Is Local Control A Good Thing? It’s Complicated . . .
This Post was Co-Authored by Sharon Jacobs and Dave Owen. For many decades, most people in the United States have obtained their electricity from a large investor-owned utility company (IOU). They had no real choice. Much of U.S. energy law was built on the belief that the best way to provide electricity was to give …CONTINUE READING
Voters in Maine rejected a ballot initiative to buy out private utilities, but the campaign reflects a growing interest in public power.
This week voters in Maine rejected a ballot measure to implement a public takeover of the state’s two investor-owned utilities. The measure proposed acquiring the two investor-owned utilities that distribute 97% of Maine’s electricity and operating them as a new publicly-owned utility called Pine Tree Power, that would be governed by an elected board. 70% …CONTINUE READING
It’s a bit complicated, but California definitely has made substantial progress.
We all know that California’s climate policies have led the nation. But how well have these policies actually worked? That’s not as easy to answer as you might think. You have to do some digging to come up with the numbers, and their meaning isn’t always completely clear. If you compare California with the country …CONTINUE READING
No, it’s not a pretty picture. Scalise was bad. Jordan is worse.
In what felt like one of the few times I’ve actually been right about a political prediction, I told my wife that Steve Scalise would probably be the GOP’s pick to replace Kevin McCarthy. Sadly, I was only right for about 24 hours. Then Scalise, supposedly the more moderate candidate, dropped out. That left Jim …CONTINUE READING
Sorry, no president can single-handedly fix climate policy. And certainly not with this Supreme Court.
With Biden two-thirds of the way through his term in office, he seems to be catching a lot of flack from climate activists. On Sunday, thousands of angry demonstrators gathered to protest Biden’s U.N. visit. “If you want our vote if you don’t want the blood of our generations to be on your hands, end …CONTINUE READING
These three power plants cause a big share of America’s mercury pollution.
In Ireland, poor people used to burn peat from fuel. Barely a step ahead of that, some American power plants burn semi-fossilized peat (lignite) to run their generators. It turns out that those power plants produce about a third of all the toxic mercury emissions of the entire industry. Even more remarkably, about half of …CONTINUE READING
Ironically, a conservative legal doctrine might block some of his excesses.
Trump hasn’t been at all secretive about plans for a possible second term. He has plans, big plans. So big, in fact, that they may collide with a conservative judicial rule called the Major Question Doctrine (MQD). Since the Court has mostly used the MQD to block initiatives by Democratic presidents, it would be more …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
Will the new NEPA provisions speed approval of urgently needed projects?
In terms of the energy transition, the most important question about the recent NEPA amendments is whether they streamline permitting for transmission projects. The answer is complicated. We can divide transmission projects into two groups. The first group consists of transmission projects where federal involvement is limited to specific segments, such as stream crossings requiring …CONTINUE READING
Sec. 107 is the key permitting reform applying to major projects. Will it work?
The 2023 Amendments to NEPA tweak current regulations in various ways in the name of permitting reform. Those changes make it easier to exempt smaller projects or cover them with programmatic impacts statements. The key issue, however, is going to be the effectiveness of new section 107, the main provision aimed at large-scale projects like …CONTINUE READING