I didn’t think cutting methane was a high priority. Now I do. Here’s why.
I didn’t use to think that eliminating methane emissions should be a priority. True, methane is a potent greenhouse gas. But it’s also a short-lived one, which only stays in the atmosphere for twenty years or so. In contrast, CO2 emissions cause warming for 2-3 centuries or more. So methane emissions seemed to be something …CONTINUE READING
The recent rescission of a Trump rule hints at how the Biden Administration views the role of cost-benefit analysis.
In its closing days, the Trump Administration issued a rule designed to tilt EPA’s cost-benefit analysis of air pollution regulations in favor of industry. Last week, EPA rescinded the rule. The rescission was no surprise, given that the criticisms of the Trump rule by economists as well as environmentalists. EPA’s explanation for the rescission was …CONTINUE READING
With a clever if contrived argument, the Second Circuit tries to eliminate climate change litigation.
On Friday, the Second Circuit issued an important decision in a lawsuit against the oil industry. New York City had sued the oil companies for harms relating to climate change. The appeals court ordered the case dismissed, on the ground that any harm relating to fossil fuel is exclusively regulated by the Clean Air Act. …CONTINUE READING
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
The regulatory history is dauntingly convoluted. This sixteen year regulatory saga has lessons for climate policy.
EPA issued a rule last week that will significantly improve air quality, particularly on the East Coast. This is EPA’s fourth and final iteration of a rule-making process to control interstate air pollution that began in 2005. Reflecting this history, this fourth rule is a second and presumably final revision of an update to an …CONTINUE READING
Guest Contributor Aimee Barnes: How the Biden Administration’s Environmental Justice Mapping Tool Can Identify and Target Benefits to Disadvantaged Communities
Lessons Learned From CalEnviroScreen
Just one week after his inauguration, President Joe Biden designated January 27 “Climate Day” at the White House and signed a number of executive orders, including one aimed to “secure environmental justice (EJ) and spur economic opportunity.” Under this executive order, President Biden took the first steps to make good on his campaign’s EJ commitments. …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
Despite Trump’s efforts, he couldn’t actually reset the clock to the pre-Obama era.
Obama moved us forward. Trump moved us backwards. Are we back where we began? No. Biden starts from a significantly stronger position than Obama did in 2008. In 2008, like today, the outgoing Republican President had adamantly opposed climate action, favored the oil and gas industry, and turned a cold shoulder toward environmental regulation. Trump …CONTINUE READING
A half century of progress in cleaning up the air began New Year’s Eve 1970.
On December 31, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed the Clean Air Act. William Ruckelshaus and Russell Train, who later led the way in implementing the new law, stood by his side with beaming smiles. Nixon supported the basic features of the bill. But he had considered vetoing the final version because Senator Ed Muskie …CONTINUE READING
California’s Environmental Justice Policies Should Serve as A Model for the Biden-Harris Administration
AB 617’s Program to Reduce Hot Spot Pollution, Port Programs, Zero Emission Trucks Could Go National
No Presidential ticket has come into office more committed to environmental issues than President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Appropriately, climate change is at the top of their agenda. They are also committed to advancing environmental justice by addressing the disproportionate environmental harms many low income communities of color face. California is often …CONTINUE READING