water pollution

Putting the Squeeze on Coal

It’s not enough to eliminate coal-fired plants. We have to cut back on coal production and sale.

Coal use by American utilities has declined sharply and will continue to decline. But we shouldn’t focus solely on U.S. emissions. But the industry also exports coal, and there’s been a big surge in coal exports in the past two years, much of it involving India. So it’s not enough to curtail coal use in …

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Trump’s Budget Cuts: Even Worse Than You Thought

As you dive into the details, things keep looking worse.

Trump is proposing huge cuts to EPA and other agencies. That’s bad enough. We’re beginning to learn more details, and the message is grim.  While these cuts may not emerge from Congress at the end of the day, they do express the Administration’s goals. In particular, they demonstrate that the Administration is deeply hostile to environmental science and …

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A Coalition of the Willing

States need to work together to make progress happen in the age of Trump.

In the short time since the election, it’s already become a truism that state governments will have to keep the flame alive for environmental protection. But it’s not just individual state governments. It’s also crucial for states to work together. There’s been a lot of loose talk about “Calexit” out here. Secession is unconstitutional. (As …

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Rio’s Dirty Water

Everyone seems to be talking about the pollution in Guanabara Bay

With the Opening Ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympics set for tomorrow night, the world’s attention is turned to Brazil. For someone with a great love for the country, it is disheartening to see the series of articles in the run-up to the Olympics emphasizing the negatives—challenges due to political turmoil, security concerns, the Zika …

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A Minor Christmas Miracle from Congress

Somehow, Congress managed to pass a pro-environmental law. Amazing!

Just before Christmas, the NY Times reported that Congress passed the Microbead Free Waters Act of 2015. The law bans nearly invisible small beads that have been added as abrasives to products like toothpaste.  The trouble is that the beads get into waterways, where pollutants like PCBs adhere to their surfaces.  Even more amazingly, the bill …

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The Coal Mining Stream Buffer Rule Evokes Firestorm of Protest. #getagrip

Political polarization has gotten to the point where there would be immediate denunciations if the President issued a proclamation honoring apple pie. Another intrusion into consumer choice, besmirching those who prefer cherry and pumpkin!  Another blatant overreach by an out-of-control, incipient tyrant!  Not only is every executive action accompanied by loud resistance, but the same explosion of …

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Rand Paul versus Clean Water

Rand Paul’s plan to cut wetlands protection and make enforcement against polluters impossible.

Rand Paul recently won a big victory in the straw poll held by CPAC,the Conservative Political Action Conference.  In the environmental area, his signature measure is the Defense of Environment and Property Act. On its surface, the goal of the law is to cut back on federal jurisdiction over wetlands. The bill would drastically cut back …

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Gina McCarthy to be nominated as EPA head

As predicted by Cara recently in this space, it’s being widely reported (for example here) this morning that Gina McCarthy, currently EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, is Obama’s pick to succeed Lisa Jackson as EPA Administrator. Cara sees this appointment as a good thing for EPA’s climate policy efforts and …

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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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The strange saga of how Los Angeles County’s stormwater pollution ended up in the Supreme Court

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council. This case involves a lawsuit by clean-water advocates to require our County Flood Control District to take responsibility for ensuring that polluted stormwater doesn’t impair our local water quality in two local rivers. The Ninth …

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