Why Is Los Angeles Embracing Stupid Growth?

Council Wants Hotels, But No Housing

Yesterday, I expressed wonder that the City of Los Angeles actually did planning right for a change. Obviously, I jinxed it. Reducing VMT, and thus carbon emissions, requires cities to plan and zone for affordable housing (whether defined as deed-restricted or simply at a reasonable market rate). But despite city leaders’ claims of an affordable […]

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California groundwater management, science-policy interfaces, and the legacies of artificial legal distinctions

By Dave Owen and Michael Kiparsky

One of the many noteworthy features of California’s  Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is that it requires local government agencies to consider and address the effects of groundwater management upon interconnected surface water. That requirement is an important step towards rationalizing California water management, which has long treated groundwater and surface water as separate resources.  […]

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Grandma Saves The City!

New Data Shows Hope For Affordable Housing In the Most Unlikely Place: Los Angeles

It’s not often that you get some good planning news from Los Angeles, but at least if you believe the City’s numbers, there are some. The Planning Department’s latest housing numbers, from its year-end 2018 Quarterly Report, state that in light of SB 1069 (Wieckowski), which substantially liberalized the construction of Accessory Dwellling Units (ADUs), […]

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The Trajectory of Environmental Law Scholarship: 1975-2018

The volume of scholarship has swelled, as attention has turned to climate and renewable energy.

Over the time I’ve been following environmental law, there’s been a dramatic increase in the amount of scholarship in the field.  Back in 2011, I did a search of the Westlaw “Journals and Law Reviews” database for  (“environmental regulation” “air pollution” “water pollution” “endangered species”) with date restrictions.  Although this search is only an approximation, I figured […]

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Trump’s Campaign to Gag Activist Shareholders

His recent executive order tries to “protect” oil companiy management from smart climate planning.

Exxon management was not pleased when shareholders forced them to produce a report on how climate change would impact their business. In May, Exxon is facing another shareholder vote on whether to form a climate change committee on the Board of Directors and whether to  disclose how sea level rise will impact its investments on the […]

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Journalism and Political Polarization

Reporters Might Hold A Key To Improving Environmental Politics

It’s no surprise that American politics has gotten significantly more polarized over the last three decades, so it stands to reason that legislatures have gotten more polarized as well. But in a recent article in the Journal of Political Economy by James Snyder and David Stromberg, brought to my attention by Professor Seth Masket writing […]

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Can Voter Registration Combat NIMBYism?

Homeless Voting Can Change the Urban Political Calculus

NIMBY land use politics stems from a classic political process failure: the people who would benefit from more housing do not yet live in the jurisdiction where it will be built — and for the most part, do not even know that they will be the ones who will live there. Thus, local officeholders have […]

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Happy Tax Day!

It’s the perfect time to talk about a carbon tax.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that taxes are the prices we pay for a civilized society.  A carbon tax, if we ever get one,  might turn out to be the price we pay for a sustainable planet.  I’m not wedded to it as a tool for cutting carbon, and I don’t think it would […]

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Cleveland, City of Light, City of Magic

Newspaper Layoffs Claim The Plain Dealer’s Energy Reporting

On Tuesday, I wrote about the demise of local newspapers nationwide and in particular the collapse of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, arguing that universities need to fill the gap of quality journalism. I also suggested that this is an environmental issue, as it is local newspapers’ coverage of the environment that often drives the conversation. […]

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What Else Should Congress Investigate?

Understandably, a lot of attention is focused on the White House. But other issues cry out for investigation.

Every day, it seems that there is a headline about some investigatiion  involving tcampaign finance violations, the White House, or the actions of some foreign power. Perhaps that’s all the bandwidth that Congress has. But there are other areas calling out for inquiry.  Here are just a few: CAFE Standards.  The car industry asked for […]

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Even Worse Than Duke

San Francisco Takes NIMBYism to a New Level

A few years ago, an episode of South Park saw Cartman attempting to rescue Kyle in San Francisco from a SMUG  alert. It was, as it is so often, ahead of its time: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously rejected a 63-unit apartment complex, including 15 below-market-rate units, because it would cast […]

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