Air Quality

Whose Interests Count? And How Much?

Whether to consider harms to foreign countries and future generations is controversial. So is how much weight to give harm to the poor.

Should regulators take into account harm to people in other countries? What about harm to future generations? Should we give special attention when the disadvantaged are harmed? These questions are central to climate policy and some other important environmental issues. I’ll use cost-benefit analysis as a framework for discussing these issues. You probably don’t need …

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War and the Environment: Ukraine in 2022

The environment is also a victim of the Russian invasion — perhaps to the point of being a war crime.

Memorial Day began as a day to commemorate the Civil War dead, then became a day to commemorate the dead from many wars. But war’s toll goes beyond direct harm to humans.   The environment also suffers. On top of its human tragedies, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is also wreaking environmental havoc. One source of …

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After the Court Rules: Gaming out Responses to a Cutback in EPA Authority

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 …

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Turning Wildfire Treatment Debris Into Marketable Wood Products

New report & May 9th webinar offer solutions to reduce emissions and improve wildfire resilience

Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) and UCLA Law’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change & the Environment are releasing today a new policy report: Branching Out: Waste Biomass Policies To Promote Wildfire Resilience and Emission Reduction. The report offers solutions to develop a sustainable market for the residual waste material generated …

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New Paper Addresses California Air District Authority to End NOx Pollution from Household Appliances

Most household appliances, like furnaces and water heaters, are powered by fossil fuels and emit nitrogen oxides (NOx)—toxic and highly reactive gases that endanger human health and the environment. To address this problem, air districts have adopted policies to reduce NOx pollution from appliances, and others across California are considering similar proposals. In a new …

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Regan Hits His Stride

Under Administrator Michael Regan, the Biden EPA is beginning to churn out important new regulatory proposals.

The Trump Administration left a trail of regulatory destruction behind it. Cleaning up the mess and issuing new regulations is Priority #1 for the Biden Administration. Under EPA head Michael Regan, the effort is beginning to pick up steam. EPA has begun the year with several major new regulatory efforts.  No one of them is …

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Emissions by the Big Utilities: Where They Are, What They’re Aiming For

Almost all the top ten utilities are big emitters today but looking to cut back.

There’s a lot of discussion of how the private sector is supporting renewable energy, but it’s almost all about power consumers like Apple and Walmart. But what about the companies who are selling the power? As a first step to getting a better sense of where the utility industry is going, we accumulated some basic …

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Washington State Steps Up

A new law is the latest sign that the future is electrical, not oil.

On the weekend weekend, Governor Jay Inslee signed a major transportation bill. The most dramatic feature of the bill is that it will mostly ban new gas cars in Washington as of 2030. That puts Washington ahead of California, Massachusetts and New York, as well as Canada and Japan. Washington’s deadline is tied with Israel, …

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Pollution Control as Climate Policy

Tightening air quality standards will also reduce carbon emissions.

The Biden Administration is slowly grinding away at an important regulatory task: reconsidering the air quality standards for particulates and ozone.  Setting those standards is an arduous and time-consuming process, requiring consideration of reams of technical data. For instance, a preliminary staff report on fine particulates (PM2.5) is over 600 pages long. When the process …

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Environmental Justice, Truck Pollution, and the Biden EPA

How will EPA integrate EJ into its rule making? The answer remains murky.

EPA recently released a notice of proposed rulemaking for pollution from new heavy-duty vehicles. I was interested to see how environmental justice figured into the analysis, looking for clues about how the Biden Administration plans to make EJ part of decision making.  What I found wasn’t very enlightening. Perhaps they’re still trying to come up …

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