The Trump Administration’s Latest Efforts to Hobble the Clean Water Act

Administration’s New Plan to Eviscerate States’ CWA § 401 Certification Authority Is Flawed Procedurally & Substantively

By now, readers of Legal Planet are well aware of President Trump’s ongoing efforts to rescind the Obama Administration’s “Waters of the United States” rule and replace it with a new federal regulation that dramatically circumscribes federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.  My Legal Planet colleagues and I have previously blogged on this […]

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Resolving Interconnection Disputes to Speed Clean Technology Deployment

New California agency dispute resolution process in need of expert panelists

When a homeowner or business wants to install clean technology like renewable electricity generation or energy storage either for on-site usage or as a grid service, they occasionally run into problems obtaining approvals from the local electric utility to connect that resource to the electrical grid. The owner must enter into an interconnection agreement with […]

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Where’s the Beef?

Mississippi’s “Veggie Burgers” Ban is Almost Certainly Unconstitutional

Mississippi recently passed a law that has the effect of banning terms like “veggie burger.”  It’s easy to imagine other states passing similar laws. From an environmental view, that’s problematic, because beef in particular is connected with much higher greenhouse gas emissions than plant products.  It’s not just the methane from cow-burps, it’s also all […]

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Will Self-Driving Battery Electric Buses Replace Rail Transit?

A question for LA Metro CEO Phil Washington at “LA Infill” conference at UCLA Law on July 24th

Many urbanists, environmentalists, and transit enthusiasts love rail. Los Angeles voters in particular have repeatedly expressed the wish for more rail, approving county sales tax increases by overwhelming margins in 2008 and 2016, along with prior measures in 1980 and 1990, in part to fund a nation-leading, multi-billion dollar rail transit build out (a history […]

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Is the Sun Finally Rising in the Southeast?

Slowly, and a bit grudgingly, the Old South is moving toward solar.

Southern states like to brag about their sunny weather.  Florida even calls itself the Sunshine State.  Yet the region lags well behind in terms of putting that sunshine to work. But it appears that change is coming.  Solar generating capacity in the Southeast is expected to nearly double over the next three years, though from […]

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Warren’s public lands policy proposal

The Senator’s policy proposals have a lot of good points, but could be even better

Senator Elizabeth Warren has become famous for her policy plan documents as she runs for President. A few months ago, she released a new one focusing on public lands. The key points in her plan include: A moratorium on all new fossil fuel leasing on federal public lands Providing 10% of US renewable energy from […]

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Does the US have a delegation problem?

A comparison of US and Canadian environmental law indicates perhaps not

One of the big cases at the end of this year’s Supreme Court term was Gundy v. United States, where four justices signaled they were open to reviving a long dormant doctrine, the non-delegation doctrine, to constrain open-ended delegations of authority from Congress to Executive Branch agencies. There’s been various prognostications as to whether the […]

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The Witching Auer

The Supreme Court rules on deference to agency interpretations.

The Court’s opinion in Kisor v. Wilkie was eagerly awaited by administrative law experts.  It is one skirmish in the ongoing war over deference to agencies.  In this case, the issue was whether to overrule the Auer doctrine, which requires courts to defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of its own regulations.  This doctrine, like […]

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Can Planting Trees Solve Climate Change?

global tree restoration potential

Unfortunately, a new scientific paper overstates forests’ potential

Today, The Guardian reports: Tree planting ‘has mind-blowing potential’ to tackle climate crisis Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists… As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating. New research estimates […]

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Some Thoughts About “The Pursuit of Happiness”

What did the Declaration of Independence mean? And why does it matter?

When looking for something else, I stumbled on a Fourth of July post that I wrote almost a decade ago.  Despite the temptation to rewrite,  I’ve made a only a few small tweaks.   It seems, if anything, more relevant today, when our society seems so divided about fundamental values and our President has devoted his life to […]

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The Democratic Presidential Candidates Should Debate How to Address Climate Change

The DNC Can Help to Make Climate Change Into an Issue of Consequence for the Campaign

This is my first post in my new role at the UC Berkeley Center for Law, Energy, and Environment, working on Project Climate.  Last year, as a Legal Planet guest blogger, I wrote that political will and scale are the two biggest challenges of climate change response.  So for this first post, I want to […]

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