General

EPA’s Draft Update to Its “Science Transparency Rule” Shows It Can’t Justify the Rule

EPA Cites an Inapplicable “Housekeeping Statute” to Justify Its Rule to Limit the Use of Science In Important Regulatory Decisions

Over a year ago, EPA issued a proposed rule , ostensibly to promote transparency in the use of science to inform regulation. The proposal, which mirrors failed legislation introduced multiple times in the House, has the potential to dramatically restrict EPA’s ability to rely on key scientific studies that underpin public health regulations. The rule, …

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EPA v. the Inspector General

Surprise, surprise, EPA has tried to stonewall an investigation.

EPA’s Acting Inspector General Charles J. Sheehan took the extraordinary step last week of notifying Congress that EPA was stonewalling his investigation of potential misconduct involving EPA’s Chief of Staff.  This was a gutsy move for Sheehan, especially given the extra vulnerability created by his Acting status. Sheehan, it is worth noting, is a career …

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The US’s Departure from the Paris Climate Agreement is Not Such a Big Deal

Trump digs coal. Public domain image via Wikicommons.

The impacts of Pres. Trump’s action will be symbolic, not substantive

Soon after entering office, President Donald Trump promised to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. He did so yesterday, which was the first day that he may. This is unfortunate but not as great a tragedy as it might appear, at least substantively. This is because both of the Agreement’s content and …

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Toyota’s Defense of Its Choice to Support the Trump Administration’s Auto Standards Rollback Rings Hollow

Sadly, Toyota Has Ceded Its Place As the Industry’s Environmental Leader

My colleagues Ann, Cara, Julia, and Rick have all written about various aspects of the decision by General Motors, Toyota, and other automobile manufacturers to side with the Trump administration as it tries to prevent California from setting its own greenhouse gas emission standards. The administration is implementing this rollback in tandem with a federal …

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Let’s Commence an Economic Retaliation Initiative Against (Some) Automakers

Influencing Public Policy Through Individual & Collective Purchasing Decisions

At the risk of piling on, let me offer my own thoughts–and a specific proposal–regarding yesterday’s decision by General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and the automakers’ trade organization to intervene in support of the Trump Administration in California’s recently-filed litigation challenging the feds’ attempted revocation of California’s Clean Air Act waiver. Legal Planet colleagues Ann …

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It’s Not Just GM

Let’s name names: it’s Hyundai, Nissan, Kia, Subaru, Toyota, and other big automakers too

In response to the news that some auto manufacturers are intervening on Trump’s side in the litigation over the validity of California’s car emissions standards, I’ve already seen calls for boycotts.  Why give our money to car companies actively undermining clean air and climate protections?  Especially when they chose a day when California is literally …

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Driving away gasoline for good

Senator Chuck Schumer’s proposal is “Cash for Clunkers” again, at unprecedented scale

Last week, Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer published an op-ed in the New York Times describing a new federal proposal for replacing all gasoline-powered vehicles in the U.S. with zero emission vehicles by 2040. This is a laudable goal and a great opportunity – comprehensive federal policy to replace all gasoline-powered vehicles with zero-emission …

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The Dirty Dozen Rides Again?

Climate Change and Political Consequences

April 22, 2020 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the first Earth Day in 1970. The 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, as well as the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara and the dismal air quality of Los Angeles, raised American environmental consciousness, but it was Earth Day that accelerated political engagement. Twenty …

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Can Soils Solve Climate Change?

Carbon-rich soil, in eastern Pennsylvania, from Flickr user soilscience

Another dubious claim of natural climate solutions makes the rounds

A few months ago, I questioned a claim that planting trees could solve climate change. According to some scientists, reforestation “is by far the cheapest solution that has ever been proposed,” and for $300 billion it could sequester 200 gigatons of carbon (GtC, or 733 GtCO2). Many media outlets swooned, but the assertions were weak …

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Planned Outages, Planning for Resilience, and Reducing Emissions

The power shutoffs begun yesterday by Pacific Gas & Electric across swaths of Northern California, cutting electricity for hundreds of thousands of Californians, are many things: a serious risk for vulnerable and immobilized populations; an economic hit for local businesses; a tremendous inconvenience for everyone; both an outrage and industry best practice, according to Governor …

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