Clean Water Act

Trump’s Latest Deregulatory Ploy: Emergency Waivers

Shaky legal authority, poor analysis, dubious benefits. What else is new?

In an Executive Order issued last Thursday, Trump told agencies to use emergency waivers to avoid environmental safeguards. The order is legally shaky and unlikely to accomplish much.  Still, it provided a nice photo op. Maybe he should have signed it in front of a church. I’ll talk later about the specifics, but first I’d …

CONTINUE READING

Guest Contributors Helen Kang and Deborah Sivas: California Should Lead the Nation in Controlling Agricultural Pollution

Agricultural runoff in California

Protection of Drinking Water and Environmental Quality Demands Strong Action

Agricultural runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution in the nation’s waterways. In recent years, scientific journals and the media have been filled with reports of toxic algae blooms and dead zones near and far: The Everglades, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, and San Francisco Bay-Delta. Agricultural pollution also threatens public …

CONTINUE READING

Here Today, Gone to Maui

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Environment-Friendly Ruling in Major Clean Water Act Case

This week the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the Court’s most important environmental law case of the current Term: County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.  In a somewhat surprising ruling, the justices rejected both sides’ argument over the scope of government authority to regulate water pollution discharges under the federal Clean Water …

CONTINUE READING

Why is Newsom vetoing SB 1?

Comparing the Governor’s statements with the text of the bill

The California legislature recently passed SB 1, which would translate into state law a range of federal environmental and worker safety standards that were in place before the inauguration of President Trump to protect against federal roll backs in those areas.  However, Governor Newsom has indicated he will veto SB 1, on the grounds that …

CONTINUE READING

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 …

CONTINUE READING

Coastal Communities Demand EPA Update Decades-Old Oil Spill Regulations

Written in Collaboration with Camila Gonzalez*

Coastal communities are bracing themselves. Thirty years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, and almost nine years after the BP Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, they are facing the threat of another catastrophic oil spill. The Trump Administration is paving the way. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will …

CONTINUE READING

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 …

CONTINUE READING

Is the Green New Deal’s Ambition Smart Policy?

Some Lessons from Environmental History

At the the heart of the Green New Deal — which demands slashing U.S. carbon emissions by 2030 by shifting to 100 percent clean energy  — is a major conundrum.  Even the most enthusiastic proponents of ambitious climate policy don’t believe the goals are achievable, technologically let alone politically.  Stanford Professor Marc Z. Jacobsen, for …

CONTINUE READING

John Dingell, 1926-2019

The Surprising Environmental Record of Detroit’s Biggest Congressional Defender

There’s an old story about Rep. John Dingell, the long-running chair of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, who died yesterday at the age of 92, and served in the House longer than anyone in American history. Outside the office of the Committee, there is a huge picture of the Earth, taken from the Apollo …

CONTINUE READING

The Power of the Purse

House Democrats have power to use appropriations process to stop Trump Administration environmental rollbacks

Dan has already posted about some of the big deregulatory steps the Trump Administration is likely to take in the next year. But the new Democratic majority in the House could have something to say about those steps, if they wanted to. Democrats will have even more leverage over spending bills than they had in …

CONTINUE READING

TRENDING