Air Quality

Breaking Up with Fossil Fuels

It’s not us. It’s you.

WORLD: Thanks for the card. . . . But I think we need to talk. FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY: About what? W: About us. FFI: About us?? Can’t it wait until some other time? This is Valentine’s Day, and I’ve made plans for us.  Big plans. W: No, I think we need to get some things […]

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Is the Green New Deal’s Ambition Smart Policy?

Some Lessons from Environmental History

At the the heart of the Green New Deal — which demands slashing U.S. carbon emissions by 2030 by shifting to 100 percent clean energy  — is a major conundrum.  Even the most enthusiastic proponents of ambitious climate policy don’t believe the goals are achievable, technologically let alone politically.  Stanford Professor Marc Z. Jacobsen, for […]

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Emmett Institute Publishes Issue Brief on California’s Clean Air Act Vehicle Authority

Co-Authored by Ann Carlson, Meredith Hankins, and Julia Stein

Cross-posted to the American Constitution Society’s ACSblog As we have previously covered in past Legal Planet posts, in an outright assault on public health and the environment, the Trump Administration recently proposed rolling back national motor vehicle emission standards put in place by the Obama Administration. As part of this proposal, the Trump Administration also […]

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John Dingell, 1926-2019

The Surprising Environmental Record of Detroit’s Biggest Congressional Defender

There’s an old story about Rep. John Dingell, the long-running chair of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, who died yesterday at the age of 92, and served in the House longer than anyone in American history. Outside the office of the Committee, there is a huge picture of the Earth, taken from the Apollo […]

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EPA’s Return to Bush-Era Clean Air Act Reforms Sacrifices Agency’s Duty to Protect Environment, Ignores the Law

Quiet changes buried behind the big de-regulatory headlines spell disaster for the environment

As I explained back in August, the Trump Administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan replacement (the “Affordable Clean Energy” or ACE rule) came with a significant change to how the EPA has traditionally interpreted the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review (NSR) provisions mandating pre-construction environmental review and the installation of air pollution controls to offset […]

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Assessing–and Celebrating–California Governor Jerry Brown’s Environmental Legacy

Governor Brown Easily Ranks as the Top Environmental Governor in State History

Don’t it always seem to go That you don’t know what you’ve got `Til it’s gone         –Joni Mitchell (“Big Yellow Taxi”) On this, the last day of Jerry Brown‘s tenure as California’s governor, it’s appropriate to reflect on Governor Brown’s environmental legacy.  And a most formidable legacy it’s been. Brown has, quite […]

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The Power of the Purse

House Democrats have power to use appropriations process to stop Trump Administration environmental rollbacks

Dan has already posted about some of the big deregulatory steps the Trump Administration is likely to take in the next year. But the new Democratic majority in the House could have something to say about those steps, if they wanted to. Democrats will have even more leverage over spending bills than they had in […]

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The Curious Case of EPA’s Mercury Cost-Benefit Decision

What, exactly, is EPA up to by changing the underlying analysis of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (known as the MATS rule), as it announced yesterday?  Is it the first step in gutting the use of cost-benefit analysis to support strong environmental regulations?  Is it a gift to Murray Energy in its lawsuit seeking […]

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Everyday Christmas: The Gift of the Commons

Clean air. Clean water. We receive these public goods every day without payment.

Every day, we reach receive bountiful gifts in the form of what economists call public goods. I thought it might be worth reposting some Christmas Eve musings on that subject. After all, the holiday season is a time for watching the same old movies and hearing the same old carols as before, so why shouldn’t […]

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Guest Bloggers Deborah Gordon and Frances Reuland: Is California Extraordinary? Its Oil Resources Certainly Are

Facts About California’s Oil and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Despite ongoing federal rollbacks to environmental regulations, California has the right to set its own clean air standards because it is truly extraordinary. Truth be told, the compelling circumstances that first set in motion California’s vehicle emissions standards remain entirely valid. And there are four recent conditions, related to California’s oil supply, production, and refining, […]

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