General

Unintended Consequences Create Challenges for Utility Regulators

Making sure that regulatory incentives do what the regulators intended.

In a new post, Dan Farber mentions performance-based regulation as a promising tool for encouraging energy utilities to be enthusiastic in supporting the transition to clean energy sources. There are a lot of people who agree with him. After all, traditional utility regulation tends to encourage the companies to overspend on infrastructure and under spend …

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Profs. William Boyd and Alex Wang Join Prof. Ted Parson in Emmett Institute Faculty Leadership

UCLA School of Law

Faculty Take on New Roles at Emmett Institute

This month, the Emmett Institute is thrilled to welcome two of our core faculty members, William Boyd and Alex Wang, to new roles at the Institute. Both will serve as faculty co-directors alongside our faculty director Ted Parson. In their new roles, Prof. Wang and Prof. Boyd will help lead the Emmett Institute’s ambitious research, …

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Oregon Takes a Big Step Forward

New climate legislation sets a high bar for other states.

On Wednesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a package of four clean energy bills. These bills move Oregon to the forefront of climate action.  These laws ban new fossil fuel plants and set aggressive targets for the state’s two major utilities, requiring emission cuts of 80% by 2030, 90% by 2035 and 100% by 2040.  …

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Guest Contributor Kate Mackintosh: 200 Words to Save the Planet—The Crime of Ecocide

Photo of Permanent Premises of the International Criminal Court

Could ecocide become the fifth crime to be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court?

Last month, a panel of international lawyers chaired by Philippe Sands and Dior Fall Sow launched our proposal for a new crime of ‘ecocide’ – an international crime of environmental destruction that would sit alongside genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression at the International Criminal Court. The idea of ecocide …

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The Northwest Extreme Heat Wave Is a Call to Policy Action

Extreme heat in the Pacific Northwest over the past few weeks shattered records – 108º in Seattle, 116º in Portland, 121º in Lytton, BC, the day before a wildfire devastated the town – and has been linked to hundreds of deaths, a number that will surely increase as local officials gather more information. It has …

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The Illusions of Takings Law

Nothing is as it seems, when the issue is whether a regulation is a “taking” of property.

For the last century, the Supreme Court has tried to operationalize the idea that a government regulation can be so burdensome that it amounts to a seizure of property. In the process, it has created a house of mirrors, a maze in which nothing is as it seems. Rules that appear crisp and clear turn …

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The Ongoing Tension over Stormwater Discharges in Los Angeles

Upcoming hearings on a proposed new MS4 permit will set the stage for the future of water quality throughout LA County

[Disclosure: The Frank G. Wells Environmental Clinic at UCLA School of Law is representing Los Angeles Waterkeeper on matters related to the subject of this post. I will shortly be joining Los Angeles Waterkeeper as a Staff Attorney. However, like all other Legal Planet posts, this post reflects only my own views and opinions.] The …

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Supreme Court Finds California Labor Access Regulation Works Unconstitutional Taking of Private Property

What Are the Implications of the Cedar Point Nursery Decision for Environmental, Natural Resources & Public Health Programs?

In a closely-watched property rights decision, the U.S. Supreme Court today held unconstitutional a longstanding California regulation allowing labor unions intermittent access to agricultural workplaces for labor organizing purposes.  Reversing a decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a 6-3 Supreme Court majority ruled that the challenged regulation triggers a per se, compensable government “taking” …

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Another Historic Climate Court Ruling in the Netherlands

A court orders Shell to cut its emissions, including of its consumers. But will this stand after appeal?

In recent years, The Netherlands has become the leading site of climate change litigation. Contrary to expectations (including my own!), its district, appellate, and supreme courts decided in favor of Urgenda, an upstart environmental organization, ordering the government to more aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Now the same district court has gone further, again in favor of environmental groups …

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The Supreme Court’s (Non-)Decision in Major Climate Change Case

BP P.L.C. v. Baltimore Ruling a Technical Win for Energy Defendants–But There’s Less There Than Meets the Eye

Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued its first major environmental decision of the Court’s current Term–and in a climate change case, no less: BP P.L.C v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore. Superficially, the multinational energy corporations sued by the City of Baltimore prevailed, in a 7-1 majority opinion authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch.  But …

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