Regulatory Policy

Previewing California’s November 2018 Environmental Ballot Measures

Wide Array of Important Environmental Questions Confront California Voters

California’s Secretary of State has certified 12 ballot measures (“propositions,” in California election parlance) to appear on the state’s November 6, 2018 general election ballot.  Many of those propositions–indeed, fully half of the dozen measures with which state voters will be confronted this fall–involve important environmental policy and legal questions. I’ll write in greater detail […]

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What Hath FERC Wrought?

FERC’s GOP majority has taken a swipe against renewable energy. It might work, or it might backfire.

At the end of June, in a vote divided along partisan lines, FERC handed down a sweeping order that will impact electricity markets in a wide swath of the country. — likely at the expense of renewable energy and nuclear power. Unfortunately, like Trump’s power plant bailout, the result may be to delay the closing […]

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What Kind of Conservative is Kavanaugh?

Half a dozen observations on our (probably) soon to be junior Justice.

I wanted to add a few words about Kavanaugh in light of Ann Carlson’s excellent post a few minutes ago. No doubt we’ll be seeing more about his views after people have had time to read his opinions and some of his law review writing. But there are a few points I would add after […]

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Safeguarding Climate Policies

There are several strategies for insulating climate policy from leaders like Trump.

Trump’s election was a surprise. What should not be a surprise is the inevitability of political setbacks for climate policy. We saw that in the U.S. with the shift from Clinton to Bush and then from Obama to Trump. We also saw that in Australia where it meant the repeal of a promising emissions trading […]

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Agency U-Turns

Policy reversals are likely to be more frequent in an increasingly polarized society. How should courts respond?

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 […]

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The Puzzle of Capacity Markets

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 […]

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A Trumped-Up Bailout Plan

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 […]

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What Does Sports Gambling Have To Do With Environmental Law?

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 […]

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Scenarios

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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 […]

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What Trump Gives Appalachia With One Hand, He Takes Away with the Other

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 […]

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