Animal Cruelty and Interstate Commerce

A sleeper Supreme Court case could impact state climate legislation.

A month from now, the Supreme Court will hear a case about an animal cruelty law. It’s not an environmental law case, but the ruling could impact the authority of states to address climate change. Odds are that its impact will be limited, but you can never be sure of what five Justices might decide …

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Two Months from Election Day

Who will get control of the Senate? And why does that matter for the environment?

We’re now two months from election day. This is a challenging electoral cycle for the Democrats, given inflation, the continuing effects of COVID, the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, and other woes. With turnout possibly boosted by the overruling of Roe v. Wade and other developments, Democrats do have a good chance of …

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California’s Most Important Climate Bill You Haven’t Heard Of

Parking reform on Gov. Newsom's desk could deliver major environmental & equity wins

It took a decade, but the California legislature has finally delivered to the governor one of the most critical climate and equity bills in the country. No, it’s not mandating carbon neutrality or increasing renewable energy. It’s finally ending local mandates that all new housing and infill projects must include car storage, even if they’re …

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Climate Policy: What’s Happening at the State Level?

Important developments in late summer, some impacting multiple states.

States have played a critical role in U.S. climate policy. The federal government is now supporting that role with federal funding for states. In the meantime, a number of states have moved a step further in plans to phase out gas and diesel vehicles. Two key states have ramped up their plans for carbon neutrality, …

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Jobs and Environmental Regulation

"Job-killing regulation"? That's not really what the evidence tells us.

Labor Day is a good time to talk about an important topic: the impact of environmental regulation on jobs. This is a clearly a fraught issue. In support of his deregulation campaign, President Trump promised to “cancel every needless job-killing regulation and put a moratorium on new regulations until our economy gets back on its …

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A Design Flaw in the Clean Air Act

Why have technology-based standards if you have air quality standards?

The Clean Air Act has two kinds of standards. It sounds like having two kinds of standards should improve air quality more than a single standard. But in reality, one type of standard can result in canceling out the benefits of the other type. If you understand the statute, this is actually pretty obvious once …

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Does the New Climate Law Expand Regulatory Authority?

It’s not the game changer some people think, but IRA could help in several ways.

There’s been a lot of recent talk about whether the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) indirectly overrides West Virginia v. EPA.  The answer to that is probably “no.”  However, some IRA provisions will help lawyers  defend certain regulatory actions. IRA may also have an important framing effect when courts are considering the reasonableness of agency actions. …

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The Inflation Reduction Act and California Offshore Wind

There May Be Workarounds for Delays in Offshore Wind Created by IRA Section 50265

Various measures in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed into law on August 16, 2022, create new momentum for offshore wind in California. However, as with all things in life, it’s never that simple. In this case, the IRA ties offshore wind (OSW) leases to offshore oil and gas auctions and prevents OSW leases from …

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Now You’re in Law School. What Should You Take?

There’s more than one path to environmentally meaningful work.

On Monday, I explained why this is an especially urgent time for new law students to be thinking about the climate crisis and how they can contribute as lawyers. The next question is how to prepare for that work.  Here’s what I would say to a student in that position: The first thing to realize …

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A Three-Prong Attack on Carbon Emissions

A trio of new laws will power the energy transition.

Passage of IRA was clearly a big deal, with nearly $380 billion devoted to climate and other environmental issues.  But IRA is only one of the three big climate bills passed in the ten months.  The three represent a concerted effort to accelerate the energy transition. The earliest was the Infrastructure Act last November.  In …

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