Politics

50 Years Ago: Environmental Law in 1973

Five decades back, the country was in the midst of unprecedented environmental ferment.

1973 was at the crest of the environmental surge that swept the United States half a century ago.  In the previous three years, Congress had passed NEPA, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. The first EPA Administrator took office in 1971. Continuing the legislative wave, 1973 saw the passage of the Endangered …

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Is Bipartisanship Possible?

An image of the U.S. Capitol Building in the evening.

It’s not easy in today’s polarized politics. But maybe it’s not completely off the table.

We are now, as so often, in a time of divided government. That makes bipartisan cooperation necessary. We are also in a time of hyper-partisanship.  The problem may be compounded by the concessions made by McCarthy to the far Right in order to become Speaker.  Nevertheless, there may be some opportunities for cooperation across party …

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What Would King Do?

California “YIGBY” Bill Could Empower Churches To Add Affordable Housing

As Martin Luther King day ends here on the west coast, the role of churches and religious institutions looms large. King’s activism arose out of his spiritual commitment. And in California, it looms large in a surprising way concerning the built environment. Land use is (in)famous for its acronyms: NIMBY, BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere …

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The Emergence of the Environmental Justice Movement

The environmental justice movement is now 40 years old. Its influence is only growing.

Dr. King died in 1968, and the Civil Rights Movement had already been a powerful national presence for well over a decade.  Yet it was fourteen more years until environmental justice entered the national spotlight. Environmental justice issues first received widespread attention in 1982 when protests erupted over the construction of a new waste disposal …

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30 Years of U.S. Climate Policy

Here’s a timeline of the victories and defeats since 1992.

Thirty years ago, the United States joined the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The decades since then have been a saga of victories and defeats for U.S. climate policy.  Progress has been made under one President, only to be battered down by the next one. This to-and-fro is a sobering reminder of how …

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Does Ideology Kill?

Interpreting the association between conservatism and COVID death rates.

There is mounting evidence of an association between conservative politics and COVID impacts. Indeed, the higher death rate among Republicans may even have swung some close elections. A recent study sheds light on how ideology and death rates interact. As the Washington Post reports, the results were striking:  “Covid death rates were 11 percent higher …

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Plutocracy Comes Home To Roost

Gavin Newsom Abandons His Climate Commitments To Favor His Billionaire Contributors

Well, well, well, what a surprise: not. Last year, when he single-handedly defeated Proposition 30 but falsely claiming it was a handout to Lyft, Gavin Newsom claimed it was unnecessary because of the state’s investments in clean energy. This was also false, since under its own estimates, the state would be nearly 1 million chargers …

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A Taste of Things to Come

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 …

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Advances in State Climate Policy

Despite the distractions of a national election, there were important developments around the country.

Last year, Congress took its first big step into climate policy by passing blockbuster spending measures. Nonetheless, many states are ahead of the Feds in climate policy. There were important developments in a multitude of states. California remained a hotspot for climate action. In terms of transportation emissions, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved …

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That Was The Year That Was

The Biggest Environmental Stories of 2022

A lot has happened on the environmental front. Here are the biggest stories of 2022. Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, providing $369 billion in tax credit and spending to reduce carbon emissions. California banned the sale of new gas cars in 2035, with several other states now agreeing to follow suit. The Democrats lost …

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