Every year, thousands of law students take a course in administrative law. It’s a great course, and we wish even more students took it. But there’s a risk that students may come away with a vision of the regulatory process that is increasingly disconnected with reality. Worse, the leading judicial opinions on the subject suggest […]
State Water Rights Reforms a Key Part of the Legislative Package
“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” This adage, attributed to Chicago Mayor and former Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, seems especially apt regarding emergency legislation enacted by California lawmakers and signed into law last weekend by Governor Jerry Brown in response to the worst drought in recorded California history. That […]
Decision favoring EPA seems likely
The venerable pastime of U.S. Supreme Court-watching always involves divergent opinions that, as Rick Frank noted, all should be taken with a grain (or even a pound) of salt. The outcome of Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA is decidedly uncertain, but I left the oral argument yesterday more optimistic than my Legal Planet colleague. […]
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 […]
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 […]
OIRA is staffed by under-trained, over-worked short-termers.
OIRA is an agency whose functions are as mysterious to most people as its name. It doesn’t help much to learn that OIRA stands for Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The phrase “regulatory czars” is more informative. OIRA runs the federal government’s regulatory process. Although agencies like EPA are required to have a lot […]
The language of the statute relating to next week's argument is clear -- but there's a fly in the ointment.
The Supreme Court will be hearing argument next week in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA. It’s basically a very simple statutory interpretation case, except for two things. First, it’s about climate change, and nothing about climate change ever seems to be simple and straightforward. Second, although the language of the statute, prior Supreme Court precedent, […]
Legal settlement to commit $100 million to new charging stations has not been effective
Back in 2000, rolling blackouts descended upon California and eventually cost Governor Gray Davis his job. The crisis was caused by deviant corporate behavior, and one of the companies involved, NRG, finally settled with the state in 2012 for damages related to its conduct. But instead of being punished, the California Public Utilities Commission allowed […]
Increased attention to fracking off the California Coast; what our state agencies can do about it
As prior blog posts and reports have detailed, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) has been occurring onshore in California for decades, yet without full disclosure to the public or state regulatory agencies. Recently, new reports of offshore fracking in both California and federal waters have surfaced, showing that fracking has also been underway off the coast for […]
According to the Supreme Court, when statutes are unclear, the President is supposed to make policy judgments. That's not unconstitutional -- it's just business as usual.
The short answer is a resounding No. Some domestic initiatives obviously do require Congressional approval because they are clearly outside the authority conferred by existing law. But Congress has given the executive branch broad discretion to regulate in many areas, and the executive branch can use that authority for major policy initiatives. The only real […]