environmental politics

50 Years Ago: Environmental Law in 1973

Five decades back, the country was in the midst of unprecedented environmental ferment.

1973 was at the crest of the environmental surge that swept the United States half a century ago.  In the previous three years, Congress had passed NEPA, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. The first EPA Administrator took office in 1971. Continuing the legislative wave, 1973 saw the passage of the Endangered …


Is Bipartisanship Possible?

An image of the U.S. Capitol Building in the evening.

It’s not easy in today’s polarized politics. But maybe it’s not completely off the table.

We are now, as so often, in a time of divided government. That makes bipartisan cooperation necessary. We are also in a time of hyper-partisanship.  The problem may be compounded by the concessions made by McCarthy to the far Right in order to become Speaker.  Nevertheless, there may be some opportunities for cooperation across party …


Does Ideology Kill?

Interpreting the association between conservatism and COVID death rates.

There is mounting evidence of an association between conservative politics and COVID impacts. Indeed, the higher death rate among Republicans may even have swung some close elections. A recent study sheds light on how ideology and death rates interact. As the Washington Post reports, the results were striking:  “Covid death rates were 11 percent higher …


The Year Ahead

Here are the top ten environment and energy developments to watch for.

Here we are, starting another year.  Last year turned out to have some major environmental developments. The most notable were the Supreme Court’s ruling in West Virginia case, striking down the Clean Power Plan, and the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, with its huge economic incentives for clean energy.  Here’s quick rundown of what …


DeSantis and the Environment      

A Little Bit of Nepotism and a Lot of Everglades Protection.

Compared to Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis is practically a Greta Thunberg on environmental issues.  Of course, by the same token, I’m practically a Steph Curry on the court compared to Danny DeVito. Sarcasm aside, DeSantis is pretty good on environmental issues for a Republican. But he rarely mentions climate change, and his record on renewable …


Environment and Energy Impacts of the 2022 Election

The consequences will play out in D.C. and in some important states.

The President’s party typically does poorly in the mid-terms, Biden’s popularity is low, and Americans are upset about inflation. But the election didn’t produce the Republican wave many observers predicted in the last few weeks of the campaign.  Although the GOP will likely control the House, the Democrats have held the Senate.  Here’s where things …


Tomorrow’s Elections: What Enviros Should Watch For

Who will control the House and Senate — and why it matters. [WITH NOV. 10 UPDATE]

Will Biden be able to pass new climate legislation in the next two years? Will EPA be shut down due to budget disputes? Will he be able to add any new judges to balance Trump’s anti-regulatory appointees? Can Biden appoint new administrators to serve the next two years? How much will the Administration be hammered …


Key House Races in California

Three seats are up for grabs, and the races are very tight.

Three U.S. House races in California are rated as toss-ups. They could well be part of a Republican wave in November.  On the other hand, if the wave falters, these seats could be crucial to control of the House, or to how much of a Republican margin Kevin McCarthy will be able to work with …


Senate 2022: Wisconsin    

Of all the states in play, the Wisconsin race may have the sharpest contrast between view on climate change.

Wisconsin has been a swing state in recent presidential elections. The Senate race there could help determine control of the Senate. The incumbent Republican is a climate change denier. The challenge highlights his support for climate action. Ron Johnson (R). Johnson, the incumbent,  has a 7% lifetime LCV score, meaning he voted against the environment …


Election 2022: Governors

Four tight races will have big impacts on their states.

Although their powers vary in different states, governors are key figures in setting and implementing climate and energy policies.  There are several very tight races that could have significant policy impacts. They also have indirect impacts via the governor’s role in electoral matters. Elections in these four states are considered toss-ups. The Democrats are all …