Politics

Pruitt Shows His True Colors

scott_pruitt

Still skeptical of climate science, EPA’s regulatory authority, and the Paris Agreement.

Pruitt made conciliatory noises when he arrived at EPA. I suspect the honeymoon is over. On Thursday, he was asked on CNBC whether CO2 is the main cause of climate change.  His answer? ““I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about […]

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The Car Industry’s Rollback Effort — Disappointing But Not Surprising

tailpipe 2

The struggle to force the car industry to cut pollution goes back six decades.

The car industry is appealing for President Trump’s help against stricter carbon standards for cars. The industry’s action is disappointing for those who believed industry claims to embrace sustainability and technological innovation. There’s no good excuse for the industry’s about-face on a regulation it had originally agreed to.  As one of the architects of the […]

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“States’ Rights” and Environmental Law: California on the Front Lines

EPA’s Assault on Air Quality Protection Will Aim at California’s Standards, While Other States Have Given Up Their Authority to Protect Public Health and the Environment More Strictly

This article just published in the Atlantic explains well one of the many ways that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt may attempt to deeply harm our environment for decades to come: through declining to grant, or revoking, the waivers that allow California to regulate air pollution from new motor vehicle engines more strictly than the federal government does. […]

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Trump’s Budget Cuts: Even Worse Than You Thought

budget cut

As you dive into the details, things keep looking worse.

Trump is proposing huge cuts to EPA and other agencies. That’s bad enough. We’re beginning to learn more details, and the message is grim.  While these cuts may not emerge from Congress at the end of the day, they do express the Administration’s goals. In particular, they demonstrate that the Administration is deeply hostile to environmental science and […]

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Will There Be Guerrilla War at EPA?

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Scott Pruitt’s invasion of EPA probably won’t be met with flowers.

Scott Pruitt has spent his career at war with EPA, and he has now invaded the homeland. What he encounters may look more like a guerrilla war than a bureaucratic surrender. To be blunt, it’s generally a mistake to expect an invading force to be greeted with flowers and hugs from the grateful inhabitants. Agencies like […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Trump’s Environmental Assault Begins

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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 […]

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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 […]

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