air pollution

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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Volkswagen

What Does That Name Mean Now?

Stunning. But not shocking. That was my reaction to the massive fraud admitted by Volkswagen recently. Stunning in its sheer size and reach; half a million cars in the United States and another ten and a half million globally. Yet not very surprising given the fact that use of mechanical and digital cheat devices has …

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Is Carbon Capture & Sequestration (CCS) the Biggest Threat to the Clean Power Plan?

Exploring potential challenges to EPA’s New Source Performance Standard: PART I

This post is the first in a mini-series exploring likely legal challenges to EPA’s New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) for power-plant greenhouse gas emissions under Clean Air Act § 111(b), and how those challenges might affect the Clean Power Plan. I will leave detailed exploration of the Clean Power Plan for later posts, but suffice …

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The Coal Export Wars Reach Oakland

In seeking an alternative route to Asian markets, coal’s path from Utah to China via Oakland hits a snag

Expanded west coast infrastructure to support the export of western U.S. coal to Asian markets has long been part of the business plans for some of the nation’s largest coal producers. However, attempts by Powder River Basin coal interests to construct or expand coal export terminals in Washington and Oregon in recent years have been …

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