Administrative Law

Do regulators and utility managers have irreconcilable differences or mutual goals?

By Alida Cantor, Luke Sherman, Anita Milman, and Mike Kiparsky

Do regulators and utility managers have irreconcilable differences or mutual goals?   By Alida Cantor, Luke Sherman, Anita Milman, and Mike Kiparsky. What do climate change, aging infrastructure, and urban population growth have in common? They all pose major challenges – especially for water infrastructure in the United States. And many utilities are having a …

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The Nondelegation Doctrine and Its Threat to Environmental Law

Here’s what the doctrine means and why it has suddenly become so significant.

If you ask Supreme Court experts what keeps them up at night, the answer is likely to be the non-delegation doctrine. If you are among the 99.9% of Americans who’ve never heard of it, here’s an explainer of the doctrine and what the 6-3 Court might do with it. What’s the nondelegation doctrine? Simply put, …

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Expertise versus Politics Under Biden

Experts will no longer be pariahs under Biden. But will their voices be heard?

One of the abiding issues in governance is the balance between democratic leadership and experts.  We don’t want government solely by technocrats.  Nor do we want government steered solely by ideology and politics, as under Trump.  Biden will be a vast improvement, but there’s still some question about whether he’ll get the balance right. I …

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Liberal Judges Embrace Textualism

Why are these judges suddenly so enthusiastic about Justice Scalia’s approach to reading statutes?

Two of Trump’s major regulatory efforts were recently thrown out by the D.C. Circuit.  The liberal judges who wrote the opinions latched onto a conservative theory called textualism, which was most prominently advocated by Justice Antonin Scalia. While judges in an earlier era tried to interpret Congress’s intent in writing a law, textualists focus solely …

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Biden and Regulatory Review

Big changes may be coming to White House regulatory oversight.

President Biden seems to be poised to dramatically change how the White House reviews proposed agency regulations. I argued in a recent post that it would be better  to expand the focus of  regulatory review beyond cost-benefit analysis to include important values such as social justice and environmental quality. Biden may be moving in that …

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The CRA is Back in Play

What you need to know about the Congressional Review Act and Trump’s regulatory legacy

This post is co-authored by Beth Kent and Cara Horowitz Last week’s Georgia Senate victories have given Democrats (bare) control of the Senate—and, with it, the potential to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to erase some of the Trump Administration’s regulatory rollbacks. Here are four key things to know about this unique legislative oversight …

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DC Circuit Gets Help from Grid Experts in Vacating ACE Power Plant Rule

The importance of understanding how things work

I’ve seen lots of good analysis already (including this post from Dan) of the DC Circuit’s decision today to invalidate the Trump Administration’s ACE Rule, which governs climate emissions from coal-fired power plants and does essentially nothing to reduce those emissions.  It turns out that doing essentially nothing is not enough. There’s a lot to …

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Strategies to Reverse Federal Environmental Rollbacks

Last month, CLEE released a website that compiled over 180 Trump Administration environmental policy rollbacks, from the repeal of the Clean Power Plan to the removal of government climate change websites. We tracked and evaluated these rollbacks based on their environmental, climate, public health, and programmatic impacts; identified the pathway and difficulty of reversal; and …

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Rethinking Presidential Administration

Giving the President more control of regulation has been a good thing — up to a point.

Conservatives love to complain about faceless bureaucrats, but blaming bureaucrats for regulations is hopelessly out of date.  When Elena Kagan was a professor, she wrote an article called “Presidential Administration.”  The article applauded her former boss Bill Clinton for seizing greater control of the regulatory process away from agencies. That trend has accelerated to the …

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Restoring Agency Norms

It’s not just the White House. We also have to repair the way agencies operate.

Donald Trump prided himself on his contempt for established norms of presidential action. Whole books have been written about how to restore those norms. Something similar also happened deeper down in the government, out in the agencies like EPA that do the actual work of governance. Trump appointees have corrupted agencies and trashed the norms …

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