Cynthia Giles Tackles Busy Agenda in High-Ranking EPA Post

The following was written by Andrew Cohen for Berkeley Law’s Newsroom. As the new enforcement chief for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Cynthia Giles [Berkeley Law alum of] ’78 is anything but naïve about the enormity of her position and the pressure it brings. “We have a lot of important work to do,” says …

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Corps proposes to require individual permits for mountaintop removal mining

Last month, the Obama administration announced an interagency agreement to develop a coordinated policy on mountaintop removal mining. Now the Army Corps of Engineers has taken the first step toward implementing that promise. The Corps has been permitting mountaintop mining through Nationwide Permit 21, a process that provides little opportunity for public input and environmental …

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One step toward Klamath River dam removal, many more remain

The agreement to remove four dams on the Klamath River in Oregon and California is one step closer to implementation. Yesterday Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed into law a bill that will provide up to $180 million from surcharges on electric rates toward the costs of decommissioning and removing the dams. The new law is …

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Cap and trade: it’s never worked, so let’s try it on a massive scale

Why exactly do people believe that cap-and-trade is going to be effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Let’s face it: cap and trade is a nice idea that simply doesn’t work in practice. The one success story that proponents have held up was the successful effort to control acid rain. However, that program involved a …

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For once, regulation precedes crisis

Often government doesn’t notice, or at least isn’t sufficiently motivated to respond to, the need for regulation until after something goes badly wrong (witness the financial market meltdown). But this week the National Marine Fisheries Service got ahead of the curve. On Monday, NMFS finalized a rule prohibiting all fishing for krill, the non-charismatic but …

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The U.S. Supreme Court; the Environment – It’s Not Too Late to Get Briefed

Recently, Berkeley Law’s environmental faculty presented a fast-paced, informative webcast on the numerous, key environmental law decisions handed down by the United Supreme Court in its just-concluded Term. The 90-minute webcast was sponsored and hosted by Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE). Berkeley Law professors Dan Farber, Holly Doremus, Eric Biber …

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The Sotomayor Hearing and the Climate Nuisance Case

The NY Times reports that one issue in the confirmation hearing may be a case involving climate change.  The plaintiffs sued under the federal common law of nuisance for injunctive relief against public utilities for their carbon emissions.  The case has now been pending before a panel including Judge Sotomayor for several years. It’s definitely …

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Of judges and umpires

With the Senate about to begin hearings on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and major league baseball at the all-star break, thoughts turn naturally to the intersection of America’s Court and America’s pastime. That intersection, of course, lies at the question of whether the judge should play the same role in …

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Setbacks for Coal

Two setbacks for coal this week:  First, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued an order that will result in further delay of the Longleaf coal-fired power plant proposed for Early County, Georgia.  Second, U.S. EPA notified the state of Kansas and Sunflower Electric Power Corp. that a new air quality permit will be required before …

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Bad News for Climate Reductions, Troubling Prospects for Copenhagen

President Obama’s failure at the G-8 summit to get the largest developing countries to agree to set goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 was  only one piece of bad news this week for efforts to attack global warming.   Although the House of Representatives narrowly passed the Waxman-Markey bill last week, prospects in the …

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