Clean Air Act
Over the past fifty years, EPA has overseen incredible reductions in auto pollution.
This is part of an occasional series of posts about the evolution of pollution standards. Today’s subject is pollution control for new vehicles, which have been known to cause smog since the 1960s. The history of these pollution standards is quite distinctive. At the high temperatures in internal combustion engines, some of the nitrogen in …CONTINUE READING
State and local regulators can and should work to reduce particulate matter, ozone, and NOx emissions even when national standards are met.
States and local air quality regulators have the legal authority to set particulate matter (PM), ozone, and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions standards and adopt regulations for these pollutants when they are already in attainment of the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the federal Clean Air …CONTINUE READING
The power industry apparently shares some progressive doubts about CCS and hydrogen
There are three big takeaways from the utility industry’s comments on EPA’s proposed new climate rules. First, the industry seems to share progressive concerns about whether we can count on hydrogen and CCS (carbon capture and sequestration). Second, the industry doesn’t invoke the major question doctrine, making it clear that it does not view such …CONTINUE READING
The electric power sector remains 30 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions, and this rule can incentivize the push towards renewables.
On May 23, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) proposed emission limits and guidelines for carbon dioxide from fossil fuel-powered plants. To avoid the same fate as the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which was struck down by the conservative Supreme Court in West Virginia v. EPA last year, the new draft rule does not determine …CONTINUE READING
Will the major questions doctrine block EPA’s proposed rules?
Biden v. Nebraska, the student loan case, provided a new opportunity for the Court to apply the major question doctrine. Does this decision increase the threat that EPA’s proposed new regulations will be struck down under this doctrine? A careful reading of the majority opinion is at least somewhat reassuring. The Court painted a picture …CONTINUE READING
It’s important to remember the regulatory history—and the growing urgency—of limiting climate change-related carbon pollution from power plants.
Today’s the day for the long-awaited release of Environmental Protection Agency regulations to tackle planet-warming pollution by the nation’s power plants. (Read the announcement here and the full text here.) The EPA is proposing a new standard for fossil fuel-fired power plants to avoid 617 million metric tons of carbon dioxide through 2042. For weeks, …CONTINUE READING
Claims that the new rule violates the doctrine are groundless.
Ever since the Supreme Court decided West Virginia v. EPA, conservatives and industry interests have claimed that just about every new regulation violates the major question doctrine. When the Biden Administration ramped up fuel efficiency requirements through 2026, ideologues such as the Heartland Institute and states like Texas were quick to wheel out this attack. …CONTINUE READING
There’s a lot of law relating to climate change. A lot!
In preparing to teach a course on climate law, I was really struck by how broad and rich the field has become. Back in the day, it was nearly all international law, but nowadays there’s a huge amount of U.S. domestic law. Most people, even those who work on the field, tend to focus on …CONTINUE READING
In a very narrowly argued brief, the Administration calls for returning the cases to state court.
The Biden Administration, at the Supreme Court’s invitation, has now filed a brief giving its views about current lawsuits against oil companies. The gist of the brief is that the cases belong in state court., and that the Court should let that happen rather than stepping into the litigation. The brief is right about that, …CONTINUE READING
Defending clean car regulations and tracking judicial decision-making
Last June, the Supreme Court formally unveiled the “major questions” doctrine in the landmark environmental case West Virginia v. EPA. In rejecting EPA’s plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, the Court stated that “agency decisions of vast economic and political significance” (i.e., those …CONTINUE READING