Welcome to 2023. It’s going to be a wild ride.
In the past week, we’ve gotten a glimpse of what the next two years will look like. On the one hand, chaos in Congress. On the other hand, quiet progress toward environmental goals by the Biden Administration. Both trends are likely to continue throughout this Congress and the second half of the presidential term. The …CONTINUE READING
Climate Change, Water Rights, Environmental Justice & Federalism Issues Highlighted the Ninth Circuit’s Prodigious Environmental Docket This Year
I’ve shared in previous posts my view that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is–after the U.S. Supreme Court–the most influential court in the nation when it comes to environmental and natural resources law. That’s true for two related reasons: first, the sprawling Ninth Circuit encompasses nine different states (including California) and …CONTINUE READING
We have a White House climate czar. That’s not going to be enough.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) creates a massive funding program for clean energy and other climate policies. This funding complements regulatory efforts at EPA elsewhere. Yet authority over energy policy is fragmented at the federal level. Without better coordination, there’s a risk that various policies will mesh poorly or operate at cross-purposes. And state governments, …CONTINUE READING
When should park managers response to fire risk and climate change through active management?
This summer, the Earth Island Institute filed a lawsuit challenging active management projects in Yosemite National Park – those projects involve the cutting of trees to reduce the risk of fire (or that is the explanation of the National Park Service for the projects). The tree cutting was begun this past year, and the National …CONTINUE READING
How would the Manchin-Schumer deal on permitting impact the environment?
To get Manchin’s vote for the $379 billion in environmental spending in the IRA bill, Schumer and other congressional leaders had to agree to support Manchin’s efforts to speed up the permit system. At this point, all we have is a one-page list of permitting changes that would form the basis of a new bill. …CONTINUE READING
No, the Court didn’t eliminate EPA’s ability to fight climate change.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in the West Virginia case left many people with the impression that it eliminated the government’s power to regulate carbon emissions. There are quite a number of areas of climate law that the Supreme Court has left untouched. Here’s the EPA authority the Court hasn’t touched: EPA’s jurisdiction over greenhouse gases. …CONTINUE READING
If we need to build lots of things fast to address climate and housing crises, how will we do that?
There’s been a lot of buzz about this column by Ezra Klein in the New York Times. Klein’s basic argument: We need to do a lot of infrastructure and other development projects to make the world a better place. For example, we’ll need to build power lines and renewable projects to address climate change. But …CONTINUE READING
Trump tried to keep climate change out of environmental impact statements. Biden was right to scotch that effort.
Yesterday, the White House undid an effort by the Trump Administration to undermine the use of environmental impact statements. The pre-Trump rules had been in effect since 1978. Restoring the 1978 version was the right thing to do. The Trump’s rules arbitrarily limited the scope of the environmental effects that EPA can consider. Their goal …CONTINUE READING
From now on, carbon emissions from new pipelines will be one of FERC’s key concerns.
On Friday there were two seismic shocks in the world of gas pipeline regulation. FERC has spent years resisting pressure to change the way it licenses new gas pipelines. A whole point of a natural gas pipeline is to deliver the gas to users who will burn it, thereby releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. FERC …CONTINUE READING
Public process can actually be pretty important.
I first wrote a version of this post way back in July 2021, when Ezra Klein dropped a couple of lines knocking the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) into one of the op-eds The New York Times loves to perennially run about how California is actually the worst (I’m sorry it can’t be 80 degrees …CONTINUE READING