General

Distrust of Congress (And Why It Matters)

State Capitol, Sacramento, California

It's easy to joke about Congress's public ill-repute, but it's a serious problem.

A recent poll shows that public approval of Congress is still in the basement (though perhaps not flat on the floor, as it was before).  This graph shows the trends: But this poll on public “approval” doesn’t tell the whole story.  Here’s one that asks instead whether Americans have confidence in key institutions: The configurations […]

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Is Jeb Bush Listening to Andy Sabin?

jebbush

Position on Climate Change Evolving

                 Jeb Bush is now “concerned” about climate change.  He also believes the U.S. needs to work with other countries to “negotiate a way to reduce carbon emissions.”  Though some environmental groups remain skeptical –largely because Bush also embraced natural gas as the primary tool to reduce U.S. […]

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The Battle to Restore Hetch Hetchy Valley Moves to the Courts

Hetch Hetchy Valley in early 1900's, Before Valley's Inundation

New Lawsuit Claims Dam and Reservoir in Yosemite National Park Violate California Constitution

This week, the longstanding battle over the dam and reservoir that have for a century flooded Yosemite National Park’s storied Hetch Hetchy Valley moves to the courts. A new lawsuit, filed by conservationists on the 177th anniversary of  John Muir’s birth, asserts that the City of San Francisco’s continued operation of O’Shaughnessy Dam and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir […]

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Swinging Between Optimism and Pessimism on Climate Change

optimism-vs-pessimism

good news, bad news

Every day seems to bring new news about climate change, some of it encouraging and some of it so disheartening that doomsday feels around the corner.  Here’s a catalogue of recent climate news, starting with the optimistic stories: Bloomberg news reports that the end of fossil fuels is in sight. The World Bank today announced […]

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Can the Supreme Court Provide Just Desserts?

Ruth Bader Ginger

Time for Different Flavors of Legal Reasoning

Ben and Jerry’s flavor honoring Stephen Colbert — “Americone Dream” — has been so successful, people are coming with other ideas. Tania Lambrozio gets lawyers into the act with her nomination: “Ruth Bader Ginger.” I’ve never actually had ginger ice cream, although I love ginger bread, so maybe it could work. Now there is a petition […]

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Stick a Lemon In It

Lemon

Are recent East Bay water troubles a taste of what lies ahead?

What makes a city world-renowned? For New York (according to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection), it’s the quality of its drinking water. Should this be so surprising? After all, what more fundamental connection does a city have to its residents and visitors than the life-sustaining water that it provides? Recent events in San Francisco’s […]

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Shut Up, Texas

i-messed-with-texas

Environmental Factors Smack Down Another Right-Wing Meme

If like me you are tired of Texans gloating about their supposed “miracle,” today’s post from Kevin Drum brings some good news: For years, business lobbyists complained about what they derided as “job killer” laws that drive employers out of California. Rival state governors, notably former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, made highly publicized visits to […]

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The Unreasonable Risk of TSCA Reform

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is no doubt generating significant conflict, including claims of undue industry influence, competing bills from prominent members of the same party, consternation among states, and divisions among health and environmental groups.  And it may also be the closest we have gotten to TSCA reform—ever.  […]

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California Supreme Court to Decide Major CEQA, Climate Change Case

SD Traffic

Justices' Latest Grant of Review Continues Supreme Court's Focus on Environmental Law

To paraphrase former President Ronald Reagan, there they go again. The California Supreme Court on Wednesday granted review in an important case at the intersection of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and one of the state’s most important climate change laws.  The case, Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments, is the […]

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TSCA Reform: That’s A Good Thing, Right?

Reform of the federal chemicals statute, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), is in the news again.  It got me wondering, are we are better off with the devil we know? In a legislative era characterized by harsh partisanship and excruciating deadlocks, there are signs that TSCA reform could be a rare example of cooperation […]

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