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Referendum Politics: California’s Pioneering Plastic Bag Ban on Hold

Plastic bag ban

Out-of-State Bag Manufacturers Succeed in Qualifying Referendum Measure for 2016 Ballot

California’s recently-legislated ban on disposable plastic bans–the first in the nation–will not take effect on July 1, 2015 as the new law mandates.  That’s because industry opponents of the legislation have  qualified for the November 2016 election a referendum measure that seeks to repeal the new law. Last fall I wrote on this site about […]

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‘The Centers Cannot Hold’ . . . At Least, Not in North Carolina

North Carolina logo

Attack on academic freedom? Or misunderstood management effort?

Both the NY Times and the Washington Post have reported on a recommendation that the North Carolina Board of Governors close several university centers. [Update: the recommendations were adopted by the Board a week later.] There are strong allegations that this is part of a conservative attack on the university system. There are certainly grounds to suspect […]

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Climate Engineering: National Academy Committee recommends starting research (with limits)

An NAS report on controversial engineered responses to climate change gets all the big things right, but avoids the hardest questions

Earlier this week, the National Research Council Committee on Geoengineering Climate released two reports, “Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration” and “Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth.” Requested and funded by several US federal departments – NASA, NOAA, DOE, and the cutely labeled “U.S. Intelligence Community” – this report is the first […]

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The California Supreme Court’s Unprecedented Focus on Environmental Law

Cal Supreme Courthouse

California's Highest Court Has Far More Environmental Cases Pending Than Ever Before in Its History

The California Supreme Court, perhaps the most influential state supreme court in the nation, has of late become unusually and intensely focused on environmental law.  More than ever before in its history, the California Supreme Court currently has before it a large docket of environmental cases that, individually and collectively, promise to alter the legal […]

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California Supreme Court to Decide Whether the Mining Law Preempts State Ban on Suction Dredge Mining

Court's Decision May Affect State's Ability to Regulate Activities on Federal Lands

The California Supreme Court recently accepted a case that may make it more difficult for the state to protect the environment from the damaging impacts of mining. At issue is the state’s ban on suction-dredge mining in streambeds. Californians engaged in suction-dredge mining have vigorously fought against the state’s ban, and a panel of the […]

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Rain-Free January Portends Continued California Drought of Increased Severity

Severe Reduction in Sierra Snowpack Another Sign That State's Worst Drought Just Gets Worse

January 2015 ends with a most dubious distinction: it’s been the driest January in recorded California history.  That’s especially bad news, considering that January has traditionally been the wettest month of the year in the Golden State. According to National Weather Service and California Department of Water Resources (DWR) statistics, the alarming precipitation figures for Northern […]

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Celebrating Four Decades of Energy Innovation: The California Energy Commission at 40

How California & the Commission Launched Their Acclaimed Energy Policy--& the Challenges That Lie Ahead

This month marks the 40th anniversary of California’s landmark Warren-Alquist Act, which created the state Energy Commission and triggered a transformation of energy policy in California, across the U.S., and abroad. This week an impressive group of energy policymakers, political leaders, energy scholars and Energy Commission alumni gathered at events in Sacramento and at the U.C. Davis […]

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California’s Water Law Symposium–A Law Student Success Story

Students From Six Northern California Law Schools Collaborate in a Big and Unconventional Way

The 11th Annual Water Law Symposium was held last weekend at Golden Gate University Law School in San Francisco.  The event drew a standing-room-only crowd of water law scholars, practitioners and policymakers, who devoted the day to a thoughtful and lively examination of how California’s constitutional law doctrine of reasonable use affects all facets of […]

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Food Policy: A Reply to Dan Farber

Earlier this week on this blog, Dan Farber made the excellent point that although the average American is neither malnourished nor obese, both persist as significant problems revealing deep failures in our food system. But his juxtaposition of statistics regarding obesity with those regarding malnourishment reflects a common misunderstanding of malnourishment, which is often equated with […]

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