California Coastal Commissioners Fire Executive Director Charles Lester

Personnel Dispute is Commission's Biggest Political Controversy in Over a Decade

Following months of public controversy and a marathon 10 1/2 hour hearing Wednesday in Morro Bay, a closely-divided California Coastal Commission voted to fire its Executive Director, Charles Lester.  The Commission vote to remove Lester was 7-5. Lester, who as Executive Director has led the Commission staff for the past 4 1/2 years, is the […]

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Initial Thoughts on the Supreme Court Staying the Clean Power Plan

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Short Answer: There's Nothing Good to Say About it

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 half-page order, dealt the Obama Administration a big blow today by preventing its Clean Power Plan from going into effect until the case can be heard on its merits.  We know from the order that the Court split in the usual way, with the four more liberal members of the Court […]

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The Puzzling Persistence of Takings Litigation

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Litigation rates dropped by only a little even when the real estate market collapsed.

Takings litigation is a bit of a puzzle. You would expect the amount of litigation to go up and down depending on the situation in the real estate market.  If there’s a lot of new construction, there are more opportunities for conflict between developers and regulators.  And if prices are high, so are the economic stakes, […]

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Public Prosecutors Zero In on SoCal Gas, Porter Ranch Disaster

Aliso Canyon

California Attorney General, L.A. District Attorney File New Enforcement Prosecutions

The massive leak from Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon natural gas field in northwestern Los Angeles County was discovered on October 23rd of last year and, more than three months later, shows no sign of abating.  Public prosecutors have pretty clearly lost patience with SoCal gas and its ineffective remediation efforts to date.  This […]

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Lessons from Aliso Canyon, Part I

Equipment and machinery is seen on a ridge above a natural gas well known as SS25 in Southern California Gas Company's vast Aliso Canyon facility. Pressure on the company has been mounting as residents of nearby Porter Ranch deal with the odor resulting from a leak at the well which was discovered on October 23. 12/14/2015

Regulation of the Oil and Gas Sector

Since October 23, 2015, a leak in a natural gas well has been releasing methane gas near the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles. Although methane is invisible and odorless, gas companies add odorants to alert people to leaks, and it is these additives, usually mercaptans, that experts believe are causing the physical effects suffered by […]

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An Inconvenient Logic

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Justice Scalia's argument in the FERC case contradicts his attack on Obamacare.

They say consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. If so, Justice Scalia is in good shape. His argument last week in the FERC argument was totally inconsistent with his argument against the constitutionality of Obamacare. Both cases involve change in the incentives to enter a market in the first place. In the Obamacare case, […]

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The Future of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

Diablo Canyon

A group of scientists, philanthropists, and self-identified conservationists weighs in.

The role that nuclear power could or should play in helping to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions is worthy of serious debate, but the latest nuclear-related front-page story in the San Francisco Chronicle is a head-scratcher. Above the fold, the headline reads “Nuclear plant’s surprise backers,” followed by the following subheading: “Environmentalists push for Diablo Canyon […]

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EPA Wins the First Round in Clean Power Plan Litigation

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…But this is just the beginning—and the Supreme Court will have a say

As we reported last week, on January 21st, a D.C. Circuit panel denied Clean Power Plan opponents’ request for a “stay”—or temporary suspension—of the rule pending judicial review. Read the court order here. We have discussed the Clean Power Plan litigation at length on Legal Planet. As a quick refresher, the Clean Power Plan is […]

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Big Win For Clean Technology In The Supreme Court Today

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Court validates federal rule to encourage more efficient electricy usage

The future of a clean electricity grid will require more decentralization based on clean technology, like solar and energy storage. Large industrial customers are investing in these technologies and also signing up to moderate their electricity demand in response to larger grid needs (i.e. reducing usage when electricity becomes expensive and dirty to produce). Smaller […]

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The Flint Lead Crisis

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Three Interesting Notes About Lead Regulation and Exposure

At this point, you would need to be a hermit to have missed the news coverage of elevated levels of lead in the drinking water in Flint, MI. (Although even that might not be a valid excuse given an ancient, anonymous Roman hermit described lead poisoning). The short version is: in April 2014 a cash […]

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