The D.C. Circuit has rejected a challenge to consultation procedures developed by the EPA and Corps of Engineers for reviewing mountaintop removal mining permits and to EPA’s guidance for reviewing permits issued by the Corps or state permitting agencies. Because it rests on standard administrative law, the decision shouldn’t merit comment. But it does, because […]
Pollution & Health
Will the Justices Choose to Decide the LCFS's Constitutionality?
You might think that the U.S. Supreme Court, having decided the Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA Clean Air Act case on Monday, was done for the current Term when it comes to environmental law and policy. Think again. Today the justices met in conference to decide whether to grant review in a large number of pending […]
Four years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon was still gushing oil. The well was finally capped in mid- July. There’s been a lot of legal action since then, but it’s hard to keep track of all the piecemeal developments. Here’s quick rundown. The Presidential Commission investigating the spill identified the “root causes” as management failures by industry and […]
Vermont's new chemical program looks to be a mixed bag
Vermont just joined the posse of states taking chemical regulation reform into their own hands in the face of inaction in Congress. Last week the Green Mountain State enacted a new law covering chemicals in children’s products. (A children’s product is defined as “any consumer product, marketed for use by, marketed to, sold, offered for […]
Court holds that federal law doesn't preempt state statutes of repose
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger. In this case, which my colleague Jesse Lueders described and analyzed in detail here and here, the Court had to decide whether state statutes of repose can bar tort lawsuits by people harmed by latent injuries from toxic contamination, by imposing […]
Death Panels! War on Coal!
Opponents in Congress have likened EPA’s proposed rule covering greenhouse gas emissions to Obamacare. In fact, one called it “Obamacare 2.0″. In a helpful spirit, I thought it would be edifying to list the similarities: 1o. The powerplant rule and Obamacare both give state government a major role. 9. They were both endorsed by President Obama. […]
Kate Konschnik is the Director of Harvard Law School’s Environmental Policy Initiative. The views expressed in this blog post are her own. Thirty years ago, Chevron v. NRDC set the standard for judicial deference to an agency’s statutory interpretation. In that case, the Supreme Court upheld EPA’s interpretation of Clean Air Act language. This month, […]
Justice Scalia's dissent in EME Homer contains a number of unusual lapses in substance and tone.
As I’ve been studying the opinions in EME Homer, I’m increasingly struck by the oddities of Justice Scalia’s dissent. There was a flap last week about his blunder, later quietly corrected, in describing one of his own past opinions. But that’s not the only peculiarity of the dissent. As a quick reminder, EME Homer involved EPA’s effort to deal with interstate […]
Supreme Court arguments surround the policies and effects of limitations periods
A few weeks back, I posted about CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, a case then awaiting oral argument in the Supreme Court. As you may recall (or as you can read here, with links to relevant documents), Waldburger involves hazardous waste contamination, and a provision of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) that […]
California Improves an Already-Powerful Environmental Justice Analytical Tool
A year ago, I wrote about an important environmental justice initiative pioneered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and its subsidiary entity, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. That 2013 initiative, titled CalEnviroScreen, divided up the State of California by zip code, applied 11 environmental health and pollution factors, assessed each of the state’s […]