Regulation

Will There Be Guerrilla War at EPA?

Scott Pruitt’s invasion of EPA probably won’t be met with flowers.

Scott Pruitt has spent his career at war with EPA, and he has now invaded the homeland. What he encounters may look more like a guerrilla war than a bureaucratic surrender. To be blunt, it’s generally a mistake to expect an invading force to be greeted with flowers and hugs from the grateful inhabitants. Agencies like […]

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About that carbon tax idea….

Eric Biber posted last week about the proposal from several heavyweight Republicans for a carbon tax, outlined in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. Much has been said about the merits and problems of a carbon tax, including on this blog, so I will try not to repeat those points here. However, I wanted to expand […]

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A Yawning Credibility Gap

Courts are supposed to defer to agencies. But that happens less often when an agency lacks credibility.

Two themes in the Trump Administration are distrust of experts and a willingness to overrule them on ideological grounds. But undermining the government’s claims to expertise may come back to haunt the Administration. Because Trump is marginalizing government scientific and economic expertise, his regulatory initiatives may get less deference from the courts. There is already a great deal of concern […]

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Trump’s Environmental Assault Begins

Clean Power Plan, Waters of the U.S. Rules First on the Chopping Block But What Remains in Place Varies Dramatically

The Washington Post is reporting that the Trump Administration will very shortly roll out two executive orders to curtail environmental protection. These rollbacks follow on the heels of the Senate’s confirmation of Scott Pruitt, who has made no secret of his antipathy for federal environmental regulations.  The first executive order, as widely expected, will tell the […]

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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

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

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.

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

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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