Pollution & Health

A Victory for Clean Air

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The D.C. Circuit has upheld EPA's regulation of mercury from coal-fired plants. We can all breath easier as a result.

EPA won an important victory in the D.C. Circuit today.  In White Stallion Energy Center v. EPA, the court upheld EPA’s new regulations limiting mercury from coal-fired power plants.  The main issue in the case was about a threshold requirement for regulation.  Before setting limits on mercury from coal plants, EPA had to consider studies of […]

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Statutes of Limitations, Statutes of Repose, and Latent Harms

A warning sign posted outside the CTS property.  Credit: Jeremy P. Jacobs.

Can plaintiffs harmed years after exposure to toxic substances seek relief?

You may not have heard of CTS Corp. v. Waldburger.  At a glance, it is relatively unremarkable, a private nuisance suit between landowners and a retired manufacturing facility.  Much of the work on the plaintiffs’ side has been handled by students.  In a sense, the case hasn’t even begun yet—a judge found that the plaintiffs waited […]

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Rand Paul versus Clean Water

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Rand Paul's plan to cut wetlands protection and make enforcement against polluters impossible.

Rand Paul recently won a big victory in the straw poll held by CPAC,the Conservative Political Action Conference.  In the environmental area, his signature measure is the Defense of Environment and Property Act. On its surface, the goal of the law is to cut back on federal jurisdiction over wetlands. The bill would drastically cut back […]

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How Responsible Are Americans for China’s Pollution Problem?

An online conversation from several perspectives

Yesterday, I participated in an online conversation at Chinafile.com on the question of “How Responsible Are Americans For China’s Pollution Problem?”  I post the lead comment by David Vance Wagner of the International Council on Clean Transportation along with my response.  Elizabeth Economy from the Council on Foreign Relations and Isabel Hilton of Chinadialogue.net (among […]

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Deconstructing Today’s U.S. Supreme Court Arguments in Utility Air Regulatory Group

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The EPA Could Well Lose This Challenge to Its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Efforts

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the most important environmental law case of the current Term: Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. Based on those arguments–and, more importantly, the justices’ questions and comments–it appears that EPA’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act’s […]

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Previewing Next Week’s Climate Change Arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court

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 […]

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California’s Proposed Drinking Water Program Reorganization: A Primer

Photo credit to Darwin Bell.

What would the shake-up mean for those who currently lack affordable access to safe drinking water?

A shake-up of California’s struggling Drinking Water Program is in the works.  What follows is a little history, context, and a few thoughts on what it will likely mean for drinking-water stakeholders—in particular those who have the hardest time accessing safe drinking water.  A history of problems for the Drinking Water Program Last April, Jonathan […]

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When Cooking Can Kill

Cookstove  Use in Darfur

Cookstoves are a major threat to health in developing countries, while also wreaking environmental damage.

Cooking dinner, as it turns out, is one of the most serious public health and environmental problems in the world. There’s a common misperception that environmental concerns are just a First World luxury.  But the cookstove example shows that the global poor, too, are in need of better, more efficient, less polluting energy sources. Here […]

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Why Pollution Regulations Aren’t Taxes

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Opponents of environmental regulations love to call them hidden taxes. But constant repetition doesn't make this idea true.

If you’ve seen a statement that regulations are hidden taxes, that’s not too surprising.  Googling  ”regulation hidden taxes” produces over three million hits.  But in fact, pollution regulations and taxes are completely different. The reason is simple. A tax removes value  from the private sector.   Environmental regulations simultaneously remove value  from one part of […]

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What are California Legislators Thinking About Cap-and-Trade?

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CA Senate Hearing at UCLA Focuses on Ways to Spend Auction Revenue

Today, UCLA’s Emmett Center and IOES hosted a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Climate Change and AB 32 Implementation with Senators Pavley, Correa, de Leon, deSaulnier, Lieu, and Assemblymember Bloom attending.  The hearing featured testimony on climate science, on AB 32 implementation, and on opportunities to invest revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions in ways that […]

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