Health

The Environmental Pollution Agency Prioritizes Environmental Rollbacks While Dropping Environmental Enforcement

New Policy Allows Companies to Use Covid-19 As an Excuse to Pollute

The covid-19 epidemic is providing the Environmental Protection Agency with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate its priorities:  full speed ahead with environmental roll backs, including greenhouse gas/fuel economy standards for cars, cutting back on the regulation of mercury from power plants, loosening regulations on coal ash from coal plants and more.  Employees at EPA have …

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How the Coronavirus is (Not) Like Climate Change

Coronavirus

The two have some informative parallels, although some observers draw the wrong conclusions

The coronavirus dominates the news and much of our minds. Here at Legal Planet, we have written about the coronavirus and presidential powers, disaster declarations, fossil fuel production, decision-making under uncertainty, inequality, and cities. I will join the party and consider what are the parallels and differences between the coronavirus crisis and anthropogenic climate change, …

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Federalism and the Pandemic

For statutory, practical, and constitutional reasons, states are on the front line.

The states have been out in front in dealing with the coronavirus. Apart from Trump’s tardy response to the crisis, there are reasons for this, involving limits on Trump’s authority, practicalities, and constitutional rulings. Statutory limits. As I discussed in a previous post, the President’s power to deal with an epidemic is mostly derived from …

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Are Pandemics An Argument Against Cities?

COVID-19 spread shows governance matters more than density

With the COVID-19 virus shutting down cities and countries all over the world, anti-urban advocates are seizing the moment to argue that pandemics prove urban density is bad. For example, longtime sprawl booster Joel Kotkin argues that shelter-in-place orders and fear of contagion will push people to demand more lower-density homes, far from crowded and …

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Uncertainty in the Age of Coronavirus

There’s a lot we don’t know at this point. How should we deal with that?

Knowledge about the coronavirus is limited but growing. In the meantime, how should we cope with this uncertainty?  I can’t give you psychological advice, but I can say something about how to think about this uncertainty. How to make decisions under uncertainty is something we know a lot about from the environmental sphere. Uncertainty is …

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Global Crisis and the Urgency of Phasing Out Oil and Gas Production

Considering long-term climate needs in near-term crisis responses

As the covid-19 crisis threatens a global recession and sharply cuts travel demand, compounding the damage caused by the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, US and international oil prices are hitting historic lows, driving turmoil throughout the industry and threatening a rash of bankruptcies, stranded projects, and job losses. These recent developments …

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Is a Pandemic a Major Disaster?

Cuomo has asked for major disaster relief. But there’s a serious legal hurdle to that.

Yesterday, I wrote about presidential powers in a pandemic. I mentioned the possibility of declaring the pandemic a major disaster under the Stafford Act.  Today, we learned that Gov. Cuomo of New York has made such a request. [Note: two days after this was written, FEMA granted the request.] What does the law have to …

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Presidential Power in a Pandemic

The President does have considerable power, but there are serious limitations.

Now that Trump has belatedly declared a national emergency, what powers does he have to respond to the coronavirus pandemic?  There has been a lot of talk about this on the Internet, some of it off-base. it’s important to get the law straight. For instance, there’s been talk about whether Trump should impose a national …

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Reducing Coronavirus Fatalities: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

Q: From an economic perspective, what’s it worth spending to curb the pandemic? A: A lot.

At an extremely rough estimate, it would be worth spending about $4 trillion to cut the coronavirus death rate in half.

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Does Being Conservative Have to Mean Ignoring Risks?

Florida’s Ron DeSantis doesn’t seem to think so.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis shows that it’s possible to be a staunch conservative and still be honest about the risks of climate change and the coronavirus.

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