Environmental Science

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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Politicizing Science

The Trump Administration is doubling down on its efforts to silence politically inconvenient science.

We knew about the Administration’s disdain for scientific evidence from the beginning but the situation has only continued to deteriorate.  The campaign against objective science is now becoming embedded within the government.  Far more than its predecessors, the Administration has embarked on a campaign to impose political control on science within the government and in […]

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Ryan Zinke’s Troubling Remarks Undercut Dept. of Interior’s Core Mission

Comments to Oil Trade Association Attack Agency Staff, Dismiss Environmental Safeguards

At a recent meeting of the American Petroleum Institute (the national oil company trade association), Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made clear some of his plans for the Department of the Interior.  According to AP reporting, he called almost 1/3 of employees disloyal, said he plans to speed up oil and logging permits, and revealed a […]

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Environmental Protection and the Rule of Law

A Report from the Second Inter-American Congress on Environmental Rule of Law

I am back from attending the Second Inter-American Congress on Environmental Rule of Law, hosted by the Supreme Court of Chile in Santiago and planned by the Organization of American States, UN Environment, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, and other partners. For the past five years since the 2012 Rio+20 conference (20 years after the […]

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Pushing Back Against Presidential Power

It’s time to rethink the amount of power presidents have claimed over regulatory policy.

If there was ever a time to think hard about presidential power, that time is now. That’s a very broad question, but the part most relevant for this blog is the President’s role in controlling government regulation. There is no question that presidents have and will continue to have a huge influence on regulatory policy. […]

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Obsolete Arguments Against Climate Action

Conservatives keep repeating the same arguments, even though the world has changed.

There used to be some fairly plausible arguments against fighting climate change. I don’t mean crackpot theories about hoaxes or the “I’m not a scientist” hokum. Instead, the arguments I have in mind could be made with a straight face by serious people. I don’t think these arguments were ever truly persuasive, but they weren’t […]

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Escalating the War on Science

Yesterday, the Washington Post ran a piece by a scientist who was helping villages in Alaska prepare for climate change, until the Trump Administration abruptly transferred him to an accounting job.  Here’s another sign of the Administration’s contempt for science: Pruitt’s idea for a televised debate on the reality of climate change between climate scientists […]

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California Supreme Court Upholds Regional Planning Agency’s Greenhouse Gas CEQA Analysis, and Sets Out Principles to Ensure Better Analysis in the Future

Decision Will Help Ensure Development and Transportation Planning in California Supports GHG Reduction Efforts

In May, Rick Frank posted his reflections on the oral argument in the California Supreme Court on Cleveland National Forest Association v. San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and predicted that SANDAG would win the case.  His prediction has proved correct with the release of the Court’s opinion last week – but SANDAG’s narrow win provides a […]

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Energy & Climate Are Hot News

Some of it is bad news — but despite Trump, there are many positive signs.

Climate and energy issues have been hot topics in the news. Consider yesterday’s issues of the NY Times and the Washington Post. Of course, both papers have featured coverage of the G20 conference. They emphasized that the U.S. is isolated internationally by its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Trump was unable to get […]

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How Difficult Will It Be for the Trump Administration to Replace the Clean Water Rule?

The Administration is Poised to Act, But Legal Challenges, Procedural Hurdles, and Internal Conflict Are Likely to Make It Difficult

On Monday, I posted a quick summary of the Trump administration’s recent action to start rolling back the Clean Water Rule, a joint rule by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that defines the range of waterways the Clean Water Act protects.   The proposed action the agencies announced last week, […]

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