Last month, more than two dozen law professors from around the country filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging a fresh look at a lower court decision with sweeping implications for the balance of power between states and the federal government. The issue is vital to Louisiana because it affects whether oil and gas […]
Pollution & Health
The Trump Administration presents a barrage of threats to the environment. Which threats are worst?
This is the last in our series on the state of play concerning U.S. environmental protection at this point of the Trump Administration. We can classify threats along three dimensions: the likelihood of harm, the seriousness and irreversibility of the harm, and the irreversibility of the institutional or legal change. Here’s an assessment of our […]
States and cities can do a lot to push back against Trump, but they do face some legal challenges.
In the Trump era, what avenues are open to state and local governments to use self-help to protect the environment? I’ve posted before about the opportunities for state and local governments taking action to protect their own environments. (here and here). Perhaps the most important recent development is the extension of California’s cap-and-trade program to […]
Congress Should Ensure that Money Is Available to Address Pollution on Public Lands
In recent legal battles, the State of Utah has rarely sided with the environment. It is a significant moment, therefore, when Utah files a lawsuit aimed to force polluters to pay for contamination they have caused, as it did last week when it sued mine owners and contractors for the EPA related to the Gold […]
Some commentary of a lighter sort.
Here are a few diversions for a warm summer morning. I hope you enjoy them. A Man Called Scott Pruitt There once was a man called Scott Pruitt, Who said, “Why, there’s nothing to it! “You undo all the regs, “Cut them off at the legs, And tell all the polluters, ‘go to it!’” […]
New bill to extend state’s cap-and-trade program is a compromise worth making
The Governor and state legislative leaders announced a deal on a bill to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program to control greenhouse gas emissions through 2030, along with companion legislation to increase emissions reductions for conventional pollutants from major stationary industrial sources (a key point for environmental justice groups). Some leading business groups have endorsed the […]
The Administration is Poised to Act, But Legal Challenges, Procedural Hurdles, and Internal Conflict Are Likely to Make It Difficult
On Monday, I posted a quick summary of the Trump administration’s recent action to start rolling back the Clean Water Rule, a joint rule by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that defines the range of waterways the Clean Water Act protects. The proposed action the agencies announced last week, […]
This Action is Just the First Step Towards Reducing Clean Water Act Protection for Many Waterways and Wetlands
With much fanfare, the Trump administration announced last Tuesday that it is proposing to rescind the Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule. This rule is intended to govern determinations of which waterbodies and wetlands are “waters of the United States,” protected under the Clean Water Act. The […]
No, this isn’t about the health care bill.
The Trump Administration has embarked on a campaign of postponing pollution regulations that protect the public health. Even if these are only temporary delays, rather than steps toward permanently weakening health protections, the delays are not innocuous. To put it as bluntly as possible, Americans will die as a result of these delays. For instance, […]
It’s a good idea to look in the direction you’re traveling, not backwards to your past.
In an airport, I recently saw a sign above the moving walkway advising us to face in the direction we were traveling. That’s sound advice for life in general and policy making in particular. It’s a recipe for failure to try to restore the past rather than looking toward the future. Unfortunately, rather than embracing the future, […]