CAFE standards

Climate Change and the Major Question Doctrine

Just because a regulation involves climate change, that doesn’t make it a major question.

Red State AGs are preparing to go to town with the West Virginia case. They seem to think that everything involving climate change automatically becomes a major question. That’s simply wrong. The doctrine is more nuanced. Recall that the Supreme Court struck down OSHA’s vaccine mandate, essentially on major questions grounds, but the majority found …

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1990: The Year the Courts Discovered Climate Change

Cases were few, but one judge was years ahead of her time.

In an earlier post, I tried to figure out when the legal academy first discovered climate changes. As it turns out, it was almost a decade later when the federal courts took notice.  Those first climate change cases shed light on how new issues get litigated and how courts respond to new science. My research …

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Fighting Global Warming in a Chilly Judicial Climate

A 6-3 conservative court is bad news for climate action. Here’s a threat assessment.

With Romney’s announcement this morning that he would support consideration of a nominee before the election, it now seems virtually certain that Trump will be able to appoint a sixth conservative Justice. How will that affect future climate policy?  Here is a preliminary threat assessment. The answer varies, depending on what policies we’re talking about. …

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Environmentalists v. Cost-Benefit Analysis: What Does the Future Hold?

For now, at least, environmentalists and economists are aligned in criticizing Trump’s rollbacks. Will this alliance last?

If it’s true that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” environmentalists might want to take another look at cost-benefit analysis.  The Trump Administration is certainly doing its best to gut economic analysis of its rollbacks.  Both economists and environmentalists are resisting. Is this an alliance of convenience or will it be the start …

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Lessons from the DACA Ruling

The Court’s ruling could have important implications for environmental cases.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Department of Homeland Security v. UC Regents was great news for 700,000 “Dreamers” who would otherwise face deportation. It also has important  implications for administrative law — and for environmental law cases in particular.  Here are three main takeaways. Requiring Reasoned Explanation.  Chief Justice John Roberts reinforced the principle that …

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Trump’s EPA May Cause as Many U.S. Deaths as the Coronavirus

The effects are more gradual, but deregulation could be as deadly as the pandemic.

The Trump Administration has been busy repealing pollution laws that protect public health.  The health impact of these rollbacks isn’t as dramatic as an epidemic.  There’s a credible argument, however, that it will be just as deadly. In order to put some numbers on the effects of deregulation, we need to make some assumptions on …

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We Need an Environmental Dr. Fauci

Much of environmental law is about protecting public health. But the Trump Administration won’t listen.

During the coronavirus crisis, Dr. Anthony Fauci has become the voice of reason. Much of the public turns to him for critical information about public health, while even Trump finds it necessary to listen. In the Trump era, no one plays that role in the environmental area. The result is a mindless campaign of deregulation …

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Still Not SAFE

The Trump administration moves ahead with plans to roll back Obama-era fuel economy standards.

After months of delay, the Trump administration has reportedly chosen this coming week—in the middle of a nationwide crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic—to finally release the second part of its two-part rollback of Obama-era automotive fuel economy standards.  This isn’t the only environmental rollback action the administration is planning to take during the coming …

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Revolt of the Captive Scientists

Trump’s Scientific Advisory Board Slams Proposed EPA Rules

Trump has appointed  most of the members of EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), many of them selected from industry. That effort to stack SAB in favor of deregulation apparently wasn’t a complete success. In draft reports issued this week, the SAB scathingly criticized those efforts and even went so far as to give a nod …

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Trump’s Legal Challenges to the California’s Car Deal

Is there any legal basis for the Trump Administration’s actions?

Prompting rage by President Trump, California and several carmakers entered a voluntary agreement on carbon emissions from new cars that blew past the Administration’s efforts to repeal existing federal requirements. Last week, the Trump Administration slapped back at California. Although there’s been a lot of editorializing about that response, I’ve seen very little about the …

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