Regulation

What Hath FERC Wrought?

FERC’s GOP majority has taken a swipe against renewable energy. It might work, or it might backfire.

At the end of June, in a vote divided along partisan lines, FERC handed down a sweeping order that will impact electricity markets in a wide swath of the country. — likely at the expense of renewable energy and nuclear power. Unfortunately, like Trump’s power plant bailout, the result may be to delay the closing […]

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UCLA Law Wells Environmental Law Clinic Files U.S. Supreme Court Brief on Behalf of Scientists in Endangered Species Act Case

Scientists’ Brief Argues Federal Agencies and Courts Must Use Science in Interpreting “Habitat” Under the Endangered Species Act; Clinic Clients Include Profs. Stuart Pimm & E.O. Wilson, Along With Three MacArthur “Genius” Award Recipients & Ten Other Esteemed Scientists

Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act in 1973 to protect species at risk of extinction.  Congress viewed species extinction as an urgent threat requiring urgent, decisive action.  The result was a bipartisan law designed to apply scientific knowledge and expertise to managing the threats to U.S. species.  While the Act has been controversial, and characterized […]

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Quick Thoughts on Scott Pruitt resignation as EPA Administrator

Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Former Coal Lobbyist, to Serve as Acting Administrator

As Dan Farber just pointed out, President Trump announced minutes ago via Twitter that Scott Pruitt is (finally) stepping down as Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency.  Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the coal industry, will serve as Acting Administrator pending confirmation of a new Administrator.  I have a few quick […]

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The Chevron Doctrine: Is It Fading? Could That Help Restrain Trump?

The Supreme Court may be shifting the rules for reviewing agency interpretations of statutes.

In June, the Supreme Court decided two cases that could have significant implications for environmental law. The two cases may shed some light on the Court’s current thinking about the Chevron doctrine. The opinions suggest that the Court may be heading in the direction of more rigorous review of interpretations of statutes by agencies like […]

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Agency U-Turns

Policy reversals are likely to be more frequent in an increasingly polarized society. How should courts respond?

The Trump Administration is doing its best to wipe out Obama’s regulatory legacy. How will the courts respond to such a radical policy change? The philosophical clash between these last two Presidents is especially stark, but this is far from being the first time that agencies have taken U-turns. This is the fifth time in […]

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The Puzzle of Capacity Markets

What are capacity markets and why do they matter?

If you live in the Midwest, East of the Mississippi and North of the Mason-Dixon line, or in Arkansas or Louisiana, the companies that generate your electricity are covered by what are called capacity markets.  I’ll bet you didn’t know that.  That’s actually part of the problem, because there’s very little transparency and hence little […]

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A Trumped-Up Bailout Plan

Legally deficient? Arbitrary? Disguised special interest favors? All par for the course in this Administration.

You couldn’t ask for a more typical example of the Trump Administration at work. Nuclear and coal plants are being closed across the country, unable to compete with cheap natural gas and increasingly cheap renewables.  In a desperate effort to support the coal industry, Trump wants to force consumers to subsidize these plants.  It’s not […]

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What Does Sports Gambling Have To Do With Environmental Law?

A Lot, Potentially, Following the Supreme Court’s Murphy v. NCAA Decision

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a major decision invalidating a federal statute that had prohibited states from allowing betting on competitive sporting events.  Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, is one of those relatively rare Supreme Court decisions that directly affects a substantial portion of the American public.  So it’s no great surprise that […]

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CARB Seeks to Maintain Stringency of California’s Vehicle Standards

Emmett Institute submits public comment in support of CARB’s efforts

Back in the halcyon days of 2012 when EPA, NHTSA, California, and the automakers crafted a grand bargain to adopt national vehicle emission standards, California agreed that compliance with vehicle emission standards adopted at the federal level would be “deemed to comply” with California’s standards. Now, as it becomes clear that the federal government intends […]

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Plastics and our Future

How to turn off the plastics spout?

Kudos to National Geographic for its stunner of an issue on plastics and the environmental harms they cause. As this latest report and many other recent stories make clear, we are drowning in plastics. Bits of plastic have been found in beer, in major brands of bottled water, in 75% of deep sea fish, in […]

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