Politics

Renewable Energy on the Lower Mississippi

From Missouri to Louisiana to Alabama, fundamental similarities but individual differences.

The states in the lower Mississippi basin have a lot in common. From Missouri down to Louisiana and Alabama, they all voted for Trump. These states – Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee – were all part of the Confederacy. (I’m stretching geography a bit by including Alabama, since only the top of the state […]

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Pennsylvania’s Backward Energy Policy

PA’s policies look more like the upper South than the mid-Atlantic.

Pennsylvania has a fairly pitiful profile in terms of renewable energy. As of 2015, it got about 4% of its power from renewables, and only about half of that from wind and solar. Nearly all of the remainder was from nuclear (37%), coal (30%) and gas (28%). Perhaps not coincidentally, the state was the nation’s […]

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Finally, California Gets A Meaningful Housing Bill

SB 827 (Wiener) would be a game-changer to solve the housing and sprawl crisis

California State Senator Scott Wiener just introduced the bill I’ve probably been waiting for since I started following land use and transit in California over a decade-and-a-half ago. SB 827 would dramatically scale back local government restrictions on housing near major transit stops (see the fact sheet PDF). These restrictions by local governments have prevented […]

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What’s Ahead in 2018? The Top Five Things to Watch For.

2018 will be a big year for environmental law, either for good or for bad.

2016 was a huge year in environmental law, with big achievements like the Paris Agreement and huge disappointments like the presidential election.  By contrast, 2017 was pretty predictable: Trump did just what he promised during the campaign.  The year ahead of us will have some big events to watch out for.  Here are my nominations […]

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Ten Environmental Lessons of 2017

We’ve learned a lot in the past year, some good, a lot bad.

No one can say it’s been a boring year.  In many ways, it’s been a worse year than we expected, because the Trump Administration has gone all in on its anti-environmental vision.  But there have also been some heartening positive developments.  Here are some of the most important things, good and bad, that we’ve learned […]

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Final Republican Tax Bill Minimizes Damage To Renewables, Electric Vehicles & Affordable Housing

But the bill is still bad for the environment

Republicans from the House and Senate voted yesterday to approve their conference tax bill. Due to intense lobbying efforts, negotiators in the committee reduced some of the harm I described that the previous versions of the bill would have done to renewable energy, electric vehicles, and affordable housing. As Brad Plumer in the New York […]

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The Roots of Regulatory Robustness

What makes regulations politically robust or fragile when Administrations change?

We’ve seen a lot of regulatory innovations in the past decade. Many are under attack, and that underscores the importance of understanding what makes some innovations more robust than others. I don’t have a general theory to offer about what gives some regulations more ability than others to withstand adverse political shifts. But it’s instructive […]

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Climate and Energy on the East Coast

Renewable energy and climate action are big issues in NY and NJ.

New York and New Jersey are at the core of what people think about in terms of the “Northeast.”  Both are very active in promoting renewable energy — New Jersey despite Governor Chris Christie, New York in part because of Governor Cuomo. New York in particular seems ready to position itself as the East Coast […]

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Bringing South Carolina into the Sunshine

A dedicated state legislator, against the odds, opened the door to solar energy in the Palmetto State.

Solar energy is poised to make an appearance in the state, in good part due to the efforts of a single Republican state legislator. That will be a big change: South Carolina has had essentially no wind or solar power, although nuclear accounts for half of its electricity. The state senator, Chauncey (“Greg”) Gregory, hails […]

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ESA Under Attack. Again.

The Washington Post tomorrow is running an Op Ed written with Peter Alagona, a colleague in environmental studies at UCSB. We were approached by the Post and asked to write a piece addressing the current raft of bills that seek to weaken the Endangered Species Act and sharing our views about alternatives. With a tight limit […]

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