The importance of understanding how things work
I’ve seen lots of good analysis already (including this post from Dan) of the DC Circuit’s decision today to invalidate the Trump Administration’s ACE Rule, which governs climate emissions from coal-fired power plants and does essentially nothing to reduce those emissions. It turns out that doing essentially nothing is not enough. There’s a lot to …CONTINUE READING
The DC Circuit overturns Trump’s effort to hamstring regulation of carbon from power plants.
The D.C. Circuit issued an opinion today knocking out Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule. The Trump rule was a rollback of Obama’s keystone climate initiative, the Clean Power Plan. The majority opinion plus dissent take up 185 pages, and I won’t try to describe it all here. Briefly, here’s what the appeals court ruled and …CONTINUE READING
BP v. Baltimore Is First Environmental Case To Come Before Newly-Reconstituted High Court
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in its first environmental case of the 2020-21 Term. That case, BP PLC v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, involves an important, nationwide climate change litigation trend, and will provide the first indication of the post-Ginsburg Court’s attitude towards environmental law and litigation generally. The Baltimore case is …CONTINUE READING
It Was a Relatively Quiet Year for Environmental Law in the California Supreme Court
[This is the third and final installment in a series of posts highlighting the most significant environmental law decisions of 2020. Earlier this week, I profiled the key 2020 environmental rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This post concludes the series with an examination of …CONTINUE READING
Climate Change, California v. Trump Cases Lead the List
This is the second of three year-end posts on the most important environmental law decisions in 2020 from the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and California Supreme Court. (The key U.S. Supreme Court rulings were the focus of yesterday’s post, and tomorrow’s will feature California Supreme Court decisions.) Today, …CONTINUE READING
Clean Water Act, CERCLA, Native American Law and Trump’s Border Wall Lead the List
It’s become customary for critics and observers from many disciplines to publish a wide variety of lists at year’s end, nominating the most important or best movies, music, plays, etc. of the preceding year. Why not follow that tradition in the fields of environmental law and policy? With that objective in mind, I plan over …CONTINUE READING
A new court ruling could doom the Trump Administration’s ANWR plan.
A Ninth Circuit ruling yesterday overturned approval of offshore drilling in the Arctic. The ruling may directly impact the Trump Administration’s plans for oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). By requiring agencies to consider emissions when fossil fuels are ultimately burned, the Court of Appeal’s decision may also change the way that …CONTINUE READING
How to Argue Cases to Conservative Judges
Textualism is the dominant method of interpreting statutes among conservative judges. It purports to base interpretation on the “ordinary meaning” of the statutory language. This approach ignores traditional tools of statutory interpretation like considering what was actually said in Congress. Ignoring what Congress actually intended seems odd to me. Still, lawyers have to make arguments …CONTINUE READING
The judges seemed skeptical of Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule last week
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments about Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule last week. The ACE rule is a feeble substitute for Obama’s Clean Power Rule, which was Obama’s signature climate action regulating power plants. The argument went badly for the Trump folks. Even Judge Justin Walker, a 38-year-old whose main …CONTINUE READING
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide a nuanced issue of procedural law that could create a loophole which would dramatically expand the reach of federal appellate jurisdiction and prevent climate plaintiffs from suing oil companies in state court.
As recent extreme heat waves, hurricanes, and wildfires across the country have elevated public concern about the widespread and harmful effects of climate change, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari this month in a climate liability case called BP P.L.C. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore. In short, the City of Baltimore sued a …CONTINUE READING