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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
Despite all the political huffing and puffing, Biden’s order has a solid legal basis.
Incensed critics are calling Biden’s proposed “vaccine mandate” an outrageous usurpation of power. They need to take a deep breath. It’s not really a vaccine mandate, the only statutory issue is procedural, and there’s no constitutional problem. Calling Biden’s order a vaccine mandate is misleading. It could just as well be considered a testing mandate …CONTINUE READING
Anti-vaxxers and climate deniers are abandoning America’s founding values.
Ironically, those who most trumpet their allegiance to the Founders often have least in common with their values. The Founding Fathers were men of the Enlightenment. They shared a belief that reason, free inquiry, and science would better the human condition. They looked to reason as a guide. They sought, in Jefferson’s words, to expunge …CONTINUE READING
The places hit hardest by opioids are often skeptical of vaccines. That’s probably not a coincidence.
The opioid crisis was the product of corporate greed run amok and a corrupted regulatory process. That crisis may have amplified deep distrust of the pharmaceutical industry and its government watchdogs — distrust that may now be reflected in vaccine skepticism. First, a little history. The manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, aggressively promoted the use of oxycontin, …CONTINUE READING
We know it was bad, but how much of the U.S. death rate can be attributed to him rather than circumstances?
The U.S. COVID response went badly in 2020. How much was because Trump was Trump? That is, if Trump had been a moderately competent but imperfect leader, facing a diverse population with a significant resistance to public health measures, how many lives would have been saved? That’s not a question that anyone can answer with …CONTINUE READING
The Ninth Circuit tells EPA to determine safe levels for lead based solely on science.
Lead can cause neurological damage to young children and developing fetuses. The only really safe level is zero. Because poor children are the most likely to be exposed to this hazard, this is also a major environmental justice issue. The Trump EPA took the position that it could set a hazard level higher than zero …CONTINUE READING
Technical policy questions often involve ethical political questions that the public must have a say in
As vaccination for the coronavirus in the United States ramps up, I want to take a look back to a policy dispute over the initial plans for vaccine distribution at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 – in part because that fight (like “follow the science,” which I blogged about recently) also …CONTINUE READING