Politics

Conservatives as Environmentalists

Ronald Reagan, courtesy National Archives

Environmentalism isn’t an aberration in conservatives. It has deep roots going back to the 1960s.

Scott Pruitt’s appointment as head of EPA illustrates how conservatism has become synonymous with anti-environmentalism.  But that’s really a drastic oversimplification, as I explain in a new paper about the history of conservative environmentalism. There were moments of strong environmentalism in the earlier days of the conservative movement.  When he was running for mayor of New York City, William […]

Continue Reading

About that carbon tax idea….

Eric Biber posted last week about the proposal from several heavyweight Republicans for a carbon tax, outlined in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. Much has been said about the merits and problems of a carbon tax, including on this blog, so I will try not to repeat those points here. However, I wanted to expand […]

Continue Reading

A Yawning Credibility Gap

credibility

Courts are supposed to defer to agencies. But that happens less often when an agency lacks credibility.

Two themes in the Trump Administration are distrust of experts and a willingness to overrule them on ideological grounds. But undermining the government’s claims to expertise may come back to haunt the Administration. Because Trump is marginalizing government scientific and economic expertise, his regulatory initiatives may get less deference from the courts. There is already a great deal of concern […]

Continue Reading

Trump’s Environmental Assault Begins

delay

Clean Power Plan, Waters of the U.S. Rules First on the Chopping Block But What Remains in Place Varies Dramatically

The Washington Post is reporting that the Trump Administration will very shortly roll out two executive orders to curtail environmental protection. These rollbacks follow on the heels of the Senate’s confirmation of Scott Pruitt, who has made no secret of his antipathy for federal environmental regulations.  The first executive order, as widely expected, will tell the […]

Continue Reading

Is Texas Cleaning Up Its Act?

renewables in texas

Carbon emissions are set in decline in Texas, with less coal and more renewables.

At a national meeting of state utility regulators, the head of the group recently said that the Clean Power Plan was basically dead, BUT this might not matter because “arguably, you’re seeing market-based decarbonization” due to technological changes.  Case in point: Texas. Market trends are pushing Republican-stronghold Texas toward a cleaner grid. ERCOT, which operates nearly all […]

Continue Reading

If At First You’re Blocked by Congress, Try, Try Again.

mr-burns-deregulation

How much does the Congressional Review Act preclude follow-up regulation?

Most people probably never heard of the Congressional Review Act before now.  This law — “CRA” to Beltway folks — is an obscure statute — previously used only once — that allows Congress to strike down an agency rule with an expedited procedure (no filibuster). The GOP is gleefully taking advantage of its control of the […]

Continue Reading

Predicting How Neil Gorsuch Would Rule on Environmental Issues

neil-gorsuch

If he’s ever confirmed by the U.S. Senate

Donald Trump just announced his nomination to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.  Here are some very preliminary thoughts. Assuming Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is confirmed by the U.S. Senate (by no means a certainty), what do we know about how he would be likely to rule on environmental questions?  As far as I can tell, he […]

Continue Reading

The Dangers of the New Executive Order on “Reducing Regulation”

The Order is Designed to Prevent Federal Agencies from Protecting Health, Safety, and the Environment

Dan Farber just posted an insightful, brief analysis of the executive order “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” that was issued this morning. As Dan notes, the order is absurd and arbitrary – but more than that, it’s extraordinary in its potential for doing harm to our country and its residents. It is meant to kneecap […]

Continue Reading

California’s Best Investment in the Fight Against Climate Change

seal-of-california

Trump is on a search-and-destroy mission against climate science & energy research. We need to fill the gap.

How can California best move the ball on the climate issue? Ann Carlson and I have just published an op. ed. in the Sacramento Bee making the case for a state climate-research fund and explaining how it could be implemented. Here’s why investing in new knowledge is such an important move for California. California can […]

Continue Reading

California Appellate Court Hears Arguments in Cap-and-Trade Program Challenge

California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District Courthouse, Sacramento, CA.

Court of Appeal Justices Appear Inclined to Reject Industry’s Constitutional Attack on State’s Cap-and-Trade Auction System

On Tuesday, the California Court of Appeal in Sacramento heard oral arguments in the most formidable legal challenge to the State of California’s ambitious, multifaceted efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That challenge takes the form of two cases, consolidated on appeal: California Chamber of Commerce v. California Air Resources Board and Morning Star Packing v. California Air […]

Continue Reading