Regulatory Policy

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


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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A Small-Government Approach to Pricing Carbon


We can impose a price on carbon without a tax or emissions trading. Here’s how.

Cap and dividend is a politically appealing idea; put a price on carbon, then refund the money to consumers in equal shares.  But conservatives and libertarians object to this idea on two grounds. First, cap-and-trade systems are complex and require a lot of regulatory oversight.  Second, if the government collects the money, despite its current […]

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National Park Service Celebrates Centennial Anniversary


It’s Time to Celebrate–and Re-Commit to–“America’s Best Idea”

This week the National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday.  On August 25, 1916, Congress enacted legislation proposed by President Woodrow Wilson to create the Park Service.  To this date, creation of the Service remains one of the nation’s most important actions to protect America’s environment.  (Documentarian Ken Burns–himself a national treasure–famously called the national […]

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Upcoming Regulatory Takings Conference 2016


Nation’s Top Annual Takings Event Set for November 4th in New Orleans

One of the most important issues in modern environmental law and policy is the extent to which constitutionally-protected property rights limit environmental regulatory programs at the federal, state and local levels.  Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has focused more attention on this question over the last four decades than any other aspect of modern environmental […]

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Beyond Administrative Law


Law students need to know about more than administrative procedure and judicial review.

Since the days of Felix Frankfurter, the Administrative Law course has been a staple of American law schools.  It’s a great course, but it’s limited.  The same is true of most of the courses on legislation and regulation in the first year, which also focus on how courts interpret statutes and how they review administrative […]

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Legal Analysis of CAISO Expansion


We don’t foresee changes to FERC jurisdiction or Commerce Clause validity

The California Independent System Operator — known as CAISO — is considering expanding its footprint to include Pacific Corp as a participating transmission owner.   CAISO recently commissioned a study that Professor William Boyd of the University of Colorado and I authored, in consultation with  Ethan Elkind  of Berkeley and UCLA and Sho Sato Professor […]

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