Regulatory Policy

Is the Green New Deal’s Ambition Smart Policy?

Some Lessons from Environmental History

At the the heart of the Green New Deal — which demands slashing U.S. carbon emissions by 2030 by shifting to 100 percent clean energy  — is a major conundrum.  Even the most enthusiastic proponents of ambitious climate policy don’t believe the goals are achievable, technologically let alone politically.  Stanford Professor Marc Z. Jacobsen, for […]

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Emmett Institute Publishes Issue Brief on California’s Clean Air Act Vehicle Authority

Co-Authored by Ann Carlson, Meredith Hankins, and Julia Stein

Cross-posted to the American Constitution Society’s ACSblog As we have previously covered in past Legal Planet posts, in an outright assault on public health and the environment, the Trump Administration recently proposed rolling back national motor vehicle emission standards put in place by the Obama Administration. As part of this proposal, the Trump Administration also […]

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To Dream the Impossible Dream

What are the pros and cons of yesterday’s proposal for a Green New Deal?

The Green New Deal proposal introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey is a call for drastic action to address climate change. Specifically, section 1(A) says that “it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal . . . to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair […]

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Flipping the Conservative Agenda

Thought experiment: take everything conservative want to do and then do the opposite.

Conservatives, with full support from Donald Trump have come up with a menu of ways to weaken the regulatory state. In honor of National Backward Day – that’s an actual thing, in case you’re wondering, and it’s today – let’s think about reversing those ideas.  In other words, let’s try to come up with similar […]

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After Trump

Suppose we get a pro-climate-action unified government. What then?

Someday, the stars will surely come into alignment and Congress will be able to pass climate legislation.  A national cap-and-trade scheme or a carbon tax would be definite possibilities.  But let’s suppose they aren’t politically feasible, maybe because of opposition from progressive on equity grounds, or maybe because for some reason the public rejects them. […]

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Commemorating a Major Environmental Disaster–One With a Transformative Legacy

1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill Sparked the Beginning of America’s Modern Environmental Era

This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most serious and consequential environmental disasters in American history–the Santa Barbara offshore oil spill of 1969.  On January 28, 1969, an offshore oil rig (Platform A) owned and operated by the Union Oil Company and operating in federally-controlled waters in the Santa Barbara Channel off […]

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Climate policy and horcruxes

What Harry Potter might have to teach us about making climate policy more resilient to political shifts

As the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes clear, the negative impacts of climate change are now upon us, and we have a very limited amount of time to decarbonize global economies in order to reduce the risk of catastrophic impacts from climate change, impacts that might begin as soon […]

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EPA’s Return to Bush-Era Clean Air Act Reforms Sacrifices Agency’s Duty to Protect Environment, Ignores the Law

Quiet changes buried behind the big de-regulatory headlines spell disaster for the environment

As I explained back in August, the Trump Administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan replacement (the “Affordable Clean Energy” or ACE rule) came with a significant change to how the EPA has traditionally interpreted the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review (NSR) provisions mandating pre-construction environmental review and the installation of air pollution controls to offset […]

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The Worst of a Bad Lot

They’re all bad, but this regulatory rollback effort stands out for sheer incompetence.

The Trump Administration has many energy and environmental initiatives, none of them good.  But in terms of shoddy analysis and tenuous evidence, the worst is the Administration’s attempt to freeze fuel efficiency standards. For sheer lack of professionalism, the Administration’s cost-benefit analysis is hard to match. And you can’t even say that the Administration is […]

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