pollution

Guest Bloggers Deborah Gordon and Frances Reuland: Is California Extraordinary? Its Oil Resources Certainly Are

Facts About California’s Oil and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Despite ongoing federal rollbacks to environmental regulations, California has the right to set its own clean air standards because it is truly extraordinary. Truth be told, the compelling circumstances that first set in motion California’s vehicle emissions standards remain entirely valid. And there are four recent conditions, related to California’s oil supply, production, and refining, …

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Weakening Vehicle Standards Ignores Decades of Successful Innovation in Emissions Control

EPA appears poised to abdicate their responsibility to protect public health

As my colleague Ann Carlson explained, the EPA is expected to announce a catastrophic rollback this week to freeze national vehicle emission and fuel economy standards and challenge California’s authority to set their own, more stringent standards. The Trump EPA’s decision to weaken the vehicle standards despite thorough midterm reviews by both the Obama-era EPA and California that …

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Plastics and our Future

How to turn off the plastics spout?

Kudos to National Geographic for its stunner of an issue on plastics and the environmental harms they cause. As this latest report and many other recent stories make clear, we are drowning in plastics. Bits of plastic have been found in beer, in major brands of bottled water, in 75% of deep sea fish, in …

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200 Days & Counting: Environmental Threat Assessment

The Trump Administration presents a barrage of threats to the environment. Which threats are worst?

This is the last in our series on the state of play concerning U.S. environmental protection at this point of the Trump Administration. We can classify threats along three dimensions: the likelihood of harm, the seriousness and irreversibility of the harm, and the irreversibility of the institutional or legal change. Here’s an assessment of our …

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TSCA Update: EPA Selects First 10 Chemicals for Risk Evaluation

Asbestos included in first 10 chemicals EPA will evaluate for human and environmental risks under TSCA

Today EPA released a list of the first ten chemicals it will evaluate for risks to human health and the environment under the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  These ten chemicals, drawn from a list of 90 in EPA’s 2014 TSCA Work Plan, will undergo complete risk evaluations within three years.  If EPA finds …

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Another California Regulatory Agency in Crisis: Southern California’s Air Quality Management District Fires Longtime Executive Officer

Barry Wallerstein’s Ouster from SCAQMD Signals Tilt Away from Protection of Public Health

In a move that shocked the environmental advocacy community and low-income communities of color that suffer most from the impacts of poor air quality in Los Angeles, the governing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District fired its longtime executive officer Barry Wallerstein today, voting 7-6 in closed session to remove him from …

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AB 32 and post-2020 climate goals

Big Sur California Untitled

What does California’s Global Warming Solutions Act say about emissions after 2020?

I have heard some references, recently, to AB 32 “expiring” in 2020.  It’s easy to understand where this idea comes from: California’s premiere climate change law was passed in 2006 and sets a goal for the state to return to 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by a deadline of 2020.  Moreover, one of the …

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China’s Pollution Challenge

Can a new law save China’s environment?

Benjamin van Rooij and I published the following in the New York Times op-ed page today.  In short, it is about the challenges the new Environmental Protection Law will face in practice and the critical reforms needed to overcome these challenges: China’s national legislature has adopted sweeping changes to the country’s Environmental Protection Law, revisions …

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Air Pollution in China Shuts Down City of 11 Million

The airpocalypse is back. What should Chinese leaders do about it?

On Sunday, the start of the heating season in northern China brought the “airpocalypse” back with a vengeance (although some might say it never left).  Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province and home to 11 million people, registered fine particulate (PM2.5) pollution levels beyond 500 on the Chinese Air Quality Index, which is considered hazardous …

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Supreme Court overturns Ninth Circuit decision that held L.A. County Flood Control District liable for stormwater pollution in a poorly-reasoned, but narrow, decision

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council.  I’ve blogged about this case before, noting that the Supreme Court’s grant of review in this case was based on a completely mistaken premise.  (If you’re unfamiliar with the case, the linked post explains in …

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