The Revenge of the Lawyers
Economists ousted lawyers (and law) from their central role in the regulatory process. That’s changing.
As you’ve probably heard, the Biden Administration has proposed aggressive new targets for greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles. That’s great news. One really important aspect of the proposal relates to the justification for the proposal rather than the proposal itself. Following a recent trend, the justification is based on the factors specified by Congress …
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Revamping Cost-Benefit Analysis
Proposed changes will make CBA more climate friendly.
Last week, the Biden White House released proposed changes in the way the government does cost-benefit analysis. CBA has been a key part of rule making for forty years. The proposal is very technical and low-key, but the upshot will be that efforts to reduce carbon emissions will get a leg up. In particular, the …
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Fighting Back Against Lawless Judges: What Does The Case Law Actually Say?
Current standards for declaratory judgments could allow the Biden administration to pre-empt.
Three weeks ago, I argued that the Biden Administration should use the declaratory judgment as a way of pre-empting lawless judges like Matthew J. Kacsmaryk and Reed O’Connor, both of (of course) Texas. I fleshed out the idea in a recent piece for The American Prospect. Since then, the problem has only gotten worse, as …
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Do Climate Change Cases Belong in Federal Court? The Biden Administration Weighs In.
In a very narrowly argued brief, the Administration calls for returning the cases to state court.
The Biden Administration, at the Supreme Court’s invitation, has now filed a brief giving its views about current lawsuits against oil companies. The gist of the brief is that the cases belong in state court., and that the Court should let that happen rather than stepping into the litigation. The brief is right about that, …
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How Garden-Variety Air Pollution Regulation Promotes Environmental Justice
Cleaning up our nation’s air benefits the disadvantaged most of all.
Evidence is mounting that air pollution regulation is an effective way of reducing health disparities between disadvantaged communities and the population as a whole. The basic reason is simple: Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to poor communities and communities of color. As the American Lung Association has said: “The burden of air pollution …
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Did Biden have to approve the Willow oil project?
ConocoPhillips has existing lease rights. But the Biden administration had tools to curtail those rights to limit harms.
Although the Biden administration has approved the Willow oil drilling project on Alaska’s North Slope—the largest proposed oil drilling on U.S. public land in several decades—the legal questions are far from settled. Much of the media coverage so far has focused on the political dynamics driving the decision (as noted with some alarm here and …
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Cutting 290,000 Tons of Water Pollution a Year, One Coal Plant at a Time
Coal is a dirty fuel. It’s not just air pollution or climate change.
EPA proposed new regulations next week to reduce the water pollution impacts of coal-fired power plants. As EPA regulations go, these count as fairly minor. They got a bit of news coverage in coal country and industry publications. But they will eliminate the discharge of thousands of tons of pollutants, including a lot of metals …
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Wetlands Regulation in the Political Swamp
The Congressional Review Act remains bad for policy and worse for democratic deliberation.
Last December, the Biden administration issued a rule defining the scope of the federal government’s authority over streams and wetlands. Congressional Republicans vowed to overturn the rule, using a procedure created by the Congressional Review Act. If Congress is going to repeal something, it should be the Congressional Review Act rather than the Biden rule. …
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Congressional Cancel Culture
Once again, the Congressional Review Act rears its ugly head.
The Congressional Review Act (CRA) provides a fast-track process for canceling regulations if they hit an ideological nerve or offend a powerful special interest. Congressional Republicans are busily trying use it to cancel environmental regulations. Earlier this month, the target was a regulation encouraging pension managers to consider the impact of climate risks on their …
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Biden’s silent climate victory lap
The president talks up his climate laws without saying “climate.” Can the U.S. meet its climate goals without telling voters about them?
Well, we finally got a real “Infrastructure Week.” President Biden has been traveling from Baltimore to New York to Kentucky, touting his major legislative achievements in front of trains, tunnels and bridges. He’s talking up both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as a warm-up for his State …
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