This is the last in our series on the state of play concerning U.S. environmental protection at this point of the Trump Administration. We can classify threats along three dimensions: the likelihood of harm, the seriousness and irreversibility of the harm, and the irreversibility of the institutional or legal change. Here’s an assessment of our […]
Trump loves issuing executive orders. Mostly, they don’t mean much.
Trump has issued a flood of executive orders. Many of them are “full of sound and fury. . . signifying nothing.” They actually concern actions that he doesn’t have the power to take himself. Instead, they relate to responsibilities that Congress gave to an administrative agency like EPA, not the White House. There are a […]
Don’t expect the Administration to take the lead in enforcement. Others will need to step up.
As the Bush Administration learned, it can be difficult to pass new legislation or enact new regulations. But another way of gutting environmental rules is much easier: just stop enforcing them. An agency’s enforcement decisions receive essentially no judicial review and precious little publicity. Cuts in enforcement budgets receive even less public notice and are […]
Trump and Pruitt want to take an ax to EPA regulation. That will be harder than they think.
Rolling back EPA regulations is one of the Trump Administration’s priorities. The most notable example is Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which aimed to cut CO2 emissions from power plants. The other rule that has gotten considerable attention is the so-called WOTUS rule, which defines federal jurisdiction to regulate wetlands and watersheds. But these are not […]
Congress Should Ensure that Money Is Available to Address Pollution on Public Lands
In recent legal battles, the State of Utah has rarely sided with the environment. It is a significant moment, therefore, when Utah files a lawsuit aimed to force polluters to pay for contamination they have caused, as it did last week when it sued mine owners and contractors for the EPA related to the Gold […]
Report commissioned by Next 10 and written by Berkeley Law’s CLEE and UC Berkeley’s labor center
With the legislature just passing a landmark extension of cap-and-trade through 2030 by a supermajority vote, attention now turns to implementing the state’s major climate programs to achieve the ambitious climate goals for that year and beyond. Critics frequently argue that efforts to fight climate change hurt the economy and cost jobs. Yet as I […]
Conservatives keep repeating the same arguments, even though the world has changed.
There used to be some fairly plausible arguments against fighting climate change. I don’t mean crackpot theories about hoaxes or the “I’m not a scientist” hokum. Instead, the arguments I have in mind could be made with a straight face by serious people. I don’t think these arguments were ever truly persuasive, but they weren’t […]
When you’re Scott Pruitt, who you gonna call? Industry reps.
When there are hard decisions to make, who does EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt turns to? Not, as you might naively think, the experts on the staff of his own agency. Instead, he turns to industry lobbyists and lawyers, and to politicians like the Republican state attorneys general who used to be his colleagues. As the […]
EPA Administrator Resorts to Misleading Rhetoric in Possible Prelude to Revisiting Massachusetts v. EPA
Since he was confirmed to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency six months ago, Administrator Scott Pruitt has relied on three points when discussing the issue of climate change. He has cast doubt on the science by claiming it’s difficult to know the human role “with precision.” He has questioned the ability of the agency […]
Yesterday, the Washington Post ran a piece by a scientist who was helping villages in Alaska prepare for climate change, until the Trump Administration abruptly transferred him to an accounting job. Here’s another sign of the Administration’s contempt for science: Pruitt’s idea for a televised debate on the reality of climate change between climate scientists […]