Category Archives: Environmental Law

Full Text of the TPP Now Available

One month after concluding more than seven years of negotiations on the most significant trade agreement in a quarter century, the United States and the 11 other nations that comprise the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have released the full text of the agreement to the public.  The TPP, whose members account for approximately 40 percent of world economic output, will lower barriers to trade on a wide array products ranging from to textiles to automobiles to financial services.  Under the “fast-track” trade promotion authority legislation enacted last summer, the release of the full text triggers a 90-day review period that must be completed before President Obama can sign the agreement.  Once he does so, both houses of Congress will have an opportunity to hold an up or down vote on the deal without offering any amendments or subjecting it to a filibuster.

Kerry at TTP Meeting in Bali

TPP negotiators in Bali, Indonesia.  State Dept. photo by William Ng via Wikimedia Commons

The Obama administration insists that the TPP is the most progressive trade deal ever negotiated by the United States, with unprecedented mechanisms to enforce labor standards and environmental regulations.  Critics, including the AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club, contend that these protections do not go far enough.  Others have raised concerns about the TPP’s intellectual property provisions, especially its highly restrictive approach to copyright law, as well as its potential impact on the cost of prescription medications in developing nations.  Still others have questioned the constitutionality of the investor-state dispute settlement provision that would allow foreign investors to bypass the U.S. court system and have claims against the U.S. government resolved through arbitration.

Due to the closed-door nature of the negotiations, these widely aired criticisms are based largely on informed speculation stemming from leaked drafts of the agreement.  Now that the final text has been made public, both supporters and critics of the TPP will spend the next few months scrutinizing its more than 6,000 pages to determine whether the agreement meets or falls short of their expectations.

To keep the GULC community abreast of the latest news and developments concerning the TPP and other trade-related topics, the Law Library subscribes to several specialized databases, including BNA’s International Trade Reporter and International Trade Daily, as well as World Trade Online.  For more information about trade agreements and foreign trade regulation, consult the library’s online Research Guide to International Trade Law.

New publications added to CQ Electronic Library

The CQ Electronic Library, a product of Congressional Quarterly publishing, has added three new resources to their already rich collection.

  • World at Risk is a sourcebook of global issues which features indepth reports on topics such as human trafficking, international criminal justice and climate change. The reports can be searched by keyword or browsed in full-text.
  • CQ Press State Stats is a data resource of state statistics on topcis such as crime rates, employment and environmental health. Researchers can browse by state or topic and search by keyword.
  • The Supreme Court Justices: Illustrated Biography 1789-2012 includes detailed biographical information on all justices of the U.S. Supreme Court since its inception.

Symposium on 1/30: Prof. Vicki Arroyo on Big Data and Climate Change


On January 30, the Georgetown Law Library’s 125th anniversary symposium, Big Data and Big Challenges for Law and Legal Information, will explore a range of topics related to the applications of big data in legal scholarship, practice, and policy.

Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center, is among numerous panelists from academia, government service, and private practice set to speak at the conference. Professor Arroyo will present on how the Georgetown Law-based organization is using data and data platforms to strategically position itself as a “go to” resource for policy makers, consumers, and reporters on climate, energy, and transportation issues.

Professor Arroyo recently gained national attention with a high-profile TED Talk (watch below) on preparing for climate change in June 2012, which continues to draw views and spread ideas online. She teaches experiential environmental law courses to both law and public policy students at Georgetown, and has previously served as a vice president at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and in positions with several federal and state government organizations dealing with the research, policy, and economics of environmental issues.

Professor Arroyo will participate in the third panel of the symposium, Big Data Applications in Scholarship and Policy II, from 1:00 to 2:15 in Gewirz 12th floor. To find out more about the day’s events and watch the symposium live online, visit the symposium homepage.

Law at the Movies: Erin Brockovich – Thu. Apr. 19

The Friends of the Georgetown Law Library invite you to the latest screening in the Law at the Movies film series:Body Heat poster

Movie: Erin Brockovich (2000)
Date:  Thursday, April 19, 2012
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Hart Auditorium

Based upon a true story, this award-winning film focuses on a legal assistant and her small law firm who uncover and prosecute a class action suit over the environmental poisoning of a small California town. Julia Roberts won an Oscar for her portrayal of Brockovich, who sacrificed her time and limited resources in passionate pursuit of justice.

After the program, please stay for a discussion on the ethical, legal, and cultural aspects of the film. The panel will include:

  • Michael Frisch, Adjunct Professor of Law & Ethics Counsel
  • Kumar Jayasuriya, Adjunct Professor of Law & Associate Law Librarian
  • Andrew Christensen, Reference Librarian
  • Jason Zarin, Reference Librarian

To learn more about the Friends of the Georgetown Law Library program and the benefits of becoming a member, please visit

Gulf Oil Spill Information Center

For information on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, visit the University of South Florida Libraries’ Gulf Oil Spill Information Center (GOSIC).  GOSIC is a useful guide to online information about the oil spill and includes links to reports on the environmental, health, and economic impact of the oil spill, news, BP company information, and more.

To find additional resources, don’t forget about the topical tabs in Westlaw and LexisNexis that contain links to databases related to the oil spill.

Social Issues: Essential Primary Sources

The library now subscribes to the electronic version of Social Issues: Essential Primary Sources, a 10-volume collection of primary source documents on the prominent social issues facing citizens in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The volumes cover the following topics:

  • Crime and Punishment
  • Environmental Issues
  • Family in Society
  • Gender Issues and Sexuality
  • Government, Politics, and Protest
  • Human and Civil Rights
  • Immigration and Multiculturalism
  • Medicine, Health, and Bioethics
  • Social Policy
  • Terrorism

The primary sources featured include legislation, speeches, memoirs, newpaper articles, photos and more. Researchers can search a keyword or phrase throughout the entire collection or in one specific volume and the results can be limited by document type, so users can restrict their search to legislation, if desired. A simple search for 9/11 retrieved documents from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as well as the National Commission on Terrorism Attacks Upon the United States.