Pollution & Health

Legal Responses to the Santa Barbara Refugio Oil Spill

Refugio_Oil_Spill_in_Santa_Barbara

Exploring potential penalties and damages

Last Tuesday, a 24-inch underground oil pipeline on the beautiful Santa Barbara County coastline burst for reasons as of yet unknown. Over the course of several hours, an estimated 101,000 gallons of crude oil spilled down a storm drain, on the shoreline, and into the Pacific Ocean. As of late last week, oil had spread […]

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Climate Fatigue

You might be tired of climate change. But climate change isn't tired of you.

I gather that people are tired of hearing about climate change.  I’m tired of hearing about climate change, too. Sadly, Nature just doesn’t care  that much about entertaining us.  It’s going to be climate change this year, climate change next year, climate change the year after that . . . But don’t worry, it won’t […]

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Los Angeles Releases First-Ever Urban Sustainability “pLAn”

pLAn

Envisioning greener energy, cleaner air, and reduced consumption in LA by 2035

Perhaps no metropolis is better positioned than Los Angeles to pioneer ground-breaking environmental initiatives. As the second-largest U.S. city, and with the country’s largest municipally owned utility, a world-class research university–UCLA, and the blessings of abundant sunshine and a temperate Mediterranean climate, Los Angeles could serve as a global model for urban sustainability. Today, the […]

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The Unreasonable Risk of TSCA Reform

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is no doubt generating significant conflict, including claims of undue industry influence, competing bills from prominent members of the same party, consternation among states, and divisions among health and environmental groups.  And it may also be the closest we have gotten to TSCA reform—ever.  […]

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Do the Poor Undervalue the Environment?

Untreated Monsoon Sewage in India: Does Anybody Care?

The Emerging Sub-Field of "Envirodevonomics" Seeks to Find Out

It’s hardly news that environmental quality in the Global South is often disastrous. Even middle income countries such as China and India face enormous pollution problems and destruction of ecosystems. But why? Do people in the Global South not care? Or is something else going on? A new paper in the Journal of Economic Literature […]

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TSCA Reform: That’s A Good Thing, Right?

Reform of the federal chemicals statute, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), is in the news again.  It got me wondering, are we are better off with the devil we know? In a legislative era characterized by harsh partisanship and excruciating deadlocks, there are signs that TSCA reform could be a rare example of cooperation […]

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On China’s Remarkable Viral Air Pollution Video

Climate Video

Can 200 million viewers (and counting) be wrong?

Last Saturday evening, my research assistant (a wonderful JD student raised and educated in China) sent me a message: “This is a link to a documentary directed by Chai Jing (柴静).  It has raised public concern about air pollution.” In perhaps the understatement of the year, she added: “Many Chinese people have been watching it.” […]

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Referendum Politics: California’s Pioneering Plastic Bag Ban on Hold

Plastic bag ban

Out-of-State Bag Manufacturers Succeed in Qualifying Referendum Measure for 2016 Ballot

California’s recently-legislated ban on disposable plastic bans–the first in the nation–will not take effect on July 1, 2015 as the new law mandates.  That’s because industry opponents of the legislation have  qualified for the November 2016 election a referendum measure that seeks to repeal the new law. Last fall I wrote on this site about […]

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Accelerating Cost-Effective Green Stormwater Infrastructure: Learning from Local Implementation

bike lane bioretention

A new Berkeley Law report

California decision makers focused on responding to the current drought might question whether stormwater deserves a slice of their attention right now. Although it might be tempting to relegate stormwater planning, management decisions, and infrastructure improvements to a back burner until drought concerns cool off, doing so would be counterproductive. Below, I explain why stormwater management is relevant […]

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AB 32 and post-2020 climate goals

Big Sur California Untitled

What does California's Global Warming Solutions Act say about emissions after 2020?

I have heard some references, recently, to AB 32 “expiring” in 2020.  It’s easy to understand where this idea comes from: California’s premiere climate change law was passed in 2006 and sets a goal for the state to return to 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by a deadline of 2020.  Moreover, one of the […]

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