Regulatory Policy

Scott Gottlieb and the FDA

scott gottlieb

The FDA nominee compares favorably with some of Trump’s choices. But there are still problems.

There was a time when it might not have seemed particularly noteworthy that a presidential nominee was competent and sane. But we do not live in those times. So it is actually worth taking notice of the fact that Scott Gottlieb, Trump’s nominee to head FDA, is competent and sane. And unlike some other Trump […]

Continue Reading

Trump’s EPA Budget in Perspective

budget cuts

An new analysis highlights how harmful the cuts would be.

The Environmental Protection Network, a coalition of former EPA professionals, has issued a detailed analysis of Trump’s proposed EPA budget.  We knew the proposal was bad, but the new analysis shows just how damaging the proposed cuts would be on many different dimensions.  Here are a few key takeaways. First EPA’s budget is already lean.  Adjusting […]

Continue Reading

The Future Of Energy In 2030

commercial-solar-panels1

Register now for the California State Bar Environmental Law Conference in Los Angeles on April 12th

How we generate, distribute and use electricity is key to meeting California’s environmental and greenhouse gas reduction goals. We need to be much more efficient with the electricity we use, while ensuring that it comes from greenhouse gas-free sources, like solar, wind, and geothermal, coupled with energy storage technologies. We also will need to electrify […]

Continue Reading

A Motley Crew

epa-logo

Trump has placed about a dozen people in EPA. They’re already causing problems.

ProPublica has a list of Trump appointees to agencies. They can be aptly described as a motley crew. The most significant is probably Senior White House Advisor Donald Benton, a former Washington State senator and Trump’s regional campaign manager. Once ran a county environmental office. According to the Seattle Times, “he has an almost perfect […]

Continue Reading

The Trump Administration’s False Stories About the Environmental Protection Agency Are Meant to Take the Agency Down

Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt Distort the Facts About EPA’s Mission, History, and Success

The Trump Administration has made clear its plans to systematically dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency.  Destroying the EPA will be a key element of the administration’s fight, in the words of White House policy advisor Steve Bannon, to achieve the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”  Republicans in Congress appear to support this effort.  EPA Administrator Scott […]

Continue Reading

“States’ Rights” and Environmental Law: California on the Front Lines

EPA’s Assault on Air Quality Protection Will Aim at California’s Standards, While Other States Have Given Up Their Authority to Protect Public Health and the Environment More Strictly

This article just published in the Atlantic explains well one of the many ways that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt may attempt to deeply harm our environment for decades to come: through declining to grant, or revoking, the waivers that allow California to regulate air pollution from new motor vehicle engines more strictly than the federal government does. […]

Continue Reading

Trump’s Budget Cuts: Even Worse Than You Thought

budget cut

As you dive into the details, things keep looking worse.

Trump is proposing huge cuts to EPA and other agencies. That’s bad enough. We’re beginning to learn more details, and the message is grim.  While these cuts may not emerge from Congress at the end of the day, they do express the Administration’s goals. In particular, they demonstrate that the Administration is deeply hostile to environmental science and […]

Continue Reading

2050: The Challenges Ahead

WorldPopulationGrowth2050

How will we cope with a huge population increase and climate change?

Let’s look past today’s political travails and think longer-range. What will things look like in 2050? There are more details below, but here’s the general picture. World population will probably grow by 2.5 billion people between now and 2050, with about half of the increase in Africa. Given historically weak economic growth in those areas […]

Continue Reading

The End of the Cost-Benefit State?

executie order

Trump is targeting regulations for elimination even if their benefits exceed their costs.

Some scholars have proclaimed a vision of the regulatory state centering on cost-benefit analysis (CBA). They mean that quantitive comparisons of costs and benefits is now the foundation of regulatory decisions, arguably blessed by the Supreme Court in one of Scalia’s last opinions. Environmentalists weren’t convinced this was a good idea.  Neither, as it turns out, is Donald Trump.  He doesn’t seem […]

Continue Reading

Conservatives as Environmentalists

Ronald Reagan, courtesy National Archives

Environmentalism isn’t an aberration in conservatives. It has deep roots going back to the 1960s.

Scott Pruitt’s appointment as head of EPA illustrates how conservatism has become synonymous with anti-environmentalism.  But that’s really a drastic oversimplification, as I explain in a new paper about the history of conservative environmentalism. There were moments of strong environmentalism in the earlier days of the conservative movement.  When he was running for mayor of New York City, William […]

Continue Reading