Federal Climate Policy

Defending EPA’s Authority to Fight Climate Change – at the Supreme Court

Sean Hecht and Ted Lamm co-author amicus brief on behalf of Clean Air Act expert Tom Jorling

This week, Sean Hecht and I filed an amicus brief at the Supreme Court in West Virginia v. EPA in defense of EPA’s authority to effectively regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Our client is Tom Jorling, a former Senate staffer and EPA official who was directly involved in drafting the Act …

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One Year and Counting

How does Biden’s first year compare with Trump’s? Biden has been much more effective.

If you compare Biden’s performance with his promised agenda, the first year has been disappointing. If instead you compare him with his predecessor, Biden has done more to achieve his environmental goals. The difference is that Trump was judged on the basis of his rhetoric, while Biden is judged based on his achievement. Four years …

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More on How the Vaccine Mandate Cases May Impact Climate Policy

How much is the Court likely to prune back EPA’s powers?

In a Friday post, I sketched some thoughts about how the Supreme Court’s vaccine mandate rulings might impact EPA’s power to control carbon emissions.  I think it’s worth unpacking both the Court’s opinions a little more and the issues at stake in a pending climate change case, West Virginia v. EPA. The Court ruled in …

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Today’s Vaccine Cases: Implications for Climate Change Regulation

Today’s ruling are (somewhat) good news in terms of West Virginia v. EPA?

Today, the Court’s conservative Justices split the difference in two cases involving vaccine mandates, striking down OSHA’s mandate but upholding a more limited mandate for healthcare workers. The cases also split the conservative Justices themselves, with three hardliners (Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch) seeking a more activist ruling in the OSHA case and dissenting in the …

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1990: The Year the Courts Discovered Climate Change

Cases were few, but one judge was years ahead of her time.

In an earlier post, I tried to figure out when the legal academy first discovered climate changes. As it turns out, it was almost a decade later when the federal courts took notice.  Those first climate change cases shed light on how new issues get litigated and how courts respond to new science. My research …

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2022: The Year Ahead

Here are the five biggest things to watch for.

There will be a lot going on this year in the environmental sphere.  I wanted to focus on a few big things to keep an eye on, rather than trying to give a long, comprehensive survey. Here are the five biggest things to watch for: Midterm elections. As of now, things are looking very good …

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2021: The Year in Review

After the dark days of the Trump Era, environmental policy had a very good year

The continuing pandemic sometimes makes it feel like time is frozen. But 2021 was a big year for environmental policy. Politics. The biggest news of 2021, for the environment as well as other reasons, was the replacement of Donald Trump by Joseph Biden. On the regulatory front, the change in White House control instantly stopped …

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On the Frustrations of Climate Politics

It’s not just the shortcomings of Joe Manchin.  Climate legislation is an inherently tough political challenge.

Yesterday, Joe Manchin announced that he couldn’t support the Build Back Better reconciliation bill. Unless Biden can somehow coax him back to the negotiating table, that dooms what would have been a major breakthrough in climate policy.  Manchin bears responsibility for this deeply regrettable decision. But climate legislation is hard, even in more favorable political …

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It’s Time to Repeal the Clean Power Plan

The CPP no longer serves any useful purpose, and keeping it on the books invites mischief by the Supreme Court.

The Clean Power Plan (CPP) was the Obama Administration’s signature climate effort. This 2015 regulation aimed to move state power grids away from coal and toward renewable energy. It immediately became ensnared in litigation and never went into effect. It’s now considered irrelevant for all practical purposes. Yet the Supreme Court is now set to …

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What’s in the Reconciliation Bill?

The House takes an important step toward transforming the energy system

Last Friday, the House passed its version of the Build Back Better Act. Due to a quirk in parliamentary procedure, the Senate will be able to consider the $1.7 trillion bill under the “reconciliation” process, which means no filibuster is allowed. It remains unclear whether anyone can wrangle all fifty Senators into supporting some version …

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