Regulation

Reproductive Rights Meet . . . Waste Disposal Law?

Texas aims to limit abortion via environmental regulation

All know that by a 5-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court in June struck down as “undue burdens” on the exercise of reproductive rights the State of Texas’s 2013 restrictions on abortion facilities.  Those rules required facilities to meet illogical physical premises requirements and to have physicians with local hospital admitting privileges – privileges the […]

Continue Reading

Why Doesn’t the GOP Offer Alternative Solutions to Environmental Problems?

Republicans hate conventional regulations. But they’ve given up on offering alternatives. Here’s why.

There’s one thing we all know: the Republican Party hates regulation.  Republicans want to roll back some  key regulations and make it a lot harder to pass new ones.  But there’s a curious silence about alternatives to regulation.  For decades, conservative Republicans have denounced “command and control” regulations by EPA and other agencies.  So why don’t they […]

Continue Reading

California Enacts Legislation Targeting Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

Confined-animal-feeding-operation

The statute codifies the goals set by the Governor and ARB

On Monday, Governor Brown signed SB 1383 into law, establishing statewide targets for reducing what are known as “short-lived climate pollutants,” which I have discussed in previous posts. The law requires a 40% reduction in both methane and hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs) below 2013 levels, and a 50% reduction in black carbon from 2013 level. Legislators […]

Continue Reading

State regulation of environmental harms on federal lands

California Supreme Court case indicates substantial authority for states to act

Sean has already reported on the recent Rinehart decision by the California Supreme Court, in which the Court concluded that a state law imposing a temporary moratorium on the use of suction dredge equipment in California waterways was not preempted by federal mining law.  Here, I just want to add to Sean’s excellent summary by […]

Continue Reading

The Clean Power Plan: Obama’s Easy Mandate

clean-power-plan

States Complaining About the CPP Are On Pace to Hit Emissions Targets

Back around the turn of the 20th century, New York’s Republican machine was run by Senator Thomas Platt, whose ability to bridge factional gaps gave him the title of “The Easy Boss.” Even though President Obama has attempted the same thing, he will have no such luck. Witness, for example, the states — virtually all […]

Continue Reading

The Clean Water Act, Federalism, Big Money and the California Supreme Court

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-12-37-00-pm

Ill-considered Supreme Court Decision Threatens California’s Administration of Clean Water Act Permit Program

The California Supreme Court recently issued a little-noticed decision on a seemingly arcane state public finance issue that could well wind up having a dramatic, negative effect on California’s continued ability to administer the federal Clean Water Act’s permit program in the Golden State. The case is Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates.  In […]

Continue Reading

Of Pipelines, Protests, and General Permits

A fight in North Dakota reveals problems in how we permit and review large infrastructure projects

Native American tribes and environmental groups are currently protesting the completion of an oil pipeline in North Dakota.  The pipeline would travel beneath the Missouri River.  Tribes and environmentalists are fighting the pipeline both through litigation and also through direct action (occupying the site where the construction to complete the pipeline beneath the river would […]

Continue Reading

The Downward Political Spiral of a Declining Industry

220px-Coal_mine_Wyoming

As the coal industry weakens economically, it also loses political clout.

Tighter regulation contributes to an environmentally dirty industry’s economic decline, which reduces its political clout, which allows more regulation, further weakening the industry.  Coal is prime example. The coal industry’s economic plight is well-known.  Coal production is the lowest since a major strike 35 years ago. In fact, my colleagues at the business school report that coal […]

Continue Reading

Why Does Industry Always Attack New Rules?

It makes businesses look obstructionist and often gains them nothing. So why do they do it?

It seems like every time EPA makes a move, industry says it’s another job-killing power grab by the government and files court challenges within about an hour of EPA’s action.  But why?  The rule often survives judicial review, so industry spends millions on lawyers and gets nothing in return.  It’s true that industry does often win at […]

Continue Reading

The (Relatively) Unknown Treasures of the National Park Service

FS - visitor center

Our National Park System Consists of Far More Than Just National Parks

When most Americans think of the National Park Service, they contemplate the nation’s stellar collection of national parks: Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Everglades and the other 56 parks created by acts of Congress since 1872.  But that’s only part of the story and holdings of the National Park Service, which celebrates its 100th birthday this week. […]

Continue Reading