms rest.

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High-Frequency Trading: A Regulatory Strategy

Charles R. Korsmo*

The events of May 6, 2010 took high-frequency trading from the edges of public consciousness to being front page news. American stock markets had opened that morning to unsettling rumblings from Europe. The previous day had seen violent protests in Greece against proposed austerity measures designed to avert a default on Greek government debt. The ongoing riots seemed likely to scupper a proposed European Union bailout of Greece, potentially touching off a chain-reaction debt crisis with disastrous consequences for the entire euro zone. Given these inauspicious augurs, it is hardly surprising that investor sentiment was somewhat jumpy and decidedly gloomy for much of the day. Over the course of the morning, prices slid in increasingly volatile trading. By 1:00 p.m., the Standard & Poor’s 500 (“S&P 500”), a well-known index of stock prices for 500 top American companies, had fallen by about 1%—a significant drop, to be sure, but not yet particularly alarming.

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The Copyright/Patent Boundary

Viva R. Moffat*

In passing the Copyright Act in 1976, Congress provided that “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works” were to be protected, but at the same time made clear that works of industrial design, as opposed to works of applied art, were not to be protected by copyright law. Put simply, “useful articles” are not copyrightable. This is so because useful things belong in the patent realm, if they are to receive protection at all. Seemingly straightforward, this distinction—between applied art and industrial design, between copyright law and patent law—has long perplexed policymakers, courts, and academics.

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Synthetic CDOs, Conflicts of Interest, and Securities Fraud

Jennifer O’Hare*

Following the financial crisis, the synthetic collateralized debt obligation (“CDO”)—a complex derivative that received little mainstream attention prior to the housing meltdown—became big news. Journalists wrote numerous articles explaining how synthetic CDOs spread the contagion of toxic assets throughout the financial system, nearly bringing down the global economy. Government hearings exposed the ugly conflicts of interest inherent in the structuring of synthetic CDOs, as big investment banks created, sold, and invested in synthetic CDOs and often bet against their clients. Some of the world’s largest financial institutions, who faced bankruptcy when their investments lost value, bitterly complained that these synthetic CDOs had been “designed to fail” so that the investment banks could profit at their expense. Greedy investment banks were seen as the problem, not the synthetic CDOs themselves.

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Reclaim This! Getting Credit Seller Rights in Bankruptcy Right

Lawrence Ponoroff*

The oxymoronically titled Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (“BAPCPA” or “2005 amendments”) has received considerable attention since its passage, and considerably less than all of it is positive. By even a neutral account, the bill is clumsily drafted, unnecessarily prolix, internally inconsistent, and annealed in a cauldron of special interest pressures. The legislative history is scant and what does exist is less than altogether clear or helpful. Together, these factors have frequently rendered the traditional judicial function in application of the law; namely, ascertaining (or at least beginning by ascertaining) congressional intent, an exercise in futility. To say the least, it is difficult to discern that which, in all likelihood, does not and has never existed in a uniform or coherent fashion.

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