Air Quality

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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Politics, the Environment, and the Rural/Urban Divide

Rural areas have been home to regulatory skeptics. But there may be ways of changing that.

Is there an urban/rural split in America? Definitely so, in politics, demography, and economics — and on the environment. Consider this, from Dan Balz at the Washington Post: “in the 2,332 counties that make up small-town and rural America, [Trump] swamped his Democratic rival, winning 60 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 34 percent.” But Balz reports […]

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Scooter

Criticism of electric scooters misses the climate change and pedestrian safety benefits

If you live in a major city on the West Coast or in handful of cities on the East Coast, you probably have an opinion on the electric scooters that have been dropped haphazardly onto your local streets and sidewalks. And it’s probably not a positive one. But I’m here to tell you why scooters […]

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Trump Administration’s Quiet Policy Change Could More Than Double Hazardous Air Pollution in California

Change in MACT applicability could result in 935 additional tons of toxic pollution emitted by stationary sources in the state each year

Earlier this year, EPA made a major policy change in how the agency evaluates stationary sources of hazardous air pollutants in a memorandum quietly issued without any warning or opportunity for public comment. This policy change was promptly challenged by California and two different coalitions of environmental and community groups (one suit was filed by […]

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Californians Strongly Oppose Rolling Back Clean Car Standards

Day-long hearing in Fresno shows clear opposition to Trump administration proposal

Along with hundreds of others, I traveled to Fresno, California to testify today against EPA’s proposed rollback of vehicle standards. We’ve covered EPA and NHTSA’s legally flawed proposal in a number of previous Legal Planet posts. Today’s hearing started out with NHTSA’s chief counsel accidentally referring to EPA as the “Energy Protection Agency,” but has […]

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UCLA’s Environmental Law Clinic Files Brief on Behalf of Amici League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties

Brief defends local government authority to regulate oil drilling in face of industry challenge

[Update: The Second District Court of Appeal, Division 5 has rejected all the amicus curiae brief applications filed in this case, including this brief. We will leave this post, and the link to the brief, up on this blog so that anyone interested may see our arguments, but the brief will not be considered in […]

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Separated at Birth? No, not really.

Trump’s pro-coal EPA plan equates two legal provisions with little in common.

Trump’s plan for coal-fired power plants, like Obama’s plan to cut carbon emissions, is based on section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.  But much of the legal argument relies on an analogy to section 165 to support EPA’s very restrictive interpretation of section 111(d). It’s that restrictive interpretation that leads the agency to reject […]

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