Over the last fifty years, we have made huge progress in cleaning up the nation’s air. Overall pollution levels have dropped by 70 percent since the 1970s, cars are 99 percent cleaner, and we’ve essentially eliminated lead from the atmosphere. The Clean Air Act is the main reason for this success, saving countless lives and […]
Reflections From a Review of Kavanaugh’s D.C. Circuit Opinions
As we await the outcome of President Trump’s nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, journalists and legal scholars have been scouring Judge Kavanaugh’s past decisions and legal writings for indications as to how he might resolve pressing legal questions if installed on the Court. I’m adding here a few thoughts to the many […]
The Legal Grounds For Doing So Are Dubious At Best
As expected, the Trump Administration has released its proposal that recommends freezing combined fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards at 2020 levels for model years 2021-2025. The proposal also recommends revoking the waiver EPA granted California in 2013 to issue its own greenhouse gas emissions standards and to continue the state’s program to gradually increase […]
On June 13th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking soliciting comments on how to improve the consistency and transparency of the cost benefit analyses that guide EPA’s regulatory decision making. Both are praiseworthy goals, particularly because executive orders issued by the Trump administration last year resulted in cost benefit analysis being used not […]
FERC’s GOP majority has taken a swipe against renewable energy. It might work, or it might backfire.
At the end of June, in a vote divided along partisan lines, FERC handed down a sweeping order that will impact electricity markets in a wide swath of the country. — likely at the expense of renewable energy and nuclear power. Unfortunately, like Trump’s power plant bailout, the result may be to delay the closing […]
Scientists’ Brief Argues Federal Agencies and Courts Must Use Science in Interpreting “Habitat” Under the Endangered Species Act; Clinic Clients Include Profs. Stuart Pimm & E.O. Wilson, Along With Three MacArthur “Genius” Award Recipients & Ten Other Esteemed Scientists
Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act in 1973 to protect species at risk of extinction. Congress viewed species extinction as an urgent threat requiring urgent, decisive action. The result was a bipartisan law designed to apply scientific knowledge and expertise to managing the threats to U.S. species. While the Act has been controversial, and characterized […]
Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Former Coal Lobbyist, to Serve as Acting Administrator
As Dan Farber just pointed out, President Trump announced minutes ago via Twitter that Scott Pruitt is (finally) stepping down as Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency. Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the coal industry, will serve as Acting Administrator pending confirmation of a new Administrator. I have a few quick […]
The Supreme Court may be shifting the rules for reviewing agency interpretations of statutes.
In June, the Supreme Court decided two cases that could have significant implications for environmental law. The two cases may shed some light on the Court’s current thinking about the Chevron doctrine. The opinions suggest that the Court may be heading in the direction of more rigorous review of interpretations of statutes by agencies like […]
Policy reversals are likely to be more frequent in an increasingly polarized society. How should courts respond?
The Trump Administration is doing its best to wipe out Obama’s regulatory legacy. How will the courts respond to such a radical policy change? The philosophical clash between these last two Presidents is especially stark, but this is far from being the first time that agencies have taken U-turns. This is the fifth time in […]
What are capacity markets and why do they matter?
If you live in the Midwest, East of the Mississippi and North of the Mason-Dixon line, or in Arkansas or Louisiana, the companies that generate your electricity are covered by what are called capacity markets. I’ll bet you didn’t know that. That’s actually part of the problem, because there’s very little transparency and hence little […]