Politics

Red-State Utilities Go Green

Utilities are moving away from coal & toward renewables, even in GOP states.

Even in Republican states, there has been a regulatory movement to expand the use of renewables. (see this report for more.) Perhaps even more surprisingly, some utilities and generating companies that now use a lot of coal are voluntarily turning to renewables. Here are some recent examples: Ohio. In February, AEP explained that “Our customers […]

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Nov. 2018: Senate Races

The odds are that the Republicans will continue to control the Senate in 2018. The electoral map is very unfavorable to the Democrats, with many vulnerable Democrats up for reelection and only two such Republicans. But even if the GOP keeps control, their victory margin matters. It will determine how much maneuvering room that McConnell […]

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The Carbon Tax — More Attractive Than Ever

Due to the latest tax bill, a carbon tax look like a great strategy when the Dems take power again.

Sooner or later,  the Democrats will take control of Congress and the White House, just like the Republicans right now. That’s not a political prediction so much as a recognition that the wheel is bound to turn around at some point.  At that point, they should give very serious consideration to the possibility of a […]

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Trump vs. Obama: Comparing Their First-Year Records

What Trump accomplish in his first year? In terms of energy & environment, less than Obama.

There’s been a lot of sound and fury, and many proposals are in the works. But what have the concrete results been so far? And how does Trump’s effectiveness stack up again Obama’s? I was prompted to ask that question by a note from Jonathan Rosenbloom, an environmental law scholar at Drake University. I had […]

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Trump Administration to Hold California Hearing on Offshore Oil Drilling Proposal

Sacramento Hearing Likely to Be Both a Raucous and Fundamentally Flawed Affair

Legal Planet colleague Eric Biber this week has published a series of posts on the Trump Administration’s controversial–and deeply flawed–proposal to open most of the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf to offshore oil and gas development.  I won’t attempt to retread the ground Eric has ably covered, but want to highlight a major upcoming and related event […]

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The politics of Trump’s offshore leasing proposal

Widespread political opposition at the state level poses major obstacles to federal plans

This post is the second in a three-part series looking at the Trump Administration’s announcement of plans to vastly increase offshore oil and gas drilling.  The first post, here, focused on the legal context for those announcements.  In this post, I’ll discuss the political context.  In my last post, I’ll conclude with an analysis of […]

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California Legislature Contemplates Banning Internal Combustion Engines By 2040

AB 1745 by Assm. Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) would follow similar policies in Norway and the United Kingdom

Countries like China, Norway and the U.K. have made headlines recently with plans to ban the sale of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by 2040 or soon thereafter. Is California next? Governor Brown expressed interest in the state following suit, to maintain its mantle as a global electric vehicle leader. And now Assemblymember Phil Ting […]

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Sierra Club Opposes One Of The Most Important Climate Bills In California

Environmental group whiffs on proposed legislation to allow badly needed residential development near transit

Housing more Californians near transit and not in sprawl areas represents one of the most crucial ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Senate Bill 827 (Wiener) would help do just that, by preventing local governments from zoning people (and homes) out of these prime transit areas. So it was surprising to see an environmental organization […]

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Interior doubles down on contempt for government integrity

Newly appointed acting National Park Service chief improperly allowed removal of trees from NPS easement

We know that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has little regard for government rules — the Navy SEAL career he is so fond of touting was derailed because he misused government funds for personal travel; he has continued to flout travel regulations and restrictions on political activity by government employees in his present job; […]

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The Story Behind a Political Breakthrough

Congress passed a 2017 law recognizing climate change as a serious threat. How did THAT happen?

Last month, Congress passed and Trump signed a provision in the Defense Authorization Act that designates climate change a serious threat to national security. That was a historic first. I blogged about the bill last month, but it seemed worthwhile to investigate this surprising development further. Although there’s no direct evidence, there are strong indications […]

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