Ethan Elkind‘s new book, Railtown, tells the story of LA’s rail system. It’s a fascinating account of LA’s move away from an almost religious attachment to the automobile. The LA story has some important implications for other cities. It took several decades to get the current rail system built. There were many detours and delays […]
Big Stakes and Big Players in This Year's Biggest Environmental Case
On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the biggest environmental law case of its current Term, Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA. Legal Planet colleagues Ann Carlson and Dan Farber have already posted their thoughts on the case. Let me add mine. Utility Air Regulatory Group involves EPA’s authority to regulate stationary […]
Steinberg's surprising proposal for California climate regulation
Climate regulation drama! Sen. Darrell Steinberg is floating a proposal that would change California law to take transportation fuels out of the cap-and-trade program, and to enact a new fuels tax instead. As background, distributors of those fuels are slated to join the cap-and-trade program in 2015, meaning they would need allowances to cover their […]
Court likely to rule in favor of EPA
Next Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Utility Air Regulatory Group (UTAG) v. EPA. I’ve previously described what is at stake in the case here and here and, in the interest of full disclosure, helped author a brief in support of EPA’s position. The oral arguments might begin to reveal how […]
OIRA is staffed by under-trained, over-worked short-termers.
OIRA is an agency whose functions are as mysterious to most people as its name. It doesn’t help much to learn that OIRA stands for Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The phrase “regulatory czars” is more informative. OIRA runs the federal government’s regulatory process. Although agencies like EPA are required to have a lot […]
The language of the statute relating to next week's argument is clear -- but there's a fly in the ointment.
The Supreme Court will be hearing argument next week in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA. It’s basically a very simple statutory interpretation case, except for two things. First, it’s about climate change, and nothing about climate change ever seems to be simple and straightforward. Second, although the language of the statute, prior Supreme Court precedent, […]
Supporting renewable energy in Wyoming makes political sense
A company wants to build a lot of wind power in Wyoming. A lot. 3,000 megawatts. The size of three nuclear reactors. And ship all of the power to California. None of it will be used in Wyoming, where electricity primarily comes from coal, and where the state has been strongly resistant to various policies […]
Smart growth alternatives would help end the vicious cycle of highway expansion and housing sprawl in San Diego region
Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) filed an amicus brief last week in a California Court of Appeal case with far-reaching implications for development, transportation, and California’s climate goals. The case, Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), challenges the State’s first Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy […]
A new study shows how to strengthen marine preserves.
The Bush Administration is not remembered fondly by environmentalists, but one important exception came at the beginning of 2009. That’s when President Bush created an additional 195,000 square miles of marine reserves, on top of the 140,000 miles he had created previously. Such marine reserves are not unique to the United States, of course. Yet, […]
The link between indoor grow operations and energy data
Now that the two states that just legalized marijuana sent their football teams to the Superbowl this year, it’s clear that the stars are aligning for legalizing marijuana nationwide. Sure, legalizing marijuana makes fiscal, moral, and practical sense, but what about the benefits to the environment? Well, it turns out that even the fight against […]