Debating Environmental Racism in the Ninth Circuit
A recent case occasioned a sharp exchange about accusation of environmental racism.
Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice v. FAA is a Ninth Circuit opinion decided before the Thanksgiving break. It involved to a legal challenge to the FAA’s refusal to prepare a full-scale environmental impact statement before approving a major Amazon distribution center at the San Bernardino airport. I probably wouldn’t have read the decision …
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U.C. Davis School of Law Hosts “CEQA at 50” Conference on April 16th
Virtual Event Commemorates Past, Predicts Future of the California Environmental Quality Act
Now a half-century old, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) remains California’s most important, cross-cutting and controversial environmental law. Originally patterned on the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act, CEQA has over the decades become a more powerful law than its federal counterpart. And while numerous other states have adopted their own “little NEPA” statutes, CEQA …
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The U.S. Government Is Researching Solar Geoengineering. Now What?
Officials should use the tools on hand to get governance right.
In December, Congress renewed funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to investigate stratospheric aerosols as a potential method for “solar climate interventions,” expanding a research program established a year earlier. These actions have been widely interpreted as the first-ever federal research project into solar geoengineering—proposals to slightly “dim the sun” to limit …
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A new court ruling could doom the Trump Administration’s ANWR plan.
A Ninth Circuit ruling yesterday overturned approval of offshore drilling in the Arctic. The ruling may directly impact the Trump Administration’s plans for oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). By requiring agencies to consider emissions when fossil fuels are ultimately burned, the Court of Appeal’s decision may also change the way that …
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Some of the Things Federal Agencies Can Do to Address Climate Change
Current federal law provides many ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even without a friendly senate
As the likelihood grows that the United States will have a new president who will preside over a divided government, and various policy think tanks line up to offer suggestions for effective action on various important issues, it seems like the right time to shine a light once again on a series of reports issued …
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Enforcing NEPA’s Forgotten Mandate
The courts have failed to enforce a core requirement of NEPA. That leaves the White House.
The Democrats have adopted an ambitious platform for environmental protection, full of innovative legislative initiatives. Here’s another idea Biden and Harris should consider, making use of the oldest of the modern environmental statutes. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is best known for requiring environmental impact statements. While they have enforced that requirement, the courts …
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Trump’s Latest Deregulatory Ploy: Emergency Waivers
Shaky legal authority, poor analysis, dubious benefits. What else is new?
In an Executive Order issued last Thursday, Trump told agencies to use emergency waivers to avoid environmental safeguards. The order is legally shaky and unlikely to accomplish much. Still, it provided a nice photo op. Maybe he should have signed it in front of a church. I’ll talk later about the specifics, but first I’d …
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NEPA, emergencies and executive power
Once more we need to ask, can Trump do what he claims to be doing?
Late Thursday, the White House issued another in a seemingly endless series of administrative orders. Under the typically overblown title “EO on Accelerating the Nation’s Economic Recovery from the COVID-19 Emergency by Expediting Infrastructure Investments and Other Activities,” it was touted by the President’s team as a way to speed infrastructure permitting and another step …
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Public Lands Watch: Revisions to NEPA regulations
Trump Administration proposes drastic revisions to regulations that implement bedrock environmental law
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is one of the most important statutes for public lands management in the United States, even though it actually is not specific to public lands. NEPA requires federal agencies to analyze and publicly disclose the significant environmental impacts of proposed agency actions, consider alternatives to those proposals, and seek …
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Misunderstanding the Law of Causation
Trump’s NEPA proposal flunks Torts as well as Environmental Science 101.
Last week’s NEPA proposal bars agencies from considering many of the harms their actions will produce, such as climate change. These restrictions profoundly misunderstand the nature of environmental problems and are based on the flimsiest of legal foundations. Specifically, the proposal tells agencies they do not need to consider environmental “effects if they are remote …
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