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Volume 64
COMMENT: Clogging the Pipeline: Exploring the D.C. Circuit's Improper Segmentation Analysis in Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. FERC and its Implications for the United States's Domestic Natural Gas Production

By Mary-Kaitlin E. RigneyAm. U. L. Rev. 1465 (2015)

Technological advancement in drilling techniques, primarily hydraulic fracturing, has provided access to previously unreachable natural gas reserves. Much of this increase in natural gas production is derived from the Marcellus Shale, a shale formation that spans Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York. This surge in natural gas production has prompted natural gas pipeline companies to upgrade their pipeline networks. Pipeline companies must apply for certificates of public convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and, if approved, perform an environmental evaluation, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In examining the environmental impacts of the pipeline project, pipeline companies must be careful not to impermissibly segment the project into component parts, thereby failing to consider a proposed project’s full range of environmental impacts. This is referred to as the rule against segmentation, developed by courts to ensure that companies consider the full range of environmental consequences of proposed projects. The D.C. Circuit recently reviewed the scope of a pipeline project’s environmental assessment in Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. FERC, holding that the FERC impermissibly segmented four pipeline upgrade projects by failing to consider their impacts in one environmental assessment. This Comment analyzes the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. FERC and argues that the court improperly applied NEPA’s rule against segmentation. The precedent established from the D.C. Circuit’s decision will cause even further delays in the pipeline permitting process and will hinder the United States’s ability to utilize its supply of natural gas.

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The History of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Law

By Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia | 64 Am. U. L. Rev. 1285

 

This Article describes the historical role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law and connects this history to select executive actions announced by President Obama on November 20, 2014.  “Prosecutorial discretion” in immigration law refers to the decision the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  makes about whether to enforce the immigration law against a person or a group of persons.   When an immigration officer from DHS chooses not to bring legally valid charges against a person because of the person’s family ties in the United States or other equities, prosecutorial discretion is being exercised favorably. 

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2014 International Trade Law Decisions of the Federal Circuit

By Jennifer S. Huber & Simon G. Courtman | 64 Am. U. L. Rev. 899

In 2014, the Federal Circuit issued thirty-six precedential opinions in the international trade-related cases it heard on appeal from the Trade Court and USITC.   Of those cases, the Federal Circuit affirmed twenty-seven cases, reversed or vacated seven cases, and issued two orders it considered of precedential value.

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COMMENT: Child’s Play: The Case Against the Department of Labor for Its Failure to Protect Children Working on America’s Tobacco Farms

By Leigh E. Colihan | 64 Am. U. L. Rev. 645 (2015)

Children are not allowed to purchase cigarettes, yet they may legally work on the fields that produce the tobacco for those cigarettes.  This anomaly can be traced back to the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in 1938 when the original exemption for agricultural laborers was first carved out.  The largely outmoded ideology that all farm work is wholesome fueled the legislature in 1938 to fight against a broad application of the minimum wage, overtime, and child labor provisions to the agricultural industry.  This created a sharp disconnect between the protections provided to children working in non-agricultural employment and those working in agriculture.  Today, the agricultural regulations remain unchanged.

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COMMENT: They Could Be Back: The Possibility of Termination Rights for Session Musicians

By Alexandra El-Bayeh | 64 Am. U. L. Rev. 285 (2014)

 

Beginning in 2013, many musicians became eligible to regain rights they assigned to recording companies thirty-five years ago.  Through a provision of the Copyright Act, artists can “terminate” these rights and regain control of their work as long as the work was not a “work for hire.”  This Comment focuses on session musicians’ ability to claim termination rights in their creative contributions to sound recordings. Session musicians have been the focus of increased attention because many of them signed away their rights for little payment and control and without knowing the future possible uses of their works, particularly in digital sampling.

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