Fracking and the Environment

A new RFF report sheds light on the critical issues.

There are a lot of unanswered questions about natural gas and fracking.  A recent report by Resources for the Future sheds light on some of the answers.  RFF is unusual among Washington think tanks — an honest broker that uses expertise to try to answer hard questions.  The report reaches three important conclusions. The first […]

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IPCC Report Highlights Need for Rapid Shift to Renewable Energy; Delay Will be Costly

Chicago City Hall Green Roof

Meanwhile, EPA Considers Methane Regulations for Oil and Gas Production

According to the newest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mitigation report, only a few decades remain to halt the worst effects of global climate change. To meet climate goals, globally we will need to reduce emissions to 40 to 70 percent below today’s levels, by mid-century. Delaying action will be enormously costly from an […]

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A Victory for Clean Air

coal pollution image

The D.C. Circuit has upheld EPA's regulation of mercury from coal-fired plants. We can all breath easier as a result.

EPA won an important victory in the D.C. Circuit today.  In White Stallion Energy Center v. EPA, the court upheld EPA’s new regulations limiting mercury from coal-fired power plants.  The main issue in the case was about a threshold requirement for regulation.  Before setting limits on mercury from coal plants, EPA had to consider studies of […]

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The Missing of Summer Lawns*

lawn photo

It's Time to End the Wasteful Practice of Irrigating California's Residential Landscaping With Fresh Water

What a difference a drought makes. Once upon a time, a fundamental attribute of home ownership in California and the American West was an expansive, verdant lawn surrounding private homes, townhouses and apartment complexes. Indeed, some communities have historically imposed permit conditions or adopted local ordinances mandating the inclusion and maintenance of lush, healthy lawns […]

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Does Keystone Matter?

Project XL

A recent analysis suggests that the pipeline could result in production of a billion extra barrels between now and 2030.

Many people who have studied the issue tell me that the Keystone XL issue is mostly symbolic, because the Alberta oil sands are going to be used one way or another.  But I’m having some second thoughts because of arguments made (here) by Berkeley economist Max Aufhammer. He’s a pretty hard-headed analyst, not given to […]

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A New Low for Fictional News Network

Guess which cable news network misleads on climate?

Well, what a shock: To gauge how accurately [cable news] networks inform their audiences about climate change, the Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed the networks’ climate science coverage in 2013 and found that each network treated climate science very differently. Fox News was the least accurate; 72 percent of its 2013 climate science-related segments contained […]

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Statutes of Limitations, Statutes of Repose, and Latent Harms

A warning sign posted outside the CTS property.  Credit: Jeremy P. Jacobs.

Can plaintiffs harmed years after exposure to toxic substances seek relief?

You may not have heard of CTS Corp. v. Waldburger.  At a glance, it is relatively unremarkable, a private nuisance suit between landowners and a retired manufacturing facility.  Much of the work on the plaintiffs’ side has been handled by students.  In a sense, the case hasn’t even begun yet—a judge found that the plaintiffs waited […]

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Going, Going, Gone

sixth extinction

Despite it’s depressing subject, Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction is a great read.  She travels around the world, from a “hotel” for endangered frogs in Panama to an outdoor biodiversity experiment in the Peruvian rainforest to an endangered rhino’s rectal exam in Cincinnati.  Yet, there’s no denying that the topic is a downer.  The title implies that we […]

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Fukushima + 3

fukushima

Three years after the meltdowns, the cleanup is still underway and the safety of the nuclear fleet is still unclear.

It’s been a little more than three years since the Fukushima accident began.  Where do things stand? At Fukushima itself, the reactor owner is still struggling to get conditions under control.  For instance, Asahi Shimbun reported last month, Treatment of radioactive water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has been suspended indefinitely after a […]

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Will Regulatory Takings Always Be A Mess?

supreme court

Takings law is a legal quagmire. It's likely to stay that way.

I recently reread an article that my late colleague Joe Sax published exactly fifty years ago.  It’s a striking piece of scholarship, all the more impressive so early in his career. But one particular statement made a particular impression on me: “Nevertheless, the predominant characteristic of this area of law is a welter of confusing […]

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