Clean Air Act

Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Biden EPA

The recent rescission of  a Trump rule hints at how the Biden Administration views the role of cost-benefit analysis.

In its closing days, the Trump Administration issued a rule designed to tilt EPA’s cost-benefit analysis of air pollution regulations in favor of industry. Last week, EPA rescinded the rule.  The rescission was no surprise, given that the criticisms of the Trump rule by economists as well as environmentalists. EPA’s explanation for the rescission was …

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Appeals Court Nixes NYC Climate Lawsuit

With a clever if contrived argument, the Second Circuit tries to eliminate climate change litigation.

On Friday, the Second Circuit issued an important decision in a lawsuit against the oil industry.  New York City had sued the oil companies for harms relating to climate change. The appeals court ordered the case dismissed, on the ground that any harm relating to fossil fuel is exclusively regulated by the Clean Air Act.  …

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Liberal Judges Embrace Textualism

Why are these judges suddenly so enthusiastic about Justice Scalia’s approach to reading statutes?

Two of Trump’s major regulatory efforts were recently thrown out by the D.C. Circuit.  The liberal judges who wrote the opinions latched onto a conservative theory called textualism, which was most prominently advocated by Justice Antonin Scalia. While judges in an earlier era tried to interpret Congress’s intent in writing a law, textualists focus solely …

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The Clean Air Act Turns Fifty

A half century of progress in cleaning up the air began New Year’s Eve 1970.

On December 31, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed the Clean Air Act.  William Ruckelshaus and Russell Train, who later led the way in implementing the new law, stood by his side with beaming smiles.  Nixon supported the basic features of the bill. But he had considered vetoing the final version because Senator Ed Muskie …

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Biden Can Leverage Larger Trends to Make Climate Progress

Biden can use these three strategies to make major progress on climate issues.

With the next president of the United States finally decided, we can now begin moving on to the work at hand. Joe Biden’s election creates an exciting opportunity for climate action. But there’s one clear hurdle: Unless the January runoff elections in Georgia for two Senate seats deliver surprising success to the Democrats, President-elect Biden …

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The Changing Landscape of Climate Policy

Even under Trump, the U.S. was slowly lurching in the right direction. Biden needs to give the process a good strong push.

Barring a Democratic sweep in the Georgia runoffs, Biden will be facing a Republican Senate.  But he also has a big advantage: The world has changed in some important ways that favor climate action. The importance of these positive changes may have been obscured by some negative developments. Since Barack Obama left office, climate change …

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Short and Simple Climate Legislation

With a few sentences, Congress could do a lot to fix the law.

The last time Congress tried to pass climate change legislation, the bill was about 800 pages long. That bill, the Waxman-Markey Act, tried to adopt a comprehensive set of emissions reduction measures, which is a complicated business.  But a much simpler law could allow the U.S. to move forward quickly with less ambitious but still …

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Trump’s ACE Rule Hits a Judicial Speed Bump

The judges seemed skeptical of Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule last week

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments about  Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule last week. The ACE rule is a feeble substitute for Obama’s Clean Power Rule, which was Obama’s signature climate action regulating power plants. The argument went badly for the Trump folks. Even Judge Justin Walker, a 38-year-old whose main …

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Fighting to Preserve California Vehicle Emission Standards

Ted Lamm and Sean Hecht Co-Author Amicus Brief on Behalf of National Parks Groups

Last week, Sean Hecht and I filed an amicus brief with the DC Circuit in the legal challenge to the Trump Administration’s attempt to eliminate California’s authority to apply its own automobile emission standards under the Clean Air Act. (We filed the brief in our individual capacities and not on behalf of our respective institutions.) …

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What Does Today’s Decision Holding that Employers Can’t Discriminate Against LGBTQ Employees Have to Do with Climate Change?

The case provides potent ammunition for using the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon pollution

Today’s blockbuster opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia,  holding that employers can’t fire LGBTQ workers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, may seem far afield from the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. But its reasoning could have huge implications for climate change action.   In saying that discrimination …

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