'Green' Laws Ranked in 2009 Top Legal Trends

The experts at FindLaw.com, the most-visited legal website, recently released their Top Ten Legal Predictions for 2009. A forecast of legal hot topics, “green” laws made the cut. In the company of such issues as urban living, employee rights and debt and collection, green laws is predicted to be a top legal issue in this new year, following an election year plagued by high fuel costs, climate change debate and demand for energy efficiency.

With the new administration calling for the creation of more green collar jobs, the need for legislation to support the creation and growth of green industry, such as alternative energy and green building, will likely increase significantly.

California's Solar Shade Control Act grants certain protections to owners of solar collectors.

California's Solar Shade Control Act grants certain protections to owners of solar collectors. - www.globalgiants.com

2009 is likely to see an increase in electronic recycling laws as well, coinciding with this February’s digital television transition. Many states passed e-cycling legislation in 2008, planned to take effect this year. Some examples include:

  • Connecticut law requires manufacturers of TV’s, laptops, desktops and computer monitors to pay the costs of processing for their products delivered to recyclers, effective January 1, 2009.
  • Missouri passed legislation in 2008 requiring all computer electronic equipment manufacturers to develop and implement recycling plans after July 1, 2009.
  • New York City passed legislation in April 2008 requiring manufacturers to submit plans for collection, transportation and recycling of computers, monitors, printers and televisions. These recycling programs must be implemented by July 1, 2009.

Whether or not we’ll see a Roosevelt-like public works program in environmental technology implemented by the new administration, we will likely see a big shift in how the federal government addresses the need for “green” technology development. This, according to FindLaw, will lead to federal, state and local government playing key roles in implementing green laws to address the need.

The Top Ten Legal Predictions was formulated by legal experts based on historical and 2008 top search items on FindLaw.com.

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  1. Does this mean my local (Southern California) city will stop harassing me and threatening to fine me thousands of dollars or put me in jail if I don’t mow the grass? We have had some heated arguments regarding my lawn. I tend to allow it to grow wild and it drives the neighbors crazy. When I went to a hearing with the city code enforcement, they complained that I had too many weeds. I asked them to tell me which plants were allowed and which were weeds and they said they did not know. So I told them I would contact the local botanic gardens to find out what is native vegetation and what is an invasive weed. Haven’t heard a word since.

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