The Side Deal

How would the Manchin-Schumer deal on permitting impact the environment?

To get Manchin’s vote for the $379 billion in environmental spending in the IRA bill, Schumer and other congressional leaders had to agree to support Manchin’s efforts  to speed up the permit system. At this point, all we have is a one-page list of permitting changes that would form the basis of a new bill. …


A Beautiful Day for Bumblefish?

A California court just ruled that bumblebees are fish. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

A California appeals court ruled last week that bumblebees are fish and are therefore protected by the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). That may sound ridiculous, but there’s actually a convoluted legal argument to support the court. That argument does justify giving the CESA some extra coverage beyond what we would ordinarily classify as fish.  …


What do U.S. states do at a COP, anyway?

Newsom’s out, but California and other states continue with robust delegations headed to Scotland

You’ve likely heard that the big annual United Nations climate conference is about to get underway in Glasgow, with nations around the world gathering together to try to advance international climate cooperation.  But it’s not just national representatives who will attend; many subnational jurisdictions, including California and other U.S. states, also send  significant delegations.  Although …


Climate Politics and the Urban-Rural Split

How do we sell climate policies to huge swathes of Trump country?

The 2020 elections revealed America as bitterly divided as ever. The split between rural and urban voters is intensifying, with rural voters delivering massive support to Trump and down ticket Republicans.  Success in decarbonizing the economy will ultimately require the support of those voters.  Short of a miraculous turnaround in attitudes about climate change, how …


Supreme Court Rejects States’ Climate Change Nuisance Lawsuit

The Supreme Court today issued its long-awaited decision in an important climate change case, American Electric Power v. Connecticut.   As expected, the Court rejected a public nuisance lawsuit that a coalition of states and private land trusts had brought against the owners of Midwestern coal-fired power plants, challenging their massive greenhouse gas emissions on …


Damage Control for the States: Predicting the Outcome in AEP v. Connecticut

Yesterday I previewed Tuesday’s oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court’s American Electric Power v. Connecticut case, and two of my Legal Planet colleagues have already posted comments on certain aspects of those arguments. But let me cast discretion to the wind and predict the outcome of the case. Actually, it’s not that difficult a …


Previewing the Supreme Court Oral Arguments in AEP v. Connecticut

On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the only environmental case on its docket this Term: American Electric Power v. Connecticut. At issue in this critically important climate change case is whether a coalition of states, New York City and several private land trusts can pursue a federal common law nuisance claim …


A republican moment on climate change? Maybe not yet

The environmental community has been understandably excited about the prospect of finally getting U.S. legislative action in light of the popularity of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, the development of a public consensus on the reality of global warming, the election of Barack Obama, and strong Democratic majorities in both House and Senate.  That optimism, …