Pollution & Health

The Clean Air Act Turns Fifty

A half century of progress in cleaning up the air began New Year’s Eve 1970.

On December 31, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed the Clean Air Act.  William Ruckelshaus and Russell Train, who later led the way in implementing the new law, stood by his side with beaming smiles.  Nixon supported the basic features of the bill. But he had considered vetoing the final version because Senator Ed Muskie …

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40 Legal Scholars Urge EPA to Withdraw Proposed Ozone NAAQS

EPA’s newest ozone rulemaking has failed to meet even the deferential standard of arbitrary and capricious review.

This blog is co-authored with Sean Hecht. On October 1, 2020, on behalf of 40 environmental and administrative law scholars affiliated with 33 universities in 18 states, Sean Hecht and I filed a comment letter urging EPA to withdraw its decision to keep the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone at the current …

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Fighting for Clean Air in Imperial County, California

UCLA Emmett faculty team up with environmental justice group to file amicus brief in Clean Air Act case.

Air pollution has devastating health effects in many of California’s inland communities. That’s the case for rural Imperial County, where one in five children suffer from asthma, double the state rate, due to high levels of air pollution from highway traffic, farming and livestock operations, desert dust, and industry in Mexicali, a large city just …

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Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Job-Killing Regulations

In which Holmes confronts his strangest and most perplexing case.

[I’m re-upping this 2014 post since the “job-killing regulation” meme has resurfaced at the GOP Convention.  The scene is Holmes’s apartment at 221B Baker Street.] “When the prospective client arrives, Watson, you’ll find that he’s a politician, that his electoral base is devoted to Fox News, and that he gets campaign contributions from fossil fuel …

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Members of Congress Oppose Trump Administration’s Attempt to Revoke California’s Clean Car Standards

UCLA Law’s Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic files a brief on behalf of 147 members of Congress in the D.C. Circuit

California has long led the fight against pollution from passenger vehicles, setting its first car emissions standards in 1966 before federal rules were established. After the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, California retained authority to establish a series of more stringent vehicle emissions rules—with the most recent iteration of greenhouse gas emissions standards …

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Environmentalists v. Cost-Benefit Analysis: What Does the Future Hold?

For now, at least, environmentalists and economists are aligned in criticizing Trump’s rollbacks. Will this alliance last?

If it’s true that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” environmentalists might want to take another look at cost-benefit analysis.  The Trump Administration is certainly doing its best to gut economic analysis of its rollbacks.  Both economists and environmentalists are resisting. Is this an alliance of convenience or will it be the start …

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DC Circuit Restricts “Housekeeping” Regulations

The Trump Administration likes to justify policy initiatives based on vague grants of authority. That’s just become harder.

Earlier today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decided two cases that add to the legal difficulties the Trump EPA will face in court.  The difficulties relate to two proposed EPA rules that attempt to hamstring  future efforts to impose tighter restrictions on pollution. Both EPA rules rely on vague, general grants of rule-making authority …

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Failures of the Heart

Does anyone in the Administration actually care about police killings? Or public health? Or future generations?

“I REALLY DON’T CARE DO U?” That slogan embodies much about the Trump Administration. That includes Trump’s response to the death of George Floyd and the ensuing demonstrations. But it includes much else. Including police killings and the coronavirus. “I REALLY DON’T CARE DO U?” is emblazoned on a jacket of Melania Trump’s. She wore …

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Guest Contributors Helen Kang and Deborah Sivas: California Should Lead the Nation in Controlling Agricultural Pollution

Agricultural runoff in California

Protection of Drinking Water and Environmental Quality Demands Strong Action

Agricultural runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution in the nation’s waterways. In recent years, scientific journals and the media have been filled with reports of toxic algae blooms and dead zones near and far: The Everglades, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, and San Francisco Bay-Delta. Agricultural pollution also threatens public …

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100 Law Professors Urge EPA to Withdraw Revamped “Transparency in Science” Rule

EPA Science

EPA’s new proposal would go beyond even the far-reaching original to limit agency use of the best science

Today, on behalf of 100 environmental and administrative law professors affiliated with 70 universities in 33 states and the District of Columbia, Sean Hecht and I filed a comment letter urging EPA to withdraw its updated proposal to limit the use of science in agency decisionmaking processes, misleadingly named the “Strengthening Transparency in Science” rule. …

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