Air Quality

Energy Justice and Sustainability

Cookstove  Use in Darfur

Over two billion people lack access to modern energy sources.

Energy justice is an unfamiliar concept to most people, but it addresses a crucial problem.  A new book by Lakshman Guruswamy addresses some of the key facts: About a third of the world’s population — between 2 and 2.5 billion people — primarily rely on household burning of wood, coal, or other materials like dung for […]

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UCLA Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Electric Grid Experts in “Clean Power Plan” Case

U.S. Dep't of Energy

Supporting EPA’s regulation of power-sector carbon emissions

Today, several of us at UCLA Law School’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment—me, Cara Horowitz, Sarah Duffy, & Ann Carlson—together with Professor William Boyd of University of Colorado Law School, filed an amici curiae brief on behalf of five electric grid experts in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan” […]

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Creating An Exit Strategy for Our Use of Natural Gas

Natural Gas as a Bridge Fuel

To meet long-term greenhouse gas reduction goals, all fossil fuels have to go, even natural gas.

Coal is the climate’s Public Enemy #1. The use of natural gas has helped to ensure that the coal problem has not become even worse. Without natural gas, we would use more coal for space heating and for many more industrial processes than is currently the practice. Without natural gas, our reliance on coal for […]

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The Supreme Court Vacancy and EPA’s Mercury Rule

coal_fired_power_plant

The rule limiting toxic pollution from coal plants now has a rosier future.

Among the many ramifications of the current vacancy on the bench, its effect on the EPA’s mercury rule seems to have escaped much attention.  It may already have helped EPA defeat an effort by states to get a stay from Chief Justice Roberts.  But it has much broader significance. Some background: The Supreme Court, in a […]

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Another California Regulatory Agency in Crisis: Southern California’s Air Quality Management District Fires Longtime Executive Officer

Barry Wallerstein's Ouster from SCAQMD Signals Tilt Away from Protection of Public Health

In a move that shocked the environmental advocacy community and low-income communities of color that suffer most from the impacts of poor air quality in Los Angeles, the governing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District fired its longtime executive officer Barry Wallerstein today, voting 7-6 in closed session to remove him from […]

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Roberts Denies Mercury Stay

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A state effort to suspend implementation fails.

Chief Justice Roberts turned down a request this morning to stay EPA’s mercury rule.  Until the past month, this would have been completely un-noteworthy, because such a stay would have been unprecedented.  But the Court’s startling recent stay of the EPA Clean Power Plan suggested that the door might have been wide open.  Fortunately, that […]

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Lessons from Aliso Canyon, Part I

Equipment and machinery is seen on a ridge above a natural gas well known as SS25 in Southern California Gas Company's vast Aliso Canyon facility. Pressure on the company has been mounting as residents of nearby Porter Ranch deal with the odor resulting from a leak at the well which was discovered on October 23. 12/14/2015

Regulation of the Oil and Gas Sector

Since October 23, 2015, a leak in a natural gas well has been releasing methane gas near the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles. Although methane is invisible and odorless, gas companies add odorants to alert people to leaks, and it is these additives, usually mercaptans, that experts believe are causing the physical effects suffered by […]

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Want an Economy-Wide Cap on U.S. Climate Emissions? Consider This Corner of the Clean Air Act

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New report on Section 115 of the Act suggests an interesting post-Paris approach

A largely-untapped provision of the Clean Air Act authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop and implement an economy-wide, market-based program to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions and achieve the Obama Administration’s Paris Agreement pledge, according to a report released today by several coordinating law school centers, including the Emmett Institute at UCLA.  See […]

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Top 10 Environmental News Stories of 2015

Paris fireworks

More goods than bad, but some of each.

Here are the top ten stories, at least as I see them: A Warming World. 2015 will almost certainly be the warmest year on record. This is one more confirmation of recent studies indicating that either there was no climate hiatus or it has ended. Saving Wetlands and Water Bodies. EPA and the Army Corp […]

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Guest Blogger Kate Konschnik: The Debate about EPA’s Authority to Regulate Carbon Pollution is a Lot of Things – But Not These Things

Kate Konschnik is the Director of Harvard Law School’s Environmental Policy Initiative. The views expressed in this blog post are her own.

Clean Power Plan challengers have asked the D.C. Circuit to stay the rule pending litigation.  Today, industry and environmental groups supporting EPA will file their oppositions to this request.  The stay motions included the charge that EPA may not use Section 111(d) at all to curb pollution from existing power plants.  Dan Farber and I […]

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