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 […]
Legally deficient? Arbitrary? Disguised special interest favors? All par for the course in this Administration.
You couldn’t ask for a more typical example of the Trump Administration at work. Nuclear and coal plants are being closed across the country, unable to compete with cheap natural gas and increasingly cheap renewables. In a desperate effort to support the coal industry, Trump wants to force consumers to subsidize these plants. It’s not […]
A Lot, Potentially, Following the Supreme Court’s Murphy v. NCAA Decision
Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a major decision invalidating a federal statute that had prohibited states from allowing betting on competitive sporting events. Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, is one of those relatively rare Supreme Court decisions that directly affects a substantial portion of the American public. So it’s no great surprise that […]
We live in an uncertain world. Scenario planning can help.
When Shell Oil produced a sophisticated scenario of the path to a carbon neutral world in 2070, a lot people took notice. Shell concluded that the “relevant transformations in the energy and natural systems require concurrent climate policy action and the deployment of disruptive new technologies at mass scale within government policy environments that strongly […]
Ryan Zinke’s public land policies are accelerating the decline of eastern coal.
There is no one who Trump loves more than coal miners, and he has surrounded himself with Appalachian coal miners on important occasions. One of his most fervent pledges was to “end the war on coal.” Yet, Trump’s public lands policies are helping to accelerate the decline of eastern coal. A recent study by researchers […]
Justices Uphold Water Board’s “User Pays” Fee System Against Constitutional Attack
The California Supreme Court has handed the State Water Resources Control Board a major legal win, rejecting an industry challenge to the “user pays”-based system of funding the Board’s water pollution control system. In doing so, the Supreme Court has fended off yet another constitutional challenge to the manner in which environmental regulatory fees are […]
EPA seems unsure of the legal authority for its proposal — and for good reason.
“They sat at the Agency and said, ‘what can we do to reimagine authority under the statutes to regulate an area that we are unsure that we can but we’re going to do so anyway?’” When he said those words, Scott Pruitt was talking about the Obama Administration. But it seems to be a pretty […]
Ironically, the proposal calling for greater transparency provides little clue into the agency’s thinking.
EPA recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking entitled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.” The proposal would prohibit the agency from considering studies of health risks unless enough data is made publicly available to allow EPA or industry to validate the results. That sounds fine, but these studies often involve either confidential health records or […]
When land-use deregulation gets characterized as regulation, and why
Perhaps the biggest topic in land-use law and housing affordability in California over the past couple of months has been a piece of legislation introduced by State Senator Wiener, SB 827. Ethan has blogged quite a bit about the bill – the basic concept of the legislation is to eliminate or significantly restrict a number […]