General

Plastics and our Future

How to turn off the plastics spout?

Kudos to National Geographic for its stunner of an issue on plastics and the environmental harms they cause. As this latest report and many other recent stories make clear, we are drowning in plastics. Bits of plastic have been found in beer, in major brands of bottled water, in 75% of deep sea fish, in […]

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California’s New Rooftop Solar Mandate

The California Energy Commission’s new mandate receives mixed reviews.

The recent decision of the California Energy Commission to require the inclusion of rooftop solar photovoltaics on most new homes has engendered praise from some quarters, and criticism from others. Some see this new policy as a positive force, helping to reduce the cost of solar and contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. […]

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Automation Leads To Efficiency Gains But Job Losses At Southern California Port

Controversial issue to be discussed at upcoming UCLA conference on zero-emission freight at Southern California’s ports

Automation threatens to eliminate many manufacturing jobs around the world, as robots now perform factory line tasks that used to be done by humans. Now the technology is starting to be deployed through self-driving vehicles in places like ports, with similar results. It’s an issue we’ll discuss at the upcoming free UCLA/Berkeley Law conference on […]

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California Supreme Court Ruling Represents Big Win for State Water Board–& California’s Environment

Justices Uphold Water Board’s “User Pays” Fee System Against Constitutional Attack

The California Supreme Court has handed the State Water Resources Control Board a major legal win, rejecting an industry challenge to the “user pays”-based system of funding the Board’s water pollution control system.  In doing so, the Supreme Court has fended off yet another constitutional challenge to the manner in which environmental regulatory fees are […]

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Disastrous Inequality

Puerto Rico was hit much harder than Houston. But help was much slower coming.

Texas and Puerto Rico both got hit very hard last year by major hurricanes. But the federal government moved a lot more quickly to get help to Texas. In a new paper, I document the difference and explore the reasons. Although I won’t go into all the details here, this is a situation people need […]

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The Questionable Legal Basis of the “Transparency” Proposal

EPA seems unsure of the legal authority for its proposal — and for good reason.

“They sat at the Agency and said, ‘what can we do to reimagine authority under the statutes to regulate an area that we are unsure that we can but we’re going to do so anyway?’” When he said those words, Scott Pruitt was talking about the Obama Administration. But it seems to be a pretty […]

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The New EPA Plan To Roll Back Auto Emissions Standards and “Supersede” the California Waiver is Legally Indefensible

It is also terrible for the planet

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that EPA will propose to roll back greenhouse gas emissions standards for automobiles to 2020 levels.  EPA will also claim that the California waiver is superseded by fuel economy standards issued by NHTSA and therefor is not valid, according to the report: Administration lawyers argue that the law gives […]

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Native American Treaties, Declining Salmon Populations, Broken Promises & Environmental Justice

Pending Washington v. U.S. Supreme Court Decision Offers Hope & Vindication for Tribes, Coastal Fisheries

Truth be told, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2017-18 Term has been an unsually quiet one for environmental and natural resources law.  Until now. This week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a last-minute addition to the Court’s current docket.  Washington v. United States, No. 17-269, a case the justices only accepted for review in January, […]

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Hurricane Recovery in Texas

It’s been eight months. What’s happened since the storm?

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the U.S. on August 25, 2017. That probably seems like ancient history to many Americans who live outside the area. The storm has certainly dropped out of the national media. It’s not easy to find information about how storm recovery is proceeding. But here’s where I could find. Let’s start […]

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Lessons From the University of California’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative

New Pritzker Brief Highlights Barriers to, Recommendations for, Getting to Zero Carbon Emissions by 2025

In 2013, University of California President Janet Napolitano announced that the system’s ten campuses and its central office would cut their carbon emissions to zero by 2025.  The goal is one of the most ambitious organizational goals in the country. To help implement the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, the President appointed a Global Climate Leadership Council […]

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