Clean Air Act

Trump Announces Waiver Rollback on Twitter

Revoking California’s Clean Air Act Waiver Is Bad Policy and Legally Indefensible

This post was originally published on the American Constitution Society’s Expert Forum on September 18, 2019.  President Trump announced the revocation on Twitter this morning. It’s not news that the Trump administration has been planning, via its so-called SAFE Rule, to freeze Obama-era fuel economy standards, roll back tailpipe greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards, and …

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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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Sidestepping Regulatory Ossification

The regulatory process can take forever. Here are some possible responses.

Some years ago, Tom McGarity coined the phrase “regulatory ossification” to describe the increasingly slow and cumbersome regulatory system.  Since then, the situation has only gotten worse.  As a recent article by Bethany Davis Noll and Richard Revesz points out, significant regulations take an average of four years to issue, and judicial review adds another …

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A Rule to Revoke California’s Waiver?

Why an action to revoke the waiver for California’s Advanced Clean Cars program could be the Administration’s worst move yet.

A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times reported that in the midst of growing “disarray” around the rollback of the Obama-era fuel economy and greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions standards, “Mr. Trump went so far as to propose scrapping his own rollback plan and keeping the Obama regulations, while still revoking California’s legal authority …

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Clearing the Air

The DC Circuit upholds a major air regulation.

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit decided Murray Energy v. EPA.  The court upheld EPA’s health-based 2015 air quality standards for ozone against challenges from industry (rules too strong) and environmental groups (rules too weak).  However, it rejected a grandfather clause that prevented the new standards from applying to plants whose permit applications were in-process when …

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Updates on the War on Science

The Trump Administration continues its campaign to suppress science.

The Trump Administration’s hostile attitude toward science has continued unabated.  The Administration has used a triad of strategies: efforts to defund research, suppression of scientific findings, and embrace of fringe science.    Budget.Administration continues to favor deep cuts in research support.  Its initial 2020 budget proposal calls for  a 13% cut to the National Science Foundation, a 12% cut at …

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Journalism and Political Polarization

Reporters Might Hold A Key To Improving Environmental Politics

It’s no surprise that American politics has gotten significantly more polarized over the last three decades, so it stands to reason that legislatures have gotten more polarized as well. But in a recent article in the Journal of Political Economy by James Snyder and David Stromberg, brought to my attention by Professor Seth Masket writing …

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The EPA’s Proposed Standards for Coal Power Plants Increase Pollution Without Real Justification

The public comment period for proposed revisions to EPA’s proposed emissions standards for fossil-fuel fired power plants under the Clean Air Act ended last week.  Emmett Institute staff have submitted two comment letters on the rule (see Sean’s post on one of the letters here; that letter itself is here). The standards—called new source performance standards—apply to …

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EPA Shouldn’t Roll Back Coal Power Plant Emissions Standard, Conclude Experts in Electrical Grid Management and Pollution Control Technology Innovation

Emmett Institute Faculty File Two Comment Letters on Behalf of Experts, Demonstrating Flaws In Proposed Rollback of New Source Performance Standard for New Coal-Fired Power Plants

In 2015, EPA set greenhouse gas emissions standards for new coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Performance Standards program, Section 111(b) of the Act. These standards ensure that new plants can be built only if they incorporate state-of-the-art emissions controls. Unfortunately, in late 2018, the Trump Administration EPA proposed …

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Do Impossible Regulatory Deadlines Cause Faster Progress?

A: Maybe, but only in a roundabout way. (And at a cost.)

Just about nobody who’s knowledgeable in the field thinks the U.S. electric grid can  be made carbon free in ten years.  Having spent the past two years lambasting the Trump Administration for ignoring the experts, I’m loathe to disagree with the expert opinion on this one. But even if the ten-year deadline set by supporters …

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