environmental politics

The 2022 Elections and State Environmental Policies

Governors are pivotal players in state regulatory policies

The formal powers of state governors vary from state to state. Like Presidents, however, they have been busy the past few decades centralizing control of their bureaucracies. That makes them key players in the environment and energy domain.  This year, some key governors’ mansions are up for grabs. Here’s a summary of the current state …

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The Battle for the Senate

The 2022 elections will have repercussions in 2024 and beyond.

How much does control of the Senate matter for purposes of environmental law?  If Congress remains in Democratic hands, the Democrats can make another run at a reconciliation bill. Even if the House flips, control of the Senate still matters a lot, though the reasons are more complicated. The State of Play. Here’s where things …

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One Year and Counting

How does Biden’s first year compare with Trump’s? Biden has been much more effective.

If you compare Biden’s performance with his promised agenda, the first year has been disappointing. If instead you compare him with his predecessor, Biden has done more to achieve his environmental goals. The difference is that Trump was judged on the basis of his rhetoric, while Biden is judged based on his achievement. Four years …

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On the Frustrations of Climate Politics

It’s not just the shortcomings of Joe Manchin.  Climate legislation is an inherently tough political challenge.

Yesterday, Joe Manchin announced that he couldn’t support the Build Back Better reconciliation bill. Unless Biden can somehow coax him back to the negotiating table, that dooms what would have been a major breakthrough in climate policy.  Manchin bears responsibility for this deeply regrettable decision. But climate legislation is hard, even in more favorable political …

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Cornhuskers Go Green

Nebraska has become the first solid Red state to adopt climate targets

Last week, Nebraska became the first state under complete Republican control to adopt a 2050 goal of net-zero emissions from the grid. No Democratic presidential candidate has carried the state in almost fifty years (and the last previous time was before World War II). Republicans have controlled the state legislature and governor’s mansion since this …

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What to Be Thankful For (2021 edition)

Here’s the one thing environmentalists should be most thankful for this year.

If there is a single thing for environmentalists to be thankful for this year, it is simply this:  the virulently anti-environmental Donald Trump is no longer in the White House. My Thanksgiving post last year began, “Nearly four years into the Trump Administration, we’re now accustomed to waking up every morning to learn about a …

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What’s in the Reconciliation Bill?

The House takes an important step toward transforming the energy system

Last Friday, the House passed its version of the Build Back Better Act. Due to a quirk in parliamentary procedure, the Senate will be able to consider the $1.7 trillion bill under the “reconciliation” process, which means no filibuster is allowed. It remains unclear whether anyone can wrangle all fifty Senators into supporting some version …

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Greening the Land of Lincoln

Illinois passes pathbreaking energy law.

Last week, Illinois’s governor signed into law a major piece of climate legislation. The law deserves more attention than it has received.  Sadly, however, Illinois seems to be something of a neglected stepchild in the media. That’s a pity, because there are some important lessons in Illinois’s experience, both for the Midwest and the country …

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The Last Four Years — and the Next Four

How did our predictions about Trump hold up? What should we expect for Biden?

In September 2017, Eric Biber and I published a threat assessment after the first 200 days of the Trump Administration. For those who have buried their memories of that time, those were days of shock and despair about the future of environmental protection (and much else). It seems time to bring our report up to …

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Environmentalism and the Supreme Court

Some cases belong to the environmentalist legal canon, others to an anti-canon of reviled precedents.

Every field has its texts that form part of its intellectual canon, and others that form a kind of anti-canon of rejected ideas.  The same is true in environmental law. The issue goes beyond which side wins. From the pro-environmental side of things, some Supreme Court rulings form guideposts to rely on, whereas others represent …

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