Regulation

A conservative proposal for a carbon tax

A promising proposal from conservative leaders, but important questions remain

An impressive lineup of senior Republican leaders has embraced a carbon tax as an approach to address climate change.  The proposal is to trade away the Obama Administration Clean Power Plan and tort liability against fossil fuel companies for a $40/ton carbon tax that would increase over time.  All revenues from the tax would be […]

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Using Scalia Against Trump

Trump-Pence

An anti-environmental opinion by Scalia could provide ammunition against Trump.

As environmentalists search for weapons to use against the Trump Administration, one place to turn could be an important opinion by Justice Scalia – one that many of us criticized sharply at the time. The case in question, Michigan v. EPA, involved mercury emissions from power plants, in which the Supreme Court instructed EPA to consider regulatory […]

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Trump’s 2-for-1 Order: Legal Issues

2 for 1

Some applications would be clearly illegal. Others are less clear.

Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) requiring agencies to repeal at least two regs for every new reg and also capping the combined compliance costs of all the regulations issued in a given year.  To see what the legal effect is, we need to tease out several scenarios. Of course, we can never be 100% sure of […]

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If At First You’re Blocked by Congress, Try, Try Again.

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How much does the Congressional Review Act preclude follow-up regulation?

Most people probably never heard of the Congressional Review Act before now.  This law — “CRA” to Beltway folks — is an obscure statute — previously used only once — that allows Congress to strike down an agency rule with an expedited procedure (no filibuster). The GOP is gleefully taking advantage of its control of the […]

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How States Can Defend Themselves Against Trump

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States have a number of tools for protecting their own environments from the Feds.

Suppose the Trump Administration launches environmentally harmful projects in a state or wants to allow more pollution there than the state wants.  Does the state have any possible recourse? The answer is yes, although states’s defenses have their limitations.  There are a number of mechanisms states can use to defend their own environments, if not the […]

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The Dangers of the New Executive Order on “Reducing Regulation”

The Order is Designed to Prevent Federal Agencies from Protecting Health, Safety, and the Environment

Dan Farber just posted an insightful, brief analysis of the executive order “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” that was issued this morning. As Dan notes, the order is absurd and arbitrary – but more than that, it’s extraordinary in its potential for doing harm to our country and its residents. It is meant to kneecap […]

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California Appellate Court Hears Arguments in Cap-and-Trade Program Challenge

California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District Courthouse, Sacramento, CA.

Court of Appeal Justices Appear Inclined to Reject Industry’s Constitutional Attack on State’s Cap-and-Trade Auction System

On Tuesday, the California Court of Appeal in Sacramento heard oral arguments in the most formidable legal challenge to the State of California’s ambitious, multifaceted efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That challenge takes the form of two cases, consolidated on appeal: California Chamber of Commerce v. California Air Resources Board and Morning Star Packing v. California Air […]

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The Perils of Inexperience

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The Scott Pruitts of the Trump cabinet face some tricky challenges.

There’s even a name for it in sports: “rookie error.” That’s the kind of mistake that talented players make when they’ve been bumped up into the big time.The big issue for appointees like Pruitt is to avoid that kind of mistake — and in the meantime, to accomplish their agendas. By all accounts, Scott Pruitt […]

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The Ninth Circuit’s Top Environmental Law Decisions of 2016

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Climate Change, Endangered Species Act, NEPA, Constitutional Challenges Dominate Court of Appeals’ Docket

In 2016, at least, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was the most important and influential court in the nation when it comes to environmental law.  That’s true for two reasons: first, the U.S. Supreme Court only issued one significant environmental law decision last year, in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes […]

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Update on the Litigation Over EPA’s Rule Controlling Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New Power Plants

Xcel Energy's Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, near Becker, Minnesota, Tony Webster.  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

UCLA Faculty File Amicus Brief on Behalf of Technological Innovation Experts

Late in 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency issued New Source Performance Standards to control greenhouse gas emissions from new and modified fossil-fuel-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act. This regulation is a companion to the more-often-discussed Clean Power Plan rule, which addresses greenhouse gas emissions from existing sources in the power generation sector. Last […]

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