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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
A Century Ago, the Supreme Court Created a Transformative Legal Doctrine Out of Whole Cloth
One hundred years ago this month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a radical constitutional decision that over the last century has proven enormously consequential in a host of environmental, natural resources and public health contexts. In the December 1922 decision Pennsylvania Coal Company v. Mahon, a divided Supreme Court created the constitutional doctrine of “regulatory …CONTINUE READING
A new rule will clean up exhaust from new diesels, a major health threat.
Last week, EPA finalized its new rule imposing emission limits on new heavy trucks. The new regulation was clearly a massive undertaking. EPA’s formal announcement of the new rule is 1100 pages long. The accompanying summary of comments on the proposed rule and EPA’s responses is another 2000 pages. This is partly due to the …CONTINUE READING
Extended producer responsibility law will reduce single-use waste and shift responsibility to industry
In a welcome reprieve from news coming out of the Supreme Court, here’s an uplifting story from the Golden State: On Thursday, Governor Newsom signed SB 54, a comprehensive piece of legislation aimed at significantly reducing single-use waste. The law will affect just about every type of plastic packaging you see walking down the supermarket …CONTINUE READING
Whether to consider harms to foreign countries and future generations is controversial. So is how much weight to give harm to the poor.
Should regulators take into account harm to people in other countries? What about harm to future generations? Should we give special attention when the disadvantaged are harmed? These questions are central to climate policy and some other important environmental issues. I’ll use cost-benefit analysis as a framework for discussing these issues. You probably don’t need …CONTINUE READING
Tightening air quality standards will also reduce carbon emissions.
The Biden Administration is slowly grinding away at an important regulatory task: reconsidering the air quality standards for particulates and ozone. Setting those standards is an arduous and time-consuming process, requiring consideration of reams of technical data. For instance, a preliminary staff report on fine particulates (PM2.5) is over 600 pages long. When the process …CONTINUE READING
How will EPA integrate EJ into its rule making? The answer remains murky.
EPA recently released a notice of proposed rulemaking for pollution from new heavy-duty vehicles. I was interested to see how environmental justice figured into the analysis, looking for clues about how the Biden Administration plans to make EJ part of decision making. What I found wasn’t very enlightening. Perhaps they’re still trying to come up …CONTINUE READING
National air quality standards may be among the most powerful levers for environmental justice.
The environmental justice movement began with a focus on neighborhood struggles against toxic waste facilities and other local pollution sources. The EJ focus now includes other measures to ensure that vulnerable communities get the benefit of climate regulations. The most powerful tool for assisting those communities, however, may be the National Ambient Air Quality Standards …CONTINUE READING
Frank G. Wells Clinic Faculty File Amicus Brief on Behalf of Law Professors in California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley
Supporting Berkeley’s ability to decide where utility infrastructure may be built
This week, as part of the Frank G. Wells Clinic in Environmental Law, Cara Horowitz, Julia Stein, and I filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of seven law professors in the Ninth Circuit case California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley, in which the California Restaurant Association (CRA), an industry association, is challenging a …CONTINUE READING