The Place of Pruitt’s Nightmares

How is California fighting climate change? Let me count the ways.

In his worst dreams, Scott Pruitt must find himself surrounded by solar panels and windmills, pursued by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Terminator himself, who has returned from the future to stop him before he can doom the planet.  When he awakes, he realizes to his relief that he’s safe in bed well outside the borders of […]

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Public Lands Watch: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Senate budget resolution being considered this week could open refuge to oil drilling

One of the longest lasting fights over the federal public lands has been whether to open up portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas development. The Refuge is one of the most important and largest protected areas in North America – it is unusual in that it protects the […]

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Disaster Resilience: Inching Forward, Sliding Back

We’re slowing improving disaster resilience. But there have been some notable setbacks.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes.  The same is true for disasters. We are slowly getting better at mitigating disaster risks.  These improvements don’t generally take the form of dramatic breakthroughs.  Rather they involve incremental progress on a number of fronts. For instance, homes that were constructed […]

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Will Renewable Energy Keep Getting Cheaper?

Technological and economic forces will continue to cut prices, regardless of Trump.

The Trump Administration is trying to save coal and stop the growth of renewables. Just this week Scott Pruitt issued a proposed repeal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Whether or not the repeal succeeds, Pruitt & Co. are  fighting against the economic tide.  If the price of renewables continues to fall, it will be harder […]

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How the filibuster shapes environmental law

Political structures affect how environmental law works

In case you haven’t noticed  recently, there’s been some national attention paid to how the US Senate operates.  In particular, a lot of attention has been focused on the filibuster, the requirement that for legislation (as opposed to judicial or executive nominees), 60 Senators must vote to close debate on the legislation for a vote […]

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Foreseeable Yet Lamentable: Pruitt’s Attack on Carbon Restrictions

As expected, the Trump Administration is trying to repeal Obama’s regulation.

Few things were more foreseeable than a repeal of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) by the Trump Administration. The Clean Power Plan had three strikes against it: (1) it addressed climate change; (2) it disfavored coal and promoted the use of renewable energy in electricity generation; and (3) it came from the Obama Administration. The […]

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California’s AB 313–A Solution in Search of a Problem

Governor Brown Should Veto Ill-Conceived Bill That Would Undermine State Water Board’s Enforcement Authority

Overall, the California Legislature had a most productive year when it comes to environmental issues.  It extended until 2030 the cap-and-trade program that’s a centerpiece of the state’s ongoing efforts to reduce California’s aggregate greenhouse gas emissions.  It passed the mis-named “gas tax” legislation, which not only provides funding to rebuild California’s once-proud but now […]

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Disaster Insurance

States (for wind) and the Feds (for water) provide insurance for hurricane victims. Here’s how.

Rebuilding takes money.  That makes insurance a crucial part of the equation. Insured losses are expected to be in the $70 billion range for Harvey and Irma combined.  This includes commercial insurance, but the payments for home owners will also be hefty. Those costs are generally covered by government-supported insurance markets. I’ve posted previously about […]

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Guest Blogger Michael Wara: The Trump Administration Moves to Guarantee Profits for Coal-fired and Nuclear Power Plants

Finally, something anti-regulation conservatives and pro-environment progressives can agree on: dislike of the Sec. Perry’s Resilience and Reliability NOPR

The gloves came off last week when it comes to the Trump Administration’s attempts to subsidize coal in U.S. electricity markets. On Friday, Energy Secretary Rick Perry formally requested that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission guarantee profits for both new and existing coal fired and nuclear power plants. While Sec. Perry doesn’t have the power […]

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How “Leakage” Will Undermine Trump’s War Against Renewables

Trying to stop renewables is like playing whack-a-mole.

When you try to reduce use of fossil fuels in one place, you can actually increase emissions elsewhere, because some of the same fuels may just move to another country.  In a sense, the carbon that used to be emitted in your country has “leaked” outside your borders.  This is a well-known headache for climate […]

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