Regulations have some sticking power, even when the White House changes hands.
The Trump Administration’s massive campaign against government regulation was horrifying at the time and depressing in retrospect. Many people have been left with doubts about whether it’s even worthwhile to bother with new regulations, given the risk of a switch in control of the White House. I don’t question Trump’s regulatory carnage. But Obama’s achievements …CONTINUE READING
Justices Decline to Intervene in Government Lawsuits Seeking Damages from Fossil Fuel Industry
This week the U.S. Supreme Court gave state and local governments a big–if preliminary–legal win against the fossil fuel industry. The justices declined to take up numerous cases in which government entities have sued oil, gas and coal companies, seeking compensation for the climate change-related damage the jurisdictions they claim to have suffered, and which …CONTINUE READING
Here’s a timeline of the victories and defeats since 1992.
Thirty years ago, the United States joined the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The decades since then have been a saga of victories and defeats for U.S. climate policy. Progress has been made under one President, only to be battered down by the next one. This to-and-fro is a sobering reminder of how …CONTINUE READING
Environmentalists do a lot worrying, seasoned by dashes of anger and despair. Here are some things to feel good about instead.
Environmentalists have a tendency to focus on the environmental harm we haven’t been able to prevent and the frustrations of making further progress. Once in a while, though, it’s good to look at the progress we’ve made. Take a few minutes this holiday weekend to be thankful for some of this year’s steps forward on …CONTINUE READING
Student analysis identifies disparities in judicial outcomes
(This post was authored by Grayson Peters, a JD candidate at Berkeley Law and CLEE research assistant.) Do federal judges appointed by former President Trump rule differently in environmental disputes than judges appointed by other presidents? An analysis by two Berkeley Law students finds that they do in a few key areas of judicial decision-making. …CONTINUE READING
Remember Trump’s appointees — Pruitt, Zinke, and the rest? Here’s where they went afterwards.
Trump’s environmental appointees were a motley crew, many lacking in relevant expertise; others with shaky ethical standards. While in office, they were daily sources of torment for environmentalists. Where are they now? For most, being in the cabinet has been a stepping stone to nowhere. Here’s the Trump crew and their last known whereabouts. David …CONTINUE READING
Understanding the Property Clause’s location in Article IV clarifies the power of Congress and the federal government to protect public lands
In my previous blog post, I discussed how the location of the Property Clause in Article IV can help answer key debates about congressional versus executive power under the Clause, as well as federal versus state power under the Clause. Here I want to draw on the principles I developed in the prior blog post: …CONTINUE READING
How “horizontal federalism” can help us understand federal power over the public lands
Can the President unilaterally end fossil fuel leasing on federal lands? Or does this policy decision require Congressional intervention? Can the President unilaterally terminate existing National Monuments that protect federal public lands from development? Or does this policy decision also require Congressional intervention? Does federal law preempt state law on federal lands? Or does the …CONTINUE READING
The Supreme Court is almost certain to cut back on EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. What then?
In West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court is reviewing Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) itself no longer has any practical relevance, but there’s every reason to predict the Court will strike it down anyway. The ruling will also restrict EPA’s future options. The big question is what the Biden Administration …CONTINUE READING
Trump tried to keep climate change out of environmental impact statements. Biden was right to scotch that effort.
Yesterday, the White House undid an effort by the Trump Administration to undermine the use of environmental impact statements. The pre-Trump rules had been in effect since 1978. Restoring the 1978 version was the right thing to do. The Trump’s rules arbitrarily limited the scope of the environmental effects that EPA can consider. Their goal …CONTINUE READING