“Fully Protected” No More?
Newsom’s infrastructure package makes a big change for California species protection
Last week, the Newsom administration announced a budget trailer bill package it said was designed to facilitate the deployment of historic federal infrastructure funding for climate-friendly projects. The package consists of 11 separate trailer bills, dealing with a variety of topics ranging from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to state contracting rules. Unsurprisingly, the …
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A Climate Trial in Montana Sets the Scene for More
Held v. Montana is the first of many climate lawsuits by youth plaintiffs to go to trial. Big Sky Country is a fitting forum for this phase of climate change litigation.
Young people who have the most to lose from climate change have filed lawsuits in all 50 states, but the first of these cases to go to trial will be in Montana—unofficially nicknamed “the Last Best Place”—which may be the perfect venue for a landmark trial about government culpability for the global climate crisis. Starting …
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The role of regulatory relationships in wastewater innovation
by Nell Green Nylen, Michael Kiparsky, and Anita Milman
Public water and wastewater utilities are increasingly struggling to meet society’s expectations. Their basic infrastructure is aging, budgets are tight, and they face a barrage of stressors, from population growth to climate change and shifting regulatory expectations. What’s more, in addition to performing their traditional function of protecting human health and water quality, many wastewater …
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The Biden Power Plant Rule and the Major Question Doctrine
The new rule has hardly any of the features that caused the Supreme Court to strike down the Obama rule.
We’ve already started to hear claims that the Biden power plant rule falls under the major question doctrine, which the Supreme Court used to strike down Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Are those claims plausible? Consider the aspects of the Clean Power Plan that the Supreme Court found objectionable. I’ve identified eight factors that the Court …
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Environmental Law Again Front-and-Center at California Supreme Court
Local Government's Authority to Limit Oil & Gas Development To Be Argued Before Justices
For the first two decades of this century, and under the able leadership of former Chief Justices Ronald George and Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the California Supreme Court was quite active in interpreting and shaping California environmental law. That trend had abated in the last few years–coincidentally or not during the height of the COVID epidemic–with only …
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Local Authority Over Oil Drilling Heads to California Supreme Court
Cities and counties have long held authority to decide where and whether to allow oil and gas exploration and extraction. The state’s high court can make that crystal clear.
If California residents decide by voter initiative to limit land uses for oil and gas extraction in their county, can fossil fuel businesses turn around and claim state preemption to overturn the voice of the voters? That’s what is at issue in a case that’s headed to the State Supreme Court. Oral arguments in this …
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New York’s New Environmental Justice Law
Unless amended or carefully implemented, there's a risk the law could hurt the communities it’s meant to serve.
New York has enacted what may be the country’s most stringent environmental justice law. The state deserves credit for its commitment to remedying the unfair pollution burdens placed on disadvantaged communities. The law is so broadly worded, however, that it may have the potential to prevent economic development that would aid those communities, or even …
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Air Quality Watchdog Agrees to Get Tougher on Refineries
There’s a favorable settlement in the case brought by Earthjustice on behalf of EYCEJ with help from UCLA law students.
Last year, the South Coast Air Quality Management District was accused of not properly enforcing a state law that requires petroleum refineries to install air-quality monitoring systems around their perimeter. Essentially, the air quality watchdog exempted smaller refineries from having to follow the rules. Now, the SCAQMD has agreed to reverse course and move to …
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The Winding Path of Australian Climate Policy
After many travails, the country now seems to be headed in the right direction.
On a per capita basis, Australia’s carbon emissions are even higher than the United States. A decade ago, Australia had a climate tax. That was repealed in 2014, and the ensuing period saw little progress. In the past two years, however, the things have started trending upward after years of inaction by conservative governments. More …
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Taming the Dormant Commerce Clause
A new Supreme Court opinion is good news for state climate regulators.
Although the Constitution does not say so directly, the Supreme Court has said there are implied limits on state regulations that interfere with interstate commerce.. This is known as the dormant commerce clause doctrine. State clean energy laws have been bedeviled by challenges based on this doctrine. The Supreme Court has just made it easier …
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