Against a backdrop of complex Sacramento politics on the future of California’s climate regulation, the state’s Air Resources Board last week issued an initial draft of regulations that would, among other things, extend the cap-and-trade program beyond 2020. Does ARB currently have the authority to do that? Yes, probably. But it’s complicated enough to leave room for disagreement. Here’s one version […]
New survey probes the innovation deficit
Climate change and population growth are rapidly increasing stress on our water systems, challenging their ability to deliver critical services. To respond to this, we need more than simple course adjustments in how we manage our water – we need entirely new paradigms that will improve resource efficiency and support more sustainable urban water systems. Considerable […]
$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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Taking environmental law education outdoors
Lawyers spend their lives among tree slices (using 20,000-100,00 sheets of paper per attorney annually), but distressingly little time among whole trees. This became evident when I hauled a class of bemused clinical environmental law students up a wooded slope near the UC Berkeley campus this spring for a lesson spanning ecology, agency jurisdiction, and […]
New study suggests that the economic impact of cutting carbon is modest.
What is the economic impact of California’s climate change regulations? Will they reduce actual emissions or just shift them out-of-state? A new study by Resources for the Future addresses an important part of the puzzle. Reasearchers at RFF modeled the effect of compliance costs of $10/ton or $22/ton of CO2 on highly energy-intensive industries such as […]
The CPUC issued the fine after finding dozens of violations
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a citation for violations of a federal regulation on Southern California Gas Co. (SoCal Gas) totaling $2.25 million. The citation is based on forty-five violations of a federal regulation requiring that operators “take prompt remedial action to correct any deficiencies indicated by” external corrosion monitoring. According to the May […]
New CLEE report identifies 470,000 acres of ideal land for solar PV, with 4pm webex briefing with state officials
To achieve California and the post-Paris world’s climate goals, we’re going to need a whole lot more renewable energy. Given current market trends, much of it will come from solar photovoltaic (PV), which has gotten incredibly cheap in the last few years. But deploying these solar panels at utility scale will mean major changes to […]