Disaster Law and Hurricane Harvey

This is the first in what will be a series of posts about disaster law.

As I write, Hurricane Harvey continues to hammer Texas, with rains and flooding expected to last for days. Because the storm is so slow moving, it may dump up to several feet of rain in some locations. For the same reason, it’s future trajectory is unclear, so we can’t even be sure of what areas […]

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Why isn’t Interior publicly releasing its monuments review?

Secretary Zinke announced that his Department has submitted its review of national monuments to the President, but he’s not ready to let you and me see it

Today, the Department of Interior announced that it had sent to the White House its report of the review demanded by an April Executive Order of national monument designations under the Antiquities Act over the last 20 years. In an ordinary world, I would have expected that announcement to be accompanied by a link to […]

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Pushing Back Against Presidential Power

It’s time to rethink the amount of power presidents have claimed over regulatory policy.

If there was ever a time to think hard about presidential power, that time is now. That’s a very broad question, but the part most relevant for this blog is the President’s role in controlling government regulation. There is no question that presidents have and will continue to have a huge influence on regulatory policy. […]

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The ostrich administration

Ostriches actually don’t hide their heads in the sand, but the Trump administration sure wants to

It’s a myth (of course) that ostriches hide their heads in the sand when they’re afraid. Hiding one’s head is about the worst possible way to react to danger: it won’t make a threat go away, but it will make it awfully difficult to respond effectively. Ostriches are not that stupid. (They apparently do sometimes […]

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Coal’s Dismal Future

With or without Trump’s policies, those Appalachian coal jobs aren’t coming back.

Earlier in August, the governor of West Virginia asked Trump for a billion-dollar bailout of the Eastern coal industry. Under his plan, the federal government would pay power companies $15 per ton to use Appalachian coal. That’s a sign of the industry’s desperate economic plight. In 2016, global coal use had its biggest drop in […]

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Public Lands Watch: Repeal of Interior valuation rule

Interior Department repeals Obama Administration reforms to the prices paid by energy companies for public oil, gas, and coal resources

The Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONNR) of the Interior Department published a final rule in the Federal Register earlier this week on August 7th, 2017, that the Department is repealing the “Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Reform Final Rule.” The 2017 Valuation Rule was published on July 1, […]

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Continuing Efforts to Put a Price on Carbon

New York regulators and transmission operators consider a carbon adder for wholesale electricity.

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) operates the state’s electric grid and conducts wholesale power markets. The New York Department of Public Service regulates the state’s investor-owned electricity providers. Together, they have issued a report concluding that the state, ratepayers, and the environment would benefit from placing a charge on wholesale electric power to […]

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200 Days & Counting: Environmental Threat Assessment

The Trump Administration presents a barrage of threats to the environment. Which threats are worst?

This is the last in our series on the state of play concerning U.S. environmental protection at this point of the Trump Administration. We can classify threats along three dimensions: the likelihood of harm, the seriousness and irreversibility of the harm, and the irreversibility of the institutional or legal change. Here’s an assessment of our […]

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200 Days & Counting: State and Local Action

States and cities can do a lot to push back against Trump, but they do face some legal challenges.

In the Trump era, what avenues are open to state and local governments to use self-help to protect the environment? I’ve posted before about the opportunities for state and local governments taking action to protect their own environments. (here and here). Perhaps the most important recent development is the extension of California’s cap-and-trade program to […]

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200 Days & Counting: Executive Orders

Trump loves issuing executive orders. Mostly, they don’t mean much.

Trump has issued a flood of executive orders. Many of them are “full of sound and fury. . . signifying nothing.” They actually concern actions that he doesn’t have the power to take himself. Instead, they relate to responsibilities that Congress gave to an administrative agency like EPA, not the White House.  There are a […]

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