That sea level rise driven by global warming will soon make low-lying island nations uninhabitable has been widely publicized and readily accepted. In 2009, then-President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives held a cabinet meeting underwater in full scuba gear to raise global awareness of the threat of climate change. (The underwater meeting later became the […]
Court holds that federal law doesn't preempt state statutes of repose
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger. In this case, which my colleague Jesse Lueders described and analyzed in detail here and here, the Court had to decide whether state statutes of repose can bar tort lawsuits by people harmed by latent injuries from toxic contamination, by imposing […]
California Improves an Already-Powerful Environmental Justice Analytical Tool
A year ago, I wrote about an important environmental justice initiative pioneered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and its subsidiary entity, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. That 2013 initiative, titled CalEnviroScreen, divided up the State of California by zip code, applied 11 environmental health and pollution factors, assessed each of the state’s […]
What would the shake-up mean for those who currently lack affordable access to safe drinking water?
A shake-up of California’s struggling Drinking Water Program is in the works. What follows is a little history, context, and a few thoughts on what it will likely mean for drinking-water stakeholders—in particular those who have the hardest time accessing safe drinking water. A history of problems for the Drinking Water Program Last April, Jonathan […]
Can inherently safer technology save us from chemical accidents and terrorists?
As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Franklin’s comment, originally made in reference to home fire safety, is characteristically timeless. Today, many are looking to the principle of prevention as a way to reduce the incidence and severity of chemical plant disasters. The threat of chemical disaster […]
Cookstoves are a major threat to health in developing countries, while also wreaking environmental damage.
Cooking dinner, as it turns out, is one of the most serious public health and environmental problems in the world. There’s a common misperception that environmental concerns are just a First World luxury. But the cookstove example shows that the global poor, too, are in need of better, more efficient, less polluting energy sources. Here […]
CA Senate Hearing at UCLA Focuses on Ways to Spend Auction Revenue
Today, UCLA’s Emmett Center and IOES hosted a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Climate Change and AB 32 Implementation with Senators Pavley, Correa, de Leon, deSaulnier, Lieu, and Assemblymember Bloom attending. The hearing featured testimony on climate science, on AB 32 implementation, and on opportunities to invest revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions in ways that […]
If you’re an environmental group and you find yourself in front of today’s Supreme Court, in some sense you’ve already lost. Nothwithstanding the 2007 Mass v EPA victory for climate change regulation, the Supremes tend not to look kindly, lately, on environmental interests. (Richard Lazarus has argued that the record of NEPA losses at the […]
The State Senate recently passed its version of CEQA reform. Having looked over the bill, it’s much better than I feared. What seems to be the most important change is a move towards adopting standard setting in CEQA – i.e., making generalized determinations about what levels of certain kinds of impacts are “significant” such that […]
In an important victory for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) — and in my view for renewable energy more generally — the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has upheld a FERC order that helps finance transmission lines to carry renewable energy from rural areas to urban centers in the midwest and […]