environmental justice

Happy 50th Anniversary, Federal Clean Water Act

One of America’s Foundational Environmental Laws Has Proven Transformational, But Requires Updating a Half-Century Later

The Clean Water Act (CWA), one of the nation’s most important environmental laws, is 50 years old today.  It’s proven to be one of the most successful of America’s bedrock federal environmental statutes.  But the CWA is far from perfect, needs some important updating, and will probably never fully achieve the aspirational goals Congress proclaimed …

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Addressing Livestock Methane in California

New CLEE/UCLA report identifies policy solutions to reduce emissions | Webinar Nov. 10

Methane is a climate super-pollutant that is 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Given its potency and short life, experts believe that reducing methane emissions is the highest-yield action that governments and businesses can take to curb near-term warming. In the US, livestock are responsible for over one third of …

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Now You’re in Law School. What Should You Take?

There’s more than one path to environmentally meaningful work.

On Monday, I explained why this is an especially urgent time for new law students to be thinking about the climate crisis and how they can contribute as lawyers. The next question is how to prepare for that work.  Here’s what I would say to a student in that position: The first thing to realize …

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Equity Weighting: A Brief Introduction

An unfamiliar concept for most that just might make cost-benefit analysis more progressive.

A technique called equity weighting could make regulation more progressive. Implementing this technique may be harder than it sounds, however, for a variety of practical, legal, and political reasons. Agencies might do best to use equity weighting as a way to check their regulatory decisions rather than as their main decision tool.

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Whose Interests Count? And How Much?

Whether to consider harms to foreign countries and future generations is controversial. So is how much weight to give harm to the poor.

Should regulators take into account harm to people in other countries? What about harm to future generations? Should we give special attention when the disadvantaged are harmed? These questions are central to climate policy and some other important environmental issues. I’ll use cost-benefit analysis as a framework for discussing these issues. You probably don’t need …

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Making Electric Vehicles More Accessible for Lower-Income Californians

New policy report on solutions to improve equity in EV deployment | Webinar May 24

Join us for a webinar to discuss the report findings and EV equity solutions with state, local, and industry leaders on Tuesday, May 24 at 1pm PT. RSVP here. Today, the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) at Berkeley Law and the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA Law …

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Environmental Justice, Truck Pollution, and the Biden EPA

How will EPA integrate EJ into its rule making? The answer remains murky.

EPA recently released a notice of proposed rulemaking for pollution from new heavy-duty vehicles. I was interested to see how environmental justice figured into the analysis, looking for clues about how the Biden Administration plans to make EJ part of decision making.  What I found wasn’t very enlightening. Perhaps they’re still trying to come up …

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Air Quality as Environmental Justice

National air quality standards may be among the most powerful levers for environmental justice.

The environmental justice movement began with a focus on neighborhood struggles against toxic waste facilities and other local pollution sources.  The EJ focus now includes other measures to ensure that vulnerable communities get the benefit of climate regulations. The most powerful tool for assisting those communities, however, may be the National Ambient Air Quality Standards …

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Justice 40 and Identifying Disadvantaged Communities

White House

Why race is an important factor to consider

Last Friday, the White House Council on Environmental Quality released its long-awaited Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool. The screening tool will guide the Biden Administration’s implementation of its Justice40 Initiative that directs that 40 percent of certain federal investment programs benefit disadvantaged communities. However, like may legal scholars predicted and the White House foreshadowed, …

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Jim Crow and the Fossil Fuel Industry

The fossil fuel industry has yet to escape its discriminatory past.

This being Black History Month, I thought it would be worthwhile looking at the fossil fuel industry’s racial history.  Given the historic concentration of the oil and coal industries in the South, it is no surprise to find that these industries have also been deeply entangled with Jim Crow and its legacy of discrimination. Oil …

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