energy policy

Industry’s Hostile Takeover of EPA

When you’re Scott Pruitt, who you gonna call? Industry reps.

When there are hard decisions to make, who does EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt turns to? Not, as you might naively think, the experts on the staff of his own agency. Instead, he turns to industry lobbyists and lawyers, and to politicians like the Republican state attorneys general who used to be his colleagues. As the …

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Is Texas Cleaning Up Its Act?

Carbon emissions are set in decline in Texas, with less coal and more renewables.

At a national meeting of state utility regulators, the head of the group recently said that the Clean Power Plan was basically dead, BUT this might not matter because “arguably, you’re seeing market-based decarbonization” due to technological changes.  Case in point: Texas. Market trends are pushing Republican-stronghold Texas toward a cleaner grid. ERCOT, which operates nearly all …

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Energy Policies Worthy of Debate

Ten questions to ask Clinton and Trump about energy policy.

As we enter the brief debate season prior to the presidential elections, it is easy to anticipate that we won’t see much time set aside for discussing energy policy. That’s not the case for the graduate students in an energy policy class I am currently teaching at the Goldman School of Public Policy. Last week, …

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Obama’s Public Lands Conservation Legacy

Progress, but still much more to do

President Obama has gotten some high praise lately from the New York Times editorial board, and this op-ed from Prof. David Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice noted for his biography of President Theodore Roosevelt.  Brinkley compares Obama favorably to Teddy Roosevelt for his conservation legacy. The specific recent actions by President Obama that prompted …

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The Downward Political Spiral of a Declining Industry

As the coal industry weakens economically, it also loses political clout.

Tighter regulation contributes to an environmentally dirty industry’s economic decline, which reduces its political clout, which allows more regulation, further weakening the industry.  Coal is prime example. The coal industry’s economic plight is well-known.  Coal production is the lowest since a major strike 35 years ago. In fact, my colleagues at the business school report that coal …

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A Clash of Visions

The two parties couldn’t disagree more about energy policy.

In every election, there are people who claim that both parties are alike. That’s certainly not true about energy policy this year.The distance between the tickets can be expressed numerically: Kaine has a 91% lifetime score of from the League of Conservation Voters, while Pence’s is 4%. And the differences between the presidential candidates are equally …

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Wyoming Wind Power and California Electricity

Supporting renewable energy in Wyoming makes political sense

A company wants to build a lot of wind power in Wyoming.  A lot.  3,000 megawatts.  The size of three nuclear reactors.  And ship all of the power to California.  None of it will be used in Wyoming, where electricity primarily comes from coal, and where the state has been strongly resistant to various policies …

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Skinning Cobras and Climbing Trees in Belgium

Trying to save energy in Europe and around the Mediterranean

Brussels is at least two cities in one: a modern European municipality rich in history and containing some spectacular gilded palaces, and a capital city. It is the seat of government for Belgium – a flag flies over the palace when the king is nearby – and the capital for the European Union. The governing …

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A solar energy fight in Arizona

The rising political power of residential solar power

There’s a fight over renewable energy occurring in Arizona right now.  The state’s largest public utility asked state regulators for permission to greatly increase the fees paid by homeowners who have solar power on their houses.  The utility’s argument is that the increase in solar power produced by these houses is putting a burden on …

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Energy Innovation and the Law @ UCLA

A full-day UCLA Law Review symposium on Friday, November 1

The UCLA Law Review is holding a symposium next Friday, November 1 – Toward a Clean Energy Future: Powering Innovation Through Law.  Leading scholars from around the country will be at UCLA School of Law for the day to discuss innovative energy technologies, international energy issues, the challenge of new energy technology diffusion, and the …

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