Red, white, blue and smog

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Fireworks leave behind a lot of pollutants

As a kid on the South Side of Chicago, summertime meant seeing White Sox games at Comiskey Park (technically now called U.S. Cellular Park, but I will never call it that). If the Sox won, there were fireworks. And on Saturdays, there were fireworks even if they didn’t. I have a distinct memory of asking […]

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Mr. Jefferson’s Bridge

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Anticipating modern environmental views, Jefferson viewed nature as a public trust.

This being the Fourth of July, it seems appropriate to talk about Jefferson’s relationship with nature. A revealing example involves some land he owned between Lexington and Roanoke.  Two years before the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land  from the King.  He bought the land because it contained a remarkable feature — a 200-foot […]

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Citations for environmental and energy law professors

The most-cited environmental and energy law professors in 2010-2014

Brian Leiter at Chicago is doing one of his occasional series identifying the top cited legal scholars in a range of substantive areas.  One list he has done covers administrative and environmental scholars – however, his list includes a number of top administrative law scholars who do not focus on environmental and energy law.  I […]

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Major Settlement Announced in Volkswagen Emissions Fraud Litigation

$14.7 Billion Civil Enforcement Settlement is a Victory for Consumers, Environmental Prosecutors

Federal and state environmental prosecutors today announced a proposed settlement of government civil enforcement litigation they’ve pursued against Volkswagen in response to the automaker’s acknowledged efforts to cheat federal and state auto emission standards and defraud consumers.  The complex settlement, lodged with the assigned U.S. district court judge in San Francisco, requires Volkswagen to pay […]

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Barry Goldwater, Environmentalist

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Goldwater was passionate about saving the planet.

Barry Goldwater’s views on the environment didn’t have much in common with those of the present-day conservatives who are his ideological descendants.  His 1970 book, The Conscience of a Majority, has half a chapter about the environment.  “Our job,” he said, “is to prevent that lush orb known as the Earth . . . from […]

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The Complexities of Implementing Brexit

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Scores of regulatory arrangements will need to be negotiated. Lots of work for lawyers!

The larger implications of the Brexit vote are understandably getting a lot of attention.  It’s clear, for instance, that the UK will need to negotiate some kind of trade agreement with the EU, and that it will probably want to negotiate one with the U.S. But there are myriads of  issues that need to be worked out, […]

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Oak woodlands and wine

A recent controversy highlights the impacts of wine industry on native California oak woodlands

A popular San Luis Obispo county winemarker is suffering a backlash in restaurants after press reports that the winemaker bulldozed oak woodlands to expand production—possibly in violation of a county land grading ordinance. The dispute (as this Wine Enthusiast piece makes clear) is not a novel one.  There is a long history of winemakers in […]

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The National Park Service and Climate Change

Does the agency have the legal tools to respond to climate change?

This past weekend President Obama visited Yosemite, helping the National Park Service celebrate its 100th anniversary.  As part of his remarks, the President noted that climate change is already causing major impacts on the resources in National Parks around the country—for instance, causing the disappearance of the glaciers in Yosemite and increasing fire risks in […]

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The Clean Power Plan — Low Cost, High Benefits

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Despite claims by industry and conservatives, the CPP's costs are completely manageable.

The Supreme Court’s stay of EPA’s Clean Power Plan was a surprise, and a questionable action on many grounds.  It now seems clear that the stay — along with much of the political fuss about the CPP — was based on very questionable economics. In terms of the stay, a team of economists at Resources […]

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The End-game for Diablo Canyon?

Diablo Canyon

A landmark agreement supports the closure of a controversial nuclear plant.

Today’s announcement that the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) has reached an agreement with several environmental and labor groups to plan for the eventual shutdown of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant is a stunning development, when viewed in an historical perspective. PG&E has agreed not to seek new licenses for its power plant that […]

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