Congress

The possibilities of a Green New Deal

Proposal for massive government investment in decarbonization of the economy could have long-term political benefits, if it’s done right

The new House Democratic majority takes over this week. In the period between the midterm elections and now, one major issue that has been discussed is the path forward for the Democrats on climate policy. Led by freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, activists have called for the new majority to set up a special House committee …

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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 …

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House Subcommittee Considering Clean Air Act Amendments to Weaken Bedrock of Stationary Source Permitting

Proposed changes to NSR could have significant impact on EJ communities

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment is currently considering amendments designed to weaken the New Source Review permitting program. The GOP proposal has been floating around since a discussion draft was released in May based on a bill introduced last year by Rep.  Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), but seems to have flown under the radar until …

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Attempting to Close the Floodgates of Litigation

Can Congress prevent state and federal courts from hearing WaterFix lawsuits?

The journey of California’s proposed delta tunnels project (also known as California WaterFix) has been anything but straightforward and already faces a slew of ongoing legal challenges.[i] Last week, Congress added a different kind of twist when the proposed Department of Interior budget for FY 2019 was introduced in the House Appropriations Committee. The relevant …

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Public Lands Watch: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Senate budget resolution being considered this week could open refuge to oil drilling

One of the longest lasting fights over the federal public lands has been whether to open up portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas development. The Refuge is one of the most important and largest protected areas in North America – it is unusual in that it protects the …

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How the filibuster shapes environmental law

Political structures affect how environmental law works

In case you haven’t noticed  recently, there’s been some national attention paid to how the US Senate operates.  In particular, a lot of attention has been focused on the filibuster, the requirement that for legislation (as opposed to judicial or executive nominees), 60 Senators must vote to close debate on the legislation for a vote …

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200 Days and Counting: Budget

What are the implications of changes to the federal budget for environmental law?

The Trump Administration has proposed draconian cuts to a range of environmental and science agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior, NASA’s climate science work, and NOAA’s science and regulatory programs.  Here we’ll talk about the potential implications of dramatic budget cuts, and then the likelihood they will occur, at least for …

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200 Days and Counting: Legislation

What are the prospects for major environmental legislation in the near future?

From the perspective of environmental law, one of the most important questions is whether full Republican control of Congress and the White House would lead to fundamental changes to significant environmental laws.  These are the kinds of changes that would be most important over the long-run, from a legal perspective.  Laws are hard to pass …

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Guest Blogger Gregory Dotson: Is Scott Pruitt Calling for an Amendment to the Clean Air Act?

EPA Administrator Resorts to Misleading Rhetoric in Possible Prelude to Revisiting Massachusetts v. EPA

Since he was confirmed to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency six months ago, Administrator Scott Pruitt has relied on three points when discussing the issue of climate change. He has cast doubt on the science by claiming it’s difficult to know the human role “with precision.” He has questioned the ability of the agency …

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CRA Update: What’s Been Overturned, What’s Still Standing?

Congress and Trump have done some major harm with this tool, but so far, not as much as feared.

We’re getting close to the deadline for Congress final chance to use its override authority under the Congressional Review Act to eliminate Obama Administrations regulations. The deadline for introducing new resolutions has already passed, and the deadline for voting ends around May 10. It’s not clear whether the Senate in particular will have time for …

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