air pollution

Thoughts on AB 398

New bill to extend state’s cap-and-trade program is a compromise worth making

The Governor and state legislative leaders announced a deal on a bill to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program to control greenhouse gas emissions through 2030, along with companion legislation to increase emissions reductions for conventional pollutants from major stationary industrial sources (a key point for environmental justice groups).  Some leading business groups have endorsed the …

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Cutting Through the Smog

New research highlights the importance of reducing ozone pollution and suggests ways to do it.

As a change of pace, here’s a post that’s not about Trump, Pruitt, or their friends in Congress.  Two recent papers highlight the importance of EPA’s tightening of the air quality standard for ozone and suggest some ways of doing so that could be more acceptable to industry. (We’re talking about ground-level smog here, not …

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“States’ Rights” and Environmental Law: California on the Front Lines

EPA’s Assault on Air Quality Protection Will Aim at California’s Standards, While Other States Have Given Up Their Authority to Protect Public Health and the Environment More Strictly

This article just published in the Atlantic explains well one of the many ways that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt may attempt to deeply harm our environment for decades to come: through declining to grant, or revoking, the waivers that allow California to regulate air pollution from new motor vehicle engines more strictly than the federal government does. …

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Trump’s Budget Cuts: Even Worse Than You Thought

As you dive into the details, things keep looking worse.

Trump is proposing huge cuts to EPA and other agencies. That’s bad enough. We’re beginning to learn more details, and the message is grim.  While these cuts may not emerge from Congress at the end of the day, they do express the Administration’s goals. In particular, they demonstrate that the Administration is deeply hostile to environmental science and …

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A Coalition of the Willing

States need to work together to make progress happen in the age of Trump.

In the short time since the election, it’s already become a truism that state governments will have to keep the flame alive for environmental protection. But it’s not just individual state governments. It’s also crucial for states to work together. There’s been a lot of loose talk about “Calexit” out here. Secession is unconstitutional. (As …

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A Floor Price for Gasoline

A floor price would encourage energy efficient cars and generate revenue.

The price of gasoline fluctuates like crazy, tracking the price of oil.  In a recent blog post and an earlier paper, my colleagues at the business school have put forward a really innovative proposal: a minimum price for gasoline.  When oil costs go below a certain level, gas prices would stay stuck at that point. …

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Another California Regulatory Agency in Crisis: Southern California’s Air Quality Management District Fires Longtime Executive Officer

Barry Wallerstein’s Ouster from SCAQMD Signals Tilt Away from Protection of Public Health

In a move that shocked the environmental advocacy community and low-income communities of color that suffer most from the impacts of poor air quality in Los Angeles, the governing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District fired its longtime executive officer Barry Wallerstein today, voting 7-6 in closed session to remove him from …

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“Necessary and Appropriate”

EPA has now formally proposed its response to the Supreme Court’s opinion in Michigan v. EPA

Although the Paris talks are justifiably getting the lion’s share of the attention, there have been other significant environmental actions recently. One of those involves the EPA’s effort to reduce toxic emissions from power plants (particularly coal-fired plants). The Clean Air Act gives special treatment to toxic emissions from power plants. Other sources are regulated …

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Air quality and wildfire

We may need to burn more to get less smoke

One of the impacts of California’s difficult fire season has been air pollution. Fires produce smoke. Large wildfires produce a lot of smoke. And large wildfires in the southern Sierra Nevada produce smoke in the southern Central Valley – the part of the United States that already has some of the worst air quality in …

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Lost in the Ozone Again

The Ozone Standard, Regulatory Pragmatism, and the Rule of Law

  EPA issued a new regulation last week that mandates a reduction in ozone levels to 70 ppm from the current 75 ppm (originally set by the Bush Administration). The new regulation was immediately attacked by industry and environmentalists. According to industry, the regulation will be a job-killing burden on the economy. According to environmentalists, …

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