environmental politics

Mitch McConnell’s “War on Coal Miners”

McConnell seems to care more about political payback than the miners’ welfare.

Mitch McConnell’s website trumpets that last fall he received  an award from the Washington Coal Club “for his work to defend Kentucky’s coal jobs, miners and their families.”  His concern for miners turns out not to be so deep.  As the Washington Post reported last week, he single-handedly blocked a measure to rescue health and pension benefits …

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The Perverse Growth of the “Job Killing” Meme

As unemployment goes down and down, talk about “job killing regulations” goes up and up.

We’ve had a number of posts about the claim that regulations cause major job losses.  The evidence doesn’t support this claim.  (See this post from October). But the claim at least seemed understandable in the depths of the recession, when people were desperately worried about unemployment.  The weird thing is that as unemployment has gone …

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2016: The Year of Living Dangerously

2015 was a year of forward movement. Much of that could be in jeopardy this year.

We are at the start of a year of danger for environmental policy.  2015 saw many accomplishments in environmental law: the Administration issued the “waters of the United States” and Clean Power Plan regulations,  a Supreme Court ruling in favor of EPA’s cross-state air pollution rule, and the Paris Agreement on climate change.  Much of this progress is …

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What Does Ben Carson Think About the Environment?

He hasn’t said much. Mostly he sounds like Mitch McConnell. But sometimes he sounds like Pope Francis.

Ben Carson is rapidly rising in  the polls for the GOP presidential nomination.  He has a number of strengths including a demeanor that is the opposite of Donald Trump’s and an arresting personal story.  Apparently, for many GOP voters, part of his charm is his lack of experience in politics or government.  He has taken …

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The Top Ten Reasons Trump Should Endorse a Carbon Tax

A bold move, if Trump is brave enough to go there.

Not that he’s asked for my advice, but here are ten powerful reasons why Donald Trump should endorse a carbon tax: 10.  It would be completely inconsistent with his past positions. 9.    It would shock the GOP establishment. 8.    It would shock the media. 7.    He’s already endorsed a tax increase for …

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Guess Who Benefits From Regulating Power Plants

The answer will surprise you.

What parts of the country benefit most from the series of new EPA rules addressing pollution from coal-fired power plants?  The answer is not what you think. EPA does a thorough cost-benefit analysis of its regulations but the costs and benefits are aggregated at the national level. In a new paper, David Spence and David Adelman from the University …

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Is Jeb Too Green?

GOP Primary voters may think so.

At this point,  the GOP Presidential field looks like Jeb Bush versus Everyone Else.  (Of course, there’s a big fight over who get’s to play Everyone Else when this particular play opens in Iowa and New Hampshire.) It’s an open question whether Jeb will turn out to be too green for the average GOP primary voter. …

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Culture Wars at the Supreme Court

A new book examines the roots of judicial conflict in environmental law.

Views on environmental issues are related to broader culture differences.  According to social scientists, environmentalists tend to be egalitarian, believe in harmony with nature, and stress responsibility over autonomy.  Their opponents, who are skeptical about regulation, tend to favor traditional hierarchies, believe in human mastery of nature, and stress autonomy over responsibility. Jon Cannon’s new book, Environment …

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The Case Against Sulking

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 …

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News from a Warming World

Coal versus wind power; China’s air; poll results; Ted Cruz; arctic ice.

There’s been a lot of interesting environmental news recently, much of which seems to have gotten little notice. The topics range from U.S. wind power (growing) to U.S. coal power and Arctic sea ice (both shrinking), with a bit of Ted Cruz to spice things up. Here’s the round-up: Out with coal, in with wind. The …

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