Regulation

Dark Waters in Dark Times

Citizen Petition Presses EPA To Call Chemicals in Environmental Docudrama “Hazardous Waste”

This holiday season, A-list actors drew moviegoers to a film with a distinctly un-Hollywood plot line:  A company dumps thousands of pounds of toxic, long-lived chemicals (PFAS, or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) into unlined pits that drain into a farming community’s drinking water.  Local residents fall ill, some terminally.  A heroic attorney (Mark Ruffalo) represents them …

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Climate Change, Ozone Depletion, and the New York Times

The Montreal Protocol offers lessons for climate change, but not a role model

In an extended piece yesterday, The New York Times editorial board wrote that “The World Solved the Ozone Problem. It Can Solve Climate Change. The same tools that fixed the ozone hole — science, innovation and international action — can address.” Although the editorial was mostly correct, it missed what I believe to be the …

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Things to Be Thankful For

Despite the Trump Administration’s efforts, there are rays of hope.

Three years into the Trump Administration, we’re now accustomed to waking up every morning to learn about a new attack on the environment.  But there are also some things to be thankful for. Here’s how I started a similar post in 2017, just a year after the 2016 election: “Overall, it’s been a pretty lousy …

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Greenhouse Gas Regulations Under the Clean Air Act Are Doomed

Will Kavanaugh Use the Major Questions Doctrine or the Non-Delegation Doctrine to Scrap Them?

The Democratic candidates all have bold plans to attack climate change but face an obvious problem: Congress. Unless the Democrats take the Senate and the Presidency while retaining the House, and unless the Democrats abolish the filibuster, it’s hard to imagine Congress passing comprehensive climate legislation (and even then getting legislation through will be a …

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Low-Hanging Fruit

A powerful metaphor can be illuminating, but it can also be highly misleading.

The idea of long-hanging fruit is ubiquitous in environmental policy — sometimes in the form of a simple metaphor, other times expressed in more sophisticated terms as an assumption of rising marginal costs of pollution reduction. It’s an arresting metaphor, and one that can often be illuminating. But like many powerful metaphors, it can also …

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EPA’s Draft Update to Its “Science Transparency Rule” Shows It Can’t Justify the Rule

EPA Cites an Inapplicable “Housekeeping Statute” to Justify Its Rule to Limit the Use of Science In Important Regulatory Decisions

Over a year ago, EPA issued a proposed rule , ostensibly to promote transparency in the use of science to inform regulation. The proposal, which mirrors failed legislation introduced multiple times in the House, has the potential to dramatically restrict EPA’s ability to rely on key scientific studies that underpin public health regulations. The rule, …

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EPA v. the Inspector General

Surprise, surprise, EPA has tried to stonewall an investigation.

EPA’s Acting Inspector General Charles J. Sheehan took the extraordinary step last week of notifying Congress that EPA was stonewalling his investigation of potential misconduct involving EPA’s Chief of Staff.  This was a gutsy move for Sheehan, especially given the extra vulnerability created by his Acting status. Sheehan, it is worth noting, is a career …

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What to Expect from Trump’s Second Term

Basically, a second term would be like Trump’s first term, but worse.

Here we are, one year from Election Day. As of now, there is a significant chance that Trump will be reelected in 2020, though experts disagree on the precise odds.  In terms of the environment, what would his second term look like? The President. It’s conceivable that Trump might rethink his policy positions after reelection, …

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Are You Sure That’s What You Want?

Automakers might get a federal “one national standard”…just not the one they seem interested in.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Trump administration will move to finalize its rollback of federal fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards by the end of the year, and that, unlike the freeze previously proposed by the administration, the rule will require annual fuel economy improvements of 1.5 percent.  That’s still much …

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Toyota’s Defense of Its Choice to Support the Trump Administration’s Auto Standards Rollback Rings Hollow

Sadly, Toyota Has Ceded Its Place As the Industry’s Environmental Leader

My colleagues Ann, Cara, Julia, and Rick have all written about various aspects of the decision by General Motors, Toyota, and other automobile manufacturers to side with the Trump administration as it tries to prevent California from setting its own greenhouse gas emission standards. The administration is implementing this rollback in tandem with a federal …

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