Pollution & Health

Udall and Lowenthal Lead Charge to Break Free From Plastic Pollution

The Senator and Representative introduce bold new federal plastics legislation

Last week, Senator Udall (D-NM) and Representative Lowenthal (D-CA), joined by Senator Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Clark (D-MA), announced that they were introducing federal legislation to combat the plastic pollution crisis.  The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act will go beyond past Congressional efforts to address plastic pollution, such as the Save Our Seas Act, …

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From the Grand Canyon to Contaminated Cantaloupes – and More

Five books with fresh perspectives on environmental issues.

Law reviews make little effort to track new books, unlike other journals in other disciplines . So it’s pretty much hit-or-miss whether you learn about relevant new books.  I wanted to share some interesting finds that have crossed my desk, joined a growing pile of unread books, and then slowly left the pile. The subjects …

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Dark Waters in Dark Times

Citizen Petition Presses EPA To Call Chemicals in Environmental Docudrama “Hazardous Waste”

This holiday season, A-list actors drew moviegoers to a film with a distinctly un-Hollywood plot line:  A company dumps thousands of pounds of toxic, long-lived chemicals (PFAS, or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) into unlined pits that drain into a farming community’s drinking water.  Local residents fall ill, some terminally.  A heroic attorney (Mark Ruffalo) represents them …

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Commemorating the National Environmental Policy Act’s 50th Anniversary

Celebrating NEPA: America’s Most Transformative, Overarching & Catalytic Environmental Law

On a snowy New Year’s Day in 1970–50 years ago today–then-President Richard Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act.  NEPA’s passage marked the beginning of America’s modern environmental law era.  It  was followed by Congressional passage of a series of other federal environmental laws over the next decade–major statutes that to this day …

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Charting the Progress of the Latest Chapter in American Climate Change Litigation

State and Local Governments’ Common Law-Based Lawsuits Against the Energy Industry Are Steadily Gaining Traction

The latest chapter in American climate change litigation has been launched by local governments–and one state–across the U.S. against domestic and international fossil fuel companies.  These lawsuits have been brought under one of the oldest and most venerable legal doctrines–state common law.  They seek compensation from the energy industry for the myriad, adverse effects of …

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An Oil and Gas Setback in Los Angeles Would Not Create Billions in Liability

A recent report from the Petroleum Administrator relied on incorrect and incomplete legal assumptions about the City’s potential liability to oil and gas operators. Here’s why it matters.

This week, Sean Hecht and I (in our capacity as attorneys in the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic at UCLA School of Law) sent a letter on behalf of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust to Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, and the Los Angeles City Council. (Our letter built …

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Things to Be Thankful For

Despite the Trump Administration’s efforts, there are rays of hope.

Three years into the Trump Administration, we’re now accustomed to waking up every morning to learn about a new attack on the environment.  But there are also some things to be thankful for. Here’s how I started a similar post in 2017, just a year after the 2016 election: “Overall, it’s been a pretty lousy …

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Why Don’t States Implement the Polluter Pays Principle?

Pollution, public domain image from user pelotte at pixabay.

An economic analysis suggests why not

Some time ago, I was thinking about the “polluter pays” principle of international environmental law. In this, the source — not its receiving victim — of pollution or other environmental harm should pay for any remediation done and for ending the pollution.  Yet despite the principle’s normative appeal, countries (or “states” in the language of …

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EPA’s Draft Update to Its “Science Transparency Rule” Shows It Can’t Justify the Rule

EPA Cites an Inapplicable “Housekeeping Statute” to Justify Its Rule to Limit the Use of Science In Important Regulatory Decisions

Over a year ago, EPA issued a proposed rule , ostensibly to promote transparency in the use of science to inform regulation. The proposal, which mirrors failed legislation introduced multiple times in the House, has the potential to dramatically restrict EPA’s ability to rely on key scientific studies that underpin public health regulations. The rule, …

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Toyota’s Defense of Its Choice to Support the Trump Administration’s Auto Standards Rollback Rings Hollow

Sadly, Toyota Has Ceded Its Place As the Industry’s Environmental Leader

My colleagues Ann, Cara, Julia, and Rick have all written about various aspects of the decision by General Motors, Toyota, and other automobile manufacturers to side with the Trump administration as it tries to prevent California from setting its own greenhouse gas emission standards. The administration is implementing this rollback in tandem with a federal …

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