It’s not that the policy choices are that hard. It’s the 6-3 Supreme Court.
Coal- and gas-fired power plants are a major source of U.S. carbon emissions. The Obama Administration devised a perfectly sensible, moderate policy to cut those emissions. The Trump Administration replaced it with a ridiculous token policy. The D.C. Circuit appeals court tossed that out. Now what? It wouldn’t be hard to redo the Obama policy …CONTINUE READING
With a few sentences, Congress could do a lot to fix the law.
The last time Congress tried to pass climate change legislation, the bill was about 800 pages long. That bill, the Waxman-Markey Act, tried to adopt a comprehensive set of emissions reduction measures, which is a complicated business. But a much simpler law could allow the U.S. to move forward quickly with less ambitious but still …CONTINUE READING
The judges seemed skeptical of Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule last week
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments about Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule last week. The ACE rule is a feeble substitute for Obama’s Clean Power Rule, which was Obama’s signature climate action regulating power plants. The argument went badly for the Trump folks. Even Judge Justin Walker, a 38-year-old whose main …CONTINUE READING
Precedent from another agency for the Clean Power Plan.
If you’ve been reading this blog or otherwise keeping up with environmental law, you’ve probably heard this a hundred times: In rolling back Obama’s signature climate regulation, the Clean Power Plan, the Trump Administration is relying on the idea that EPA’s jurisdiction stops at the fence line. That is, according to the Trump folks, EPA …CONTINUE READING
There’s a gaping hole in Pruitt’s argument for repealing the Obama’s climate change rule.
An earlier blog post pointed to a logical gap in the current EPA’s justification for repealing the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the Obama Administration effort to cut emissions from electrical power plants. He makes an argument that EPA can only base rules on actions that polluters can take within a facility, and jumps from there …CONTINUE READING
Why don’t EPA’s proposed rules to reduce methane emissions apply to existing oil and gas facilities?
In August, EPA released proposed rules to reduce fugitive methane and VOC emissions from oil and gas operations. While this is a significant action in the fight against climate change, and much needed in light of the shale-driven national drilling renaissance, there is a gaping hole in the methane rules that has environmentalists worried — …CONTINUE READING
EPA has shifted its position toward more readily defensible ground.
One of the most serious legal challenges to EPA’s Clean Power Plan — and probably the only one that could completely derail it — involves an exceptionally abstruse legal issue. When Congress tried to amend an obscure part of the Clean Air Act, someone screwed and two different versions were included in the final law. That …CONTINUE READING
EPA’s Final Plan Changes State Targets, With New Winners and Losers
When the President released the final version of the Clean Power Plan last week, it contained a number of big alterations to the draft plan. One of the most significant changes was the way each state’s greenhouse gas emissions target was calculated. The bottom line is that — generally — states more heavily reliant on …CONTINUE READING
All LegalPlanet resources on regulation of GHGs under 111(d), plus critical EPA resources and other valuable analyses
Today, EPA officially published the Clean Power Plan, the agency’s proposed rule to regulate power plant greenhouse gas emissions under Clean Air Act § 111(d), initiating a public comment period that will close on December 1, 2014. I have taken this as an opportunity to compile all of the various LegalPlanet resources on regulation of …CONTINUE READING
Case involves statutory interpretation questions not relevant to power plant rules
The U.S. Supreme Court should issue a decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) v. EPA very soon, perhaps as early as Monday (the Court typically issues its opinions on Mondays and Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. EST). The case involves an important set of regulations designed to regulate greenhouse gases from large new “sources” (industrial facilities, chemical …CONTINUE READING