The tough new air quality standard is sure to be challenged in court. Winning the challenges will be tougher.
EPA has just issued a rule tightening the air quality standard for PM2.5 — the tiny particles most dangerous to health — from an annual average of 12 μg/m³ (micrograms per cubic meter) down to 9 μg/m³. EPA estimates that, by the time the rule goes into effect in 2032, it will avoid 4500 premature …CONTINUE READING
The Court considers whether to stay an EPA plan in light of changed circumstances.
Later this month, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument about whether to stay a plan issued by EPA to limit upwind states from creating ozone pollution that impacts other states. As I wrote before the Court decided to hear the arguments, the issues here seem less than earthshaking, and for that matter, less than …CONTINUE READING
The Third Circuit straightens out a quirk in FERC law, to the benefit of renewable energy.
A case decided by the Third Circuit on Dec. 1 is important for two reasons. It clarifies a puzzling procedural rule applying to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). And it upholds an important policy shift regarding renewable energy by the country’s largest grid operator. Since you’re probably more interested in the second point than …CONTINUE READING
Scholars don’t know the answer. Nor, apparently, do the federal courts of appeals.
In West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court used the “major question doctrine” to overturn Obama’s signature climate change regulation. Once an issue reaches a certain level of significance, the Court says, Congress generally would want to make its own decision rather than allowing an agency like EPA to decide. Scholars have criticized the opinion …CONTINUE READING
How much is the Court likely to prune back EPA’s powers?
In a Friday post, I sketched some thoughts about how the Supreme Court’s vaccine mandate rulings might impact EPA’s power to control carbon emissions. I think it’s worth unpacking both the Court’s opinions a little more and the issues at stake in a pending climate change case, West Virginia v. EPA. The Court ruled in …CONTINUE READING
Giving the President more control of regulation has been a good thing — up to a point.
Conservatives love to complain about faceless bureaucrats, but blaming bureaucrats for regulations is hopelessly out of date. When Elena Kagan was a professor, she wrote an article called “Presidential Administration.” The article applauded her former boss Bill Clinton for seizing greater control of the regulatory process away from agencies. That trend has accelerated to the …CONTINUE READING
The Chevron doctrine has been a keystone of administrative law. But now it’s under siege.
Thirty-six years ago today, the Supreme Court decided the Chevron case. The case gives leeway to agencies when their governing statutes are unclear or have gaps. It’s probably the most frequently cited Supreme Court opinion ever. But now the Chevron doctrine is under fire from conservatives, who used to be its strongest advocates. Here’s how …CONTINUE READING
The Court’s ruling could have important implications for environmental cases.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Department of Homeland Security v. UC Regents was great news for 700,000 “Dreamers” who would otherwise face deportation. It also has important implications for administrative law — and for environmental law cases in particular. Here are three main takeaways. Requiring Reasoned Explanation. Chief Justice John Roberts reinforced the principle that …CONTINUE READING
This is what it looks like when judges just buckle down and do their jobs.
Last Friday, the D.C. Circuit decided Wisconsin v. EPA. The federal appeals court rejected industry attacks on a regulation dealing with interstate air pollution but accepted an argument by environmental groups that the regulation was too weak. Last week also featured depressing examples of the drumbeat of Trump Administration rollbacks, so it was especially nice …CONTINUE READING
The Trump Administration loses an environmental case. Again.
Last Friday, the Fourth Circuit halted efforts to build a natural gas pipeline because the Administration had done such a lousy job of showing its compliance with the Endangered Species Act. This was one of the Administration’s many losses in court. The case involved a perfect example of “arbitrary and capricious” decision making, to use …CONTINUE READING