Energy

Guess Who Benefits From Regulating Power Plants

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The answer will surprise you.

What parts of the country benefit most from the series of new EPA rules addressing pollution from coal-fired power plants?  The answer is not what you think. EPA does a thorough cost-benefit analysis of its regulations but the costs and benefits are aggregated at the national level. In a new paper, David Spence and David Adelman from the University […]

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U.C. Campuses Top Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools” Rankings

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U.C. Irvine, U.C. Davis Rank 1 & 2 as Nation's Greenest University Campuses

The Sierra Club has released its latest rankings of the “greenest” colleges and universities in the United States, titled “Cool Schools 2015.”  The University of California fares extremely well in that survey, with four of its campuses placing in the top 10 of the Sierra Club poll.  U.C. Irvine nabbed the top spot in the […]

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Politics v. Legality and the Clean Power Plan

wind farm

EPA's Final Plan Changes State Targets, With New Winners and Losers

When the President released the final version of the Clean Power Plan last week, it contained a number of big alterations to the draft plan.  One of the most significant changes  was the way each state’s greenhouse gas emissions target was calculated.  The bottom line is that — generally — states more heavily reliant on […]

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What the Market Is Telling Us About Coal

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Dump your coal stocks while you still can!

The market’s message is simple: coal’s day is ending. Three major coal companies (Alpha Natural Resources, Walter Energy, and Patriot Coal) have gone into bankruptcy. The two largest publicly traded  companies (Peabody and Arch) are now trading for a dollar a share, down from $16 and $33 within the past year. They, too, may well […]

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California Governor Jerry Brown: Environmental Saint or Sinner?

Gov. Brown in Rome, July 2015, Associated Press

Brown's National & International Environmental Reputation Disputed by Some California Environmentalists

California Governor Jerry Brown has had a most eventful 2015, especially when it comes to environmental policy.  He started the year fresh from an overwhelming election victory last November, earning him an unprecedented fourth term as California’s chief executive.  Brown began 2015 by declaring a state drought emergency and becoming California’s “educator-in-chief,” repeatedly warning state […]

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Guess What? The Clean Power Plan Isn’t Going to Destroy America After All.

Let's Destroy the Environment!

Compliance isn't turning out to be that much of a burden.

Here’s the headline from the Washington Post: “Outrage over EPA emissions regulations fades as states find fixes.”  Senator Mitch McConnell has been telling all and sundry the plan will be a disaster and states should refuse to have anything to do with it.  But even in his home state, according to the Post, the Clean […]

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Departure of E.T. (the ExtraTerritorial)

ET says goodbye

The Tenth Circuit dispels extraterritoriality attacks on state renewable energy regulations.

Extraterritoriality is a weird, one might almost say alien, incursion into judicial doctrine under the dormant commerce clause doctrine.  The DCC, as it’s familiarly called, prohibits discrimination against interstate commerce and undue burdens on that commerce. But industry has been attacking a wide range of state renewable energy laws under a doctrine relating to extraterritoriality. […]

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Injecting Earthquakes

The scientific evidence shows a clear link between injection wells and earthquakes. The legal consequences are less clear.

A recent study of injection wells and earthquakes got a lot of press, but the reports missed an important nuance.  The study, published in the June 19 edition of Science, found a definite connection between well injection and earthquakes.  But there was an interesting wrinkle: “The scientists found that disposal wells were 1.5 times more likely to […]

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Interpreting Michigan v. EPA

Four Corners Coal Plant

The opinion seems likely to have very limited repercussions.

In bringing the mercury rule to the Supreme Court, industry was hoping for a ruling that EPA had to balance costs and benefits (and could only include benefits relating to mercury).  What they got was far less than that.  Here, I’d like to address some key questions about the opinion. 1.  When does EPA have […]

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Mercury Rising: The Court Reverses EPA’s Regulation

supreme-court

This was not a great decision for EPA, but it could have been much worse.

The Court has just now decided the Michigan case, involving EPA’s mercury regulation.  As Ann Carlson explained in an earlier post, a lot was at stake in the case.  The Court ruled 5-4 against EPA.  This passage seems to be key to the Court’s reasoning: One would not say that it is even rational, never mind […]

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