Regulation

Whose Major Questions Doctrine?

There are two versions of the doctrine. One of them is more dangerous.

When it  struck down Obama’s signature climate regulation in West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court formally adopted the major questions doctrine as a way to synthesize prior anti-regulatory rulings.  The major questions doctrine (MQD to insiders) has gotten a lot of attention. One thing that’s been overlooked, however, is that there are two versions …

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A Dangerous Disruption

A startup firm proposes to sell dubious carbon credits from stratospheric aerosol injection

Last week, MIT’s “Technology Review” reported that a small startup firm is proposing to spray reflective aerosols in the stratosphere commercially as a climate corrective. (Stratospheric Aerosol Injection or SAI.) Previously announced online in the Google Geoengineering Group, the firm is small and new, operating with a claimed total of $750K of venture financing. They …

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ 10 Most Important Environmental Law Decisions of 2022

Climate Change, Water Rights, Environmental Justice & Federalism Issues Highlighted the Ninth Circuit’s Prodigious Environmental Docket This Year

I’ve shared in previous posts my view that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is–after the U.S. Supreme Court–the most influential court in the nation when it comes to environmental and natural resources law.  That’s true for two related reasons: first, the sprawling Ninth Circuit encompasses nine different states (including California) and …

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Reflections on a Century of “Regulatory Takings” Law

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 …

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Methane Action in 2022: Project Climate’s Year In Review

A short summary of efforts to tackle the super pollutant.

Co-authored with Gil Damon, CLEE Methane Research Fellow.  2022 proved to be a big year for methane—the flammable gas that accounts for 30 percent of Earth’s anthropogenic warming. Methane forms when organic material decomposes in sealed spaces and is released in the agriculture, waste disposal, and energy sectors. In terms of warming, methane is a …

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Another Battle in the ESG Wars

Another Trump rollback undone, another step forward for sustainable investing.

Some call it ESG — the growing attention of big investors to a company’s record Environmental, Social, and Governance issues. Some call it responsible investing. Others call it “woke.” On Nov. 22, the Biden Administration notched a victory in this ongoing battle, allowing ESG investments by private pension plans. Those plans now hold roughly $13 …

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Energy Price Shocks and the Failures of Neoliberalism

Stuart Rankin, Europe at Night in 2012 https://www.flickr.com/photos/24354425@N03/15775721086 (Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0)

Why it’s time to rethink electricity market design to ensure a clean and equitable energy future

This post was originally published on the Law and Political Economy blog. The global energy price shocks of the past two years have made it painfully clear that energy cannot be treated as an ordinary commodity and that many governments have been insufficiently attentive to energy security. Given its dependence on Russian gas, the EU has …

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Coordinating Climate Policy

We have a White House climate czar. That’s not going to be enough.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) creates a massive funding program for clean energy and other climate policies. This funding complements regulatory efforts at EPA elsewhere.  Yet authority over energy policy is fragmented at the federal level. Without better coordination, there’s a risk that various policies will mesh poorly or operate at cross-purposes. And state governments, …

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California’s Secret Weapon: The Scoping Plan

There’s no substitute for a comprehensive policy vision.

The scoping process has been key to California’s success in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  The process requires the government to assess past progress, project future emissions, and come up with a strategy to meet its climate goals.  In contrast, in many states – and at the federal level – there’s no real mechanism for a …

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Happy 50th Anniversary, Federal Clean Water Act

One of America’s Foundational Environmental Laws Has Proven Transformational, But Requires Updating a Half-Century Later

The Clean Water Act (CWA), one of the nation’s most important environmental laws, is 50 years old today.  It’s proven to be one of the most successful of America’s bedrock federal environmental statutes.  But the CWA is far from perfect, needs some important updating, and will probably never fully achieve the aspirational goals Congress proclaimed …

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