The Endangered Species Act, enacted in 1973, has for most of its history been the most controversial and politically-charged of all the foundational environmental laws adopted by Congress in the 1970’s. But despite its contentious history, opponents of the ESA have been unsuccessful in their efforts to weaken the law, either through significant Congressional amendments […]
Federal Climate Policy
Big business was happily married to the GOP. But there’s trouble in paradise.
The GOP used to be synonymous with big business. But there seem to be growing divisions – divisions that may open the way to new environmental initiatives. In April, the Washington Post ran a story about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s decision to loosen its ties to the GOP and move toward a more bipartisan […]
Texas has the most wind power in the country and is rapidly building solar. How did that happen?
People are often surprised to learn that Texas is the national leader in wind power, with the twice the generating capacity of any other state. On one notable night in December of 2015, the state got 45% of its power from wind, though the year-round average was only about 10%. In July of this year, the […]
The ACE rule adds costs, achieves little, and disempowers the states. Nice job.
The Trump ACE rule violates all the Administration’s own deregulatory principles.To hear Trump talk, the point of deregulation is to reduce the burden of regulation on industry. But weirdly enough, that doesn’t turn out to be true of Trump’s effort to repeal Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) and replace it with his own Affordable Clean […]
The DNC Can Help to Make Climate Change Into an Issue of Consequence for the Campaign
This is my first post in my new role at the UC Berkeley Center for Law, Energy, and Environment, working on Project Climate. Last year, as a Legal Planet guest blogger, I wrote that political will and scale are the two biggest challenges of climate change response. So for this first post, I want to […]
Does the Gundy decision spell doom for modern government?
Gundy v. United States was a case involving a fairly obscure statute regulating sex offenders, but some have seen it as a harbinger of the destruction of the modern administrative state. In a 4-1-3 split, the Court turned away a constitutional challenge based on a claim that Congress had delegated too much authority to the […]
Bill Wehrum steps down as Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.
This morning, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced that Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum will be stepping down at the end of this month. The language of EPA’s press release seems intended to suggest that the departure was voluntary, but the resignation comes amid ongoing scrutiny about the Assistant Administrator’s connections to a number of industry clients […]
Our institutions have been battered. How will we be able to fix them?
Much of Trump’s damage to the environment is obvious: his efforts to increase gas and oil production, his regulatory rollbacks, and his efforts to gut the agencies charged with protecting the environment. But he has also done deeper damage to the institutions we need to address climate change and other daunting environmental challenges. These problems […]
Final Rule Changes Baseline Assumptions & Approach to Cost-Benefit Analysis in Attempt to Justify Weak Standards
Yesterday, the Trump EPA released its long-awaited response to the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. At first glance, the final rule has been carefully crafted in an attempt to avoid several glaring legal vulnerabilities of the rule—and to obscure the obvious inadequacy of the Administration’s response to climate change. The EPA has found many contradictory ways […]
As Some Nations Retreat From Internationalist Approaches to Transnational Environmental Challenges, Corporate Actions May Play a Larger Role
The withdrawal by Japan from the International Whaling Convention and its related Commission in December 2018 and the on-off threat by the new leader of Brazil to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change are the latest signals that International Environmental Law (“IEL”) is under siege. The move by Japan and the possible withdrawal […]