Pollution & Health
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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, …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
Revoking California’s Clean Air Act Waiver Is Bad Policy and Legally Indefensible
This post was originally published on the American Constitution Society’s Expert Forum on September 18, 2019. President Trump announced the revocation on Twitter this morning. It’s not news that the Trump administration has been planning, via its so-called SAFE Rule, to freeze Obama-era fuel economy standards, roll back tailpipe greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards, and …CONTINUE READING
This is what it looks like when judges just buckle down and do their jobs.
Last Friday, the D.C. Circuit decided Wisconsin v. EPA. The federal appeals court rejected industry attacks on a regulation dealing with interstate air pollution but accepted an argument by environmental groups that the regulation was too weak. Last week also featured depressing examples of the drumbeat of Trump Administration rollbacks, so it was especially nice …CONTINUE READING