Climate Change, Water Rights, Environmental Justice & Federalism Issues Highlighted the Ninth Circuit’s Prodigious Environmental Docket This Year
I’ve shared in previous posts my view that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is–after the U.S. Supreme Court–the most influential court in the nation when it comes to environmental and natural resources law. That’s true for two related reasons: first, the sprawling Ninth Circuit encompasses nine different states (including California) and …CONTINUE READING
As in the U.S., it’s not all about the national government. Not by any means.
Last week, I posted about the British government’s climate policy. In sharp contrast with their American counterparts, British conservatives remain firmly behind the Paris Agreement and supportive of cap-and-trade. In another respect, though, there’s more similarity: in both countries, subnational governments play a key role in climate policy. Here’s what’s happening across Great Britain. Regional …CONTINUE READING
A new law is the latest sign that the future is electrical, not oil.
On the weekend weekend, Governor Jay Inslee signed a major transportation bill. The most dramatic feature of the bill is that it will mostly ban new gas cars in Washington as of 2030. That puts Washington ahead of California, Massachusetts and New York, as well as Canada and Japan. Washington’s deadline is tied with Israel, …CONTINUE READING
Climate progress continued despite Trump
Trump’s election in 2016 didn’t halt or even slow action in the states on renewable energy and climate change. Things have hit “pause” during the pandemic, but that should be only temporary. All of this ferment at the state level should help lay the groundwork for future federal action. Here’s what’s been happening in some …CONTINUE READING
Here’s some upbeat news. I bet you needed that.
Hardly anyone noticed at the time, but Utah enacted an important bill about climate change in 2018. Yes, Utah – where the GOP holds 78% of the legislature. How that happened, and what happened since, is a story worth telling. The bill itself did not impose any carbon restrictions. But it did call for “the …CONTINUE READING
We need to address the procedures and structures for climate policymaking.
There’s a lot of discussion about the substance of climate policy today. That’s obviously critical, but we also need to think about the procedural and institutional issues involved in making climate policy. For instance, we need to think about how to divide authority between the states and the federal government. I thought it would be …CONTINUE READING
Slowly, and a bit grudgingly, the Old South is moving toward solar.
Southern states like to brag about their sunny weather. Florida even calls itself the Sunshine State. Yet the region lags well behind in terms of putting that sunshine to work. But it appears that change is coming. Solar generating capacity in the Southeast is expected to nearly double over the next three years, though from …CONTINUE READING
While the Feds backpedal, the states move forward on clean energy.
Every day seems to bring more news of the Trump Administration’s dogged efforts to reduce environmental protections and accelerate climate change with increased carbon emissions. But, as has been true since Trump took office, the picture at the state level is much different. State governments across the country have accelerated their efforts to decarbonize, while …CONTINUE READING
Environmental enforcement could use a big boost.
The political debate over regulation tends to focus on the regulations themselves. But enforcing the regulations is just as important. Despite what you might think from the howls of business groups and conservative commentators, the enforcement system is not nearly as strong as it should be. Twenty years after passage of the Clean Water Act, roughly …CONTINUE READING
States will only lose out if they refuse to cooperate with the Clean Power Plan.
Mitch McConnell has urged states to refuse to submit plans if the Clean Power Plan is upheld by the Court. He has been accused of inciting lawless behavior on the part of state governments. Let me come to his defense on this. (How often do I get to do that??) The states are under no legal obligation …CONTINUE READING