“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” This adage, attributed to Chicago Mayor and former Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, seems especially apt regarding emergency legislation enacted by California lawmakers and signed into law last weekend by Governor Jerry Brown in response to the worst drought in recorded California history. That […]
The three types of conservatism all tend to reject climate science, but for different reasons.
A couple of weeks ago, George Will told the Fox News audience that humans have nothing to do with climate change — it’s just natural fluctuations. Will himself has changed his brand of conservatism in the past few years, as the New Republic has noted. At this point, he has sampled two of the three […]
Railtown tells the story of how rail transit came to
Ethan Elkind‘s new book, Railtown, tells the story of LA’s rail system. It’s a fascinating account of LA’s move away from an almost religious attachment to the automobile. The LA story has some important implications for other cities. It took several decades to get the current rail system built. There were many detours and delays […]
Big Stakes and Big Players in This Year's Biggest Environmental Case
On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the biggest environmental law case of its current Term, Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA. Legal Planet colleagues Ann Carlson and Dan Farber have already posted their thoughts on the case. Let me add mine. Utility Air Regulatory Group involves EPA’s authority to regulate stationary […]
Steinberg's surprising proposal for California climate regulation
Climate regulation drama! Sen. Darrell Steinberg is floating a proposal that would change California law to take transportation fuels out of the cap-and-trade program, and to enact a new fuels tax instead. As background, distributors of those fuels are slated to join the cap-and-trade program in 2015, meaning they would need allowances to cover their […]
Supporting renewable energy in Wyoming makes political sense
A company wants to build a lot of wind power in Wyoming. A lot. 3,000 megawatts. The size of three nuclear reactors. And ship all of the power to California. None of it will be used in Wyoming, where electricity primarily comes from coal, and where the state has been strongly resistant to various policies […]
The link between indoor grow operations and energy data
Now that the two states that just legalized marijuana sent their football teams to the Superbowl this year, it’s clear that the stars are aligning for legalizing marijuana nationwide. Sure, legalizing marijuana makes fiscal, moral, and practical sense, but what about the benefits to the environment? Well, it turns out that even the fight against […]
Letting rivers flow supports ecosystems and people
One thing that droughts in the West provoke are political battles over water. The drought that California is currently in is no exception. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have just passed a bill that would – more or less – exempt farmers in the Central Valley from environmental laws like the Endangered Species […]
Keystone XL would run through a column of Red States and depopulating counties.
Looking at three maps sheds some interesting light on the the politics of the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline’s geography resonates in an interesting way with political and demographic geography. We can start with two maps that show the proposed route (on the left) and the dates in which counties reached their peak populations. You […]
Republicans win a largely symbolic victory for an obsolete technology.
Among the sleeper provisions of the new budget deal is a ban on enforcing federal lightbulb standards. This is a great example of symbolic politics — it makes Tea Party Republicans happy, has limited practical effect, and makes little policy sense. Or to put it another way, the enforcement ban is a dumb thing to […]