Notes and Case Comments

Green Guide Gaps: Expanding FTC Authority Over Low-Carbon Marketing Claims

By: Perrin Cooke Too often, environmentalists view American consumerism and corporate advertising as damaging forces necessarily at odds with conservation and sustainability. With this in mind, many environmental activists have emphasized the basic rejection of consumerism as an essential step towards sustainable consumption. Importantly, however, this over-broad dichotomy often ignores the potentially powerful role that consumer culture can play in achieving environmental objectives. In fact, the early environmental movement also heralded an important shift in American consumerism. Just as leaders in Washington began to recognize growing public interest in the environment, companies across the nation sought to capitalize on consumers’ newfound environmentalism. Since that time, environmental marketing has continued to draw on consumers’ interest in sustainability and is today a familiar element of the American marketplace. Unfortunately, vindicating concerns expressed by many environmental commentators, many companies have found it cheaper to exaggerate the environmental benefits of their products or obfuscate […]

Full-Impact Regulations and the Dormant Commerce Clause

By: Will Sears Effective environmental regulation of products requires knowledge of their entire lifespan. For example, a gallon of corn ethanol produces greenhouse gas emissions when burned, but this does not reflect its full environmental impact. The energy and water used to produce the fuel, side effects of production such as land use changes, and emissions associated with its transportation from producers to distributors all add to the environmental impact of the fuel. This holistic method of assessing environmental impacts is known as “lifecycle analysis” or “lifecycle assessment.” The scientific community recognizes lifecycle analysis as providing the touchstone for effective environmental regulations. Congress has endorsed this methodology, for example, requiring that federal agencies incorporate lifecycle analysis into contracts to purchase alternative or synthetic fuels. Businesses often employ lifecycle analysis when comparing the environmental impacts of different potential production processes. This Note argues that courts should evaluate full-impact regulations under tier-two […]