Regulatory Policy

Reproductive Rights Meet . . . Waste Disposal Law?

Texas aims to limit abortion via environmental regulation

All know that by a 5-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court in June struck down as “undue burdens” on the exercise of reproductive rights the State of Texas’s 2013 restrictions on abortion facilities.  Those rules required facilities to meet illogical physical premises requirements and to have physicians with local hospital admitting privileges – privileges the […]

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Reviewing the REVIEW Act

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This bill is in the running for the all-time “lame legislation” prize.

You can tell right away that this bill — passed by the House only yesterday — is a really clunker.  The title is Require Evaluation Before Implementing Executive Wishlists Act of 2016.  Really, that’s the best they could come up with?  But it only gets worse. The bill provides that no “high-impact rule” can go […]

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Why Doesn’t the GOP Offer Alternative Solutions to Environmental Problems?

Republicans hate conventional regulations. But they’ve given up on offering alternatives. Here’s why.

There’s one thing we all know: the Republican Party hates regulation.  Republicans want to roll back some  key regulations and make it a lot harder to pass new ones.  But there’s a curious silence about alternatives to regulation.  For decades, conservative Republicans have denounced “command and control” regulations by EPA and other agencies.  So why don’t they […]

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California Enacts Legislation Targeting Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

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The statute codifies the goals set by the Governor and ARB

On Monday, Governor Brown signed SB 1383 into law, establishing statewide targets for reducing what are known as “short-lived climate pollutants,” which I have discussed in previous posts. The law requires a 40% reduction in both methane and hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs) below 2013 levels, and a 50% reduction in black carbon from 2013 level. Legislators […]

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The Clean Water Act, Federalism, Big Money and the California Supreme Court

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Ill-considered Supreme Court Decision Threatens California’s Administration of Clean Water Act Permit Program

The California Supreme Court recently issued a little-noticed decision on a seemingly arcane state public finance issue that could well wind up having a dramatic, negative effect on California’s continued ability to administer the federal Clean Water Act’s permit program in the Golden State. The case is Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates.  In […]

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The Battle for the Senate: Eight Key States

Senate seats up for reelection

The outcome of these races will have a major impact on environmental policy.

As important as the presidential election is, the presidency isn’t the only important federal office at stake. This year, an unusual number of Senate races could go either way, and control of the Senate hangs in the balance. The Democrats need to pick up 4 seats  (if Kaine is VP) or 5 (if Pence is VP). Over […]

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Of Pipelines, Protests, and General Permits

A fight in North Dakota reveals problems in how we permit and review large infrastructure projects

Native American tribes and environmental groups are currently protesting the completion of an oil pipeline in North Dakota.  The pipeline would travel beneath the Missouri River.  Tribes and environmentalists are fighting the pipeline both through litigation and also through direct action (occupying the site where the construction to complete the pipeline beneath the river would […]

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Why Does Industry Always Attack New Rules?

It makes businesses look obstructionist and often gains them nothing. So why do they do it?

It seems like every time EPA makes a move, industry says it’s another job-killing power grab by the government and files court challenges within about an hour of EPA’s action.  But why?  The rule often survives judicial review, so industry spends millions on lawyers and gets nothing in return.  It’s true that industry does often win at […]

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Major Challenges Face the National Park Service in Its Next Century

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Park Overcrowding, Crumbling Infrastructure, Changing Constituency Top the List

(This is the third in a series of posts this week commemorating the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service.) To be sure, the National Park Service has much to celebrate as it observes its 100th birthday.  The Park Service oversees a stunning and diverse set of national parks, monuments, historic and […]

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