Regulation

Reforming the California Endangered Species Act

Updating the state’s landmark biodiversity law for the twenty-first century

California has a rich heritage of biodiversity, with many species found nowhere else in the world (including the iconic giant sequoia trees).  But California’s biodiversity faces grave threats – pressures from development that eliminates habitat; water shortages that harm aquatic species in California’s rivers; and climate change impacts that are shifting and altering habitats, among …

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Never Give Up. Never Surrender.

Even if we miss our targets, simply shaving or flattening the carbon curve would be worth fighting for.

Although lacking the same eloquence, today’s post is in the spirit of Churchill’s famous speech promising that Britain would “fight on the beaches, … we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” My point is this: No matter how many battles we end up losing in the fight to stop carbon emissions, we …

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California Enacts Historic Housing Reform Laws

Legislation Promotes New Housing, Infill Development, & Reduced Air Pollution

The California Legislature recently enacted, and Governor Gavin Newsom last week signed into law, two major housing reform measures.  SB 9 and SB 10 represent California’s most transformative new housing laws in decades, and are a belated but welcome legislative response to the state’s longstanding housing crisis. SB 9, authored by California State Senate leader …

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The Last Four Years — and the Next Four

How did our predictions about Trump hold up? What should we expect for Biden?

In September 2017, Eric Biber and I published a threat assessment after the first 200 days of the Trump Administration. For those who have buried their memories of that time, those were days of shock and despair about the future of environmental protection (and much else). It seems time to bring our report up to …

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Is the ‘Vaccine Mandate’ Legal?

Despite all the political huffing and puffing, Biden’s order has a solid legal basis.

Incensed critics are calling Biden’s proposed “vaccine mandate” an outrageous usurpation of power. They need to take a deep breath. It’s not really a vaccine mandate, the only statutory issue is procedural, and there’s no constitutional problem. Calling Biden’s order a vaccine mandate is misleading. It could just as well be considered a testing mandate …

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Vacancy

A Key White House regulatory office has remained unfilled for a record time.

The Biden Administration is looking to make big regulatory changes, not least regarding climate change. Yet the White House office overseeing regulations is vacant. The obscurely named Office of Regulatory Affairs and Information (OIRA) has to sign off on all significant regulations. Even the dilatory Donald Trump had nominated a permanent administrator by July of …

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Labor and the Environment

Let’s talk about jobs and environmental protection.

Labor Day is a good time to talk about an important topic: the impact of environmental protection on jobs. This is a clearly a fraught issue. In support of his deregulation campaign, President Trump promised to “cancel every needless job-killing regulation and put a moratorium on new regulations until our economy gets back on its …

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Another Worrisome Signal from the Supreme Court

Phrases that should frighten environmentalists: “Shadow docket ” “Major questions doctrine”

Last Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down the CDC eviction moratorium in the Alabama Association of Realtors case. The case may seem far removed from environmental law, but it has some troubling implications for future EPA regulatory initiatives. The process used by the Supreme Court to intervene is as significant as the ruling itself. This …

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Environmentalism and the Supreme Court

Some cases belong to the environmentalist legal canon, others to an anti-canon of reviled precedents.

Every field has its texts that form part of its intellectual canon, and others that form a kind of anti-canon of rejected ideas.  The same is true in environmental law. The issue goes beyond which side wins. From the pro-environmental side of things, some Supreme Court rulings form guideposts to rely on, whereas others represent …

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Unintended Consequences Create Challenges for Utility Regulators

Making sure that regulatory incentives do what the regulators intended.

In a new post, Dan Farber mentions performance-based regulation as a promising tool for encouraging energy utilities to be enthusiastic in supporting the transition to clean energy sources. There are a lot of people who agree with him. After all, traditional utility regulation tends to encourage the companies to overspend on infrastructure and under spend …

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