Three Questions about the Ninth Circuit Panel’s CRA v. Berkeley Decision
This recent decision has important implications for state and local efforts to protect their residents and reduce greenhouse-gas emission, but boy is it hard to wrap your head around.
On Monday, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling in California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley, addressing whether the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) invalidates a Berkeley municipal ordinance specifying when natural-gas infrastructure can be extended into new buildings. Many in the housing-quality and building-decarbonization space have been eagerly …
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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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I’m With Paul
Krugman claims that climate action doesn’t mean an end to growth. He’s right.
In a recent column, Paul Krugman argued that cutting carbon emissions doesn’t have to mean an end to economic growth. He’s right about that. Carbon emissions and growth aren’t joined at the hip. He could have added that economic growth and quality of life don’t necessarily go together. The numbers are really clear about the …
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The Obesity Pandemic
It’s a global phenomenon, with poorly understood causes. But there’s no point in blaming the victims.
I’ve written in the past about the American obesity epidemic. Obesity rates have continued to climb in the United States, though the rate of increase has leveled out. But obesity is also on the rise globally. The obesity rate has increased everywhere. In nine countries, at least one out of five people is now obese: …
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Does Ideology Kill?
Interpreting the association between conservatism and COVID death rates.
There is mounting evidence of an association between conservative politics and COVID impacts. Indeed, the higher death rate among Republicans may even have swung some close elections. A recent study sheds light on how ideology and death rates interact. As the Washington Post reports, the results were striking: “Covid death rates were 11 percent higher …
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Keep on Trucking
A new rule will clean up exhaust from new diesels, a major health threat.
Last week, EPA finalized its new rule imposing emission limits on new heavy trucks. The new regulation was clearly a massive undertaking. EPA’s formal announcement of the new rule is 1100 pages long. The accompanying summary of comments on the proposed rule and EPA’s responses is another 2000 pages. This is partly due to the …
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Not The Winds Of Change We Wanted
Bombay’s recent air quality crisis shows us our future
For several years, India’s capital of Delhi has been synonymous with awful air quality: just living there is the equivalent of smoking nearly 2,000 cigarettes a year. So it shocked me when the Indian Express reported that last week, Bombay’s air was even worse than Delhi’s. Delhi’s AQI last week was an abysmal 263; but …
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Pollution Control as Climate Policy
Tightening air quality standards will also reduce carbon emissions.
The Biden Administration is slowly grinding away at an important regulatory task: reconsidering the air quality standards for particulates and ozone. Setting those standards is an arduous and time-consuming process, requiring consideration of reams of technical data. For instance, a preliminary staff report on fine particulates (PM2.5) is over 600 pages long. When the process …
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Frank G. Wells Clinic Faculty File Amicus Brief on Behalf of Law Professors in California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley
Supporting Berkeley’s ability to decide where utility infrastructure may be built
This week, as part of the Frank G. Wells Clinic in Environmental Law, Cara Horowitz, Julia Stein, and I filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of seven law professors in the Ninth Circuit case California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley, in which the California Restaurant Association (CRA), an industry association, is challenging a …
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When Agencies Fail
Lives can be lost when agencies fall down on the job.
What happens when agencies fail in their jobs? People can die. The most dramatic example is the opioid crisis, in which a whole series of state and federal agencies fell short. The result has been hundreds of thousands of deaths. The FDA was one of the prime culprits. It bought into a myth, carefully cultivated …
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