Regulation

Former Massey Energy CEO Sentenced to Prison for Actions Leading to 2010 Coal Mine Disaster

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What Broader Environmental and Worker Safety Enforcement Lessons Can Be Learned Here?

A federal district judge on Wednesday sentenced Don Blankenship, the former Chief Executive of Massey Energy, to serve one year in federal prison–the maximum term allowed by law–and to personally pay a criminal penalty of $250,000 for Blankenship’s acts of omission and commission that led to the notorious 2010 coal mining disaster at Massey’s Upper […]

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UCLA Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Electric Grid Experts in “Clean Power Plan” Case

U.S. Dep't of Energy

Supporting EPA’s regulation of power-sector carbon emissions

Today, several of us at UCLA Law School’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment—me, Cara Horowitz, Sarah Duffy, & Ann Carlson—together with Professor William Boyd of University of Colorado Law School, filed an amici curiae brief on behalf of five electric grid experts in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan” […]

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Mitigating the Climate Impacts of Aliso Canyon

Equipment and machinery is seen on a ridge above a natural gas well known as SS25 in Southern California Gas Company's vast Aliso Canyon facility. Pressure on the company has been mounting as residents of nearby Porter Ranch deal with the odor resulting from a leak at the well which was discovered on October 23. 12/14/2015

Staff from California Air Resources Board released the Draft Aliso Canyon Methane Leak Climate Impacts Mitigation Program last week. While the program has yet to gain approval by the Board, the final version will probably not change much. Overall, the Draft Program signals ARB’s desire to take full advantage of the political will and financial […]

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Labor Mobility and Environmental Regulation

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Net job loss is small, but the effects of regulation might leave some workers stranded.

Regulators should give some thought to issues of labor mobility, which may be smaller than economists have assumed. Recent studies show that people who lost manufacturing jobs due to competition from China often failed to get new jobs in other places or sectors of the economy.  Regulation can also cause some individual to lose their […]

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Guest Blogger David Spence: Why Some Electricity Markets Will Struggle With Decarbonization

David Spence is Professor of Law, Politics & Regulation at the University of Texas at Austin

Recently the New York Times published an article chronicling the financial problems experienced by one of the world’s premier developers of concentrated solar power (CSP) facilities. The financial headwinds facing CSP are a sign of a more fundamental problem electricity markets face: namely, capturing all of the important values we attach to electricity production. Most […]

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Creating An Exit Strategy for Our Use of Natural Gas

Natural Gas as a Bridge Fuel

To meet long-term greenhouse gas reduction goals, all fossil fuels have to go, even natural gas.

Coal is the climate’s Public Enemy #1. The use of natural gas has helped to ensure that the coal problem has not become even worse. Without natural gas, we would use more coal for space heating and for many more industrial processes than is currently the practice. Without natural gas, our reliance on coal for […]

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The Devil is in the Design: Forming California’s New Groundwater Agencies

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By Dave Owen and Mike Kiparsky

Cross-posting from the Environmental Law Prof Blog. This post was written by Dave Owen and Mike Kiparsky. It is based on a recent report, co-authored with Nell Green Nylen, Holly Doremus, Barb Cosens, Juliet Christian-Smith, Andrew Fisher, and Anita Milman.    Not that long ago, the opening words of one of Joe Sax’s articles described California pretty well. “We Don’t […]

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Another California Regulatory Agency in Crisis: Southern California’s Air Quality Management District Fires Longtime Executive Officer

Barry Wallerstein's Ouster from SCAQMD Signals Tilt Away from Protection of Public Health

In a move that shocked the environmental advocacy community and low-income communities of color that suffer most from the impacts of poor air quality in Los Angeles, the governing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District fired its longtime executive officer Barry Wallerstein today, voting 7-6 in closed session to remove him from […]

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San Jose’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance Dodges Supreme Court Bullet

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Justices Deny Review of California Supreme Court Decision Upholding San Jose Measure

Advocates of the City of San Jose’s controversial inclusionary housing ordinance, which was upheld in a 2015 California Supreme Court decision, are breathing a sigh of relief this week.  That’s because the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the California Building Industry Association’s petition for certiorari in the case.  But the available evidence suggests that the High Court […]

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Risk Subsidies and the Future of Nuclear Power in the U.S.

Should We Take Into Account Government Subsidies that Reduce the Risks Borne by the Nuclear Industry as We Consider Our Energy Future?

As I’ve written about before, U.S. law massively subsidizes the nuclear power industry.  In particular, a law called the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act dramatically skews the incentives to develop nuclear plants, and to site them in places where there is a lot of risk, because it requires the public to bear much of the […]

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