Reinventing Parks & Rec.

We need to protect city parks, not just rural wilderness.

“The few green havens that are public parks” is a phrase from the Supreme Court’s opinion in the Overton Park case.  The case involved a plan to build a highway through the middle of a major park in Memphis.  The Court put a heavy burden on the government to justify the project: “The few green havens […]

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This April Was the Cruelest Month (Or at Least the Hottest)

April 2016

Once again, a global temperature record is broken.

For the seventh month in a row, the average global temperature set a new monthly record going back at least 136 years.  Rutherford Hayes was President back then, the first electric street light was turned on, and Gladstone beat Disraeli.  We’ve had 24 Presidents since then.  In other words, that was a long time ago. As you […]

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California Fines SoCal Gas for Corroded Pipe Casings

The CPUC issued the fine after finding dozens of violations

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a citation for violations of a federal regulation on Southern California Gas Co. (SoCal Gas) totaling $2.25 million. The citation is based on forty-five violations of a federal regulation requiring that operators “take prompt remedial action to correct any deficiencies indicated by” external corrosion monitoring. According to the May […]

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Is Protecting Public Health Now a Partisan Issue?

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Congress's failure to deal with the Zika threat is a symptom of a bigger problem.

Congress seems to be unable to come up with funding for an effort to combat the zika virus.  Instead, congressional leaders told the government to use existing funding, so it has been forced to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from fighting ebola. (You remember that Congress was completely frenzied about the risk of ebola in […]

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Energy Justice and Sustainability

Cookstove  Use in Darfur

Over two billion people lack access to modern energy sources.

Energy justice is an unfamiliar concept to most people, but it addresses a crucial problem.  A new book by Lakshman Guruswamy addresses some of the key facts: About a third of the world’s population — between 2 and 2.5 billion people — primarily rely on household burning of wood, coal, or other materials like dung for […]

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Finding Least-Conflict Lands For Solar PV In California’s San Joaquin Valley — And Beyond

A PATH FORWARD May 2016 COVER

New CLEE report identifies 470,000 acres of ideal land for solar PV, with 4pm webex briefing with state officials

To achieve California and the post-Paris world’s climate goals, we’re going to need a whole lot more renewable energy. Given current market trends, much of it will come from solar photovoltaic (PV), which has gotten incredibly cheap in the last few years. But deploying these solar panels at utility scale will mean major changes to […]

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Appointing Guardians to Represent Future Generations

futuregenerations

Could an old property procedure be a model for climate-related litigation?

From time to time, there is talk about giving standing to future generations. Although this is an idea whose time may not have come in the U.S., it’s important to know that the law has for many, many years allowed appointment of lawyers to represent future individuals. Typically, this is a procedure that is used in […]

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Should California Recover More Energy From Municipal Solid Waste?

Wasting Opportunities Cover

New Berkeley Law report explores policy options, with KALW radio show discussion tonight at 7pm

Every year, Californians send about 30 million tons of trash to landfills. While the state’s residents do their part to reduce, reuse and recycle, that’s still a whole lot of garbage. It’s not only a land use issue, it’s a climate change issue: as landfill waste decays, it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Many […]

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The Misleading Argument Against Delegation

epa-logo

Agency rulemaking is limited in ways that are far different from legislative lawmaking.

It’s commonplace to say that agencies engage in lawmaking when they issue rules. Conservatives denounce this as a violation of the constitutional scheme; liberals celebrate it as an instrument of modern government.  Both sides agree that in reality, though not in legal form, Congress has delegated its lawmaking power to agencies.  But this is mistaking […]

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The Case for Farmed Fish

fish-farms

Aquaculture could help save wild fisheries from devastation.

It’s time to take a second look at fish farms. Environmentalists, not to mention foodies, tend to turn up their noses at fish farms.  It’s true that badly managed fish farms can be a source of water pollution and other environmental problems.  But sustainable fish farming would have major environmental benefits. To begin with, fish […]

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The Cap-and-Trade Auction: Still Not a Tax

Folks are talking again about whether California’s climate cap-and-trade auction is an unlawful tax, rather than a valid exercise of the state’s regulatory power to control pollution.  The news hook for the revival of this conversation is a recent order, discussed below, from the California Court of Appeal to the parties in the court case where […]

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