Looking Ahead: Inauguration Day, 2021.

There are 3 plausible scenarios for the new balance of power.

Inauguration day is a year from today.   What will the balance of power be then?  The House doesn’t seem to be in play.  Democrats have an uphill fight to win the Senate,  so a GOP White House would probably mean a GOP Senate.  That leaves three likely scenarios, with different implications for environmental law. Scenario …

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Juliana and the Future of Climate Litigation

Asking judges to pass judgment on all U.S. energy policy was a bridge too far.

The Ninth Circuit threw out the Juliana litigation this morning.  The two judges in the majority basically said,  legalistic language, that you can’t get the Green New Deal by court order. It was wrong for the Supreme Court to step in at the last minute to put the trial on hold, rather than giving the …

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New California Report on State Climate Policies Released

Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee Recommends Focus on Transportation, Affordability, Allowance Banking, Allowance Supply and the Effects of Overlapping Policies in the Regional Electricity Market

The California Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee released its annual report yesterday making recommendations about California climate policy. I serve as the Vice Chair of  the committee and as the Speaker of the Assembly’s appointee. Our report makes five recommendations: that the state focus on the affordability of its carbon policies, with special concern about …

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The Bleak California Housing Picture By Numbers

Key recent studies and data can inform the legislative debate

As the debate over SB 50 and other state legislative efforts to boost California’s housing supply heats up, it’s worth reviewing some of the data about how dire the housing situation is in the state. Here are some tidbits: High Home Prices and Rents: According to the California Legislative Analysts Office, the average California home …

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Congress Mandates Pentagon Climate Action

The GOP’s climate denial doesn’t extend to DOD.

Everyone says climate laws can never pass Congress.  But there’s a major exception. Each year since Trump took office, Congress has passed climate legislation as part of Defense Department spending. Trump has signed all of those laws.  In 2017, there was a congressional finding that climate change is a threat to national security.  In 2018, …

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Dark Waters in Dark Times

Citizen Petition Presses EPA To Call Chemicals in Environmental Docudrama "Hazardous Waste"

This holiday season, A-list actors drew moviegoers to a film with a distinctly un-Hollywood plot line:  A company dumps thousands of pounds of toxic, long-lived chemicals (PFAS, or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) into unlined pits that drain into a farming community’s drinking water.  Local residents fall ill, some terminally.  A heroic attorney (Mark Ruffalo) represents them …

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The Real Lesson From Madrid’s Failed Climate Conference? Spain’s Success On Urban Quality of Life & Carbon Emissions

Southern European nation excels at walkability, reduced emissions & resident happiness

The UN climate conference in Madrid last month may have ended poorly, but conference attendees had a big success story right in front of them in the host country. Spain’s success achieving efficient – and enjoyable – land use and transportation outcomes is a model other countries and states should emulate to address climate change. …

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Misunderstanding the Law of Causation

Trump's NEPA proposal flunks Torts as well as Environmental Science 101.

Last week’s NEPA proposal bars agencies from considering many of the harms their actions will produce, such as climate change. These restrictions profoundly misunderstand the nature of environmental problems and are based on the flimsiest of legal foundations. Specifically, the proposal tells agencies they do not need to consider environmental “effects if they are remote …

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Pride Goeth Before a Fall

Trump thinks he can tell courts how to interpret NEPA. He's wrong.

White House has just released its proposed revisions to the rules about environmental impact statements. The  White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) simply does not have the kind of power that it is trying to arrogate to itself. The proposal is marked by hubris about the government’s ability to control how the courts apply the …

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Andy and Dave Shoot the Breeze

An inside look at the Trump Administration.

[Open with a shot of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt at his desk with his phone to his ear. Ring tone in the background.  Split screen after EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler picks up.] Bernhardt:  Hey Andy, how ya doin’?  How’s life in the Inferior Department? Wheeler:  Not so bad, Davey boy, not so bad. B:  You …

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