Regulatory Policy

Renewable Energy in the Mountain West: A Tale of Two States

Wyoming and Colorado are very different places — but renewables are thriving in both states.

Politics play an important role in determining the fate of renewable energy in particular places, but so does economics.  The Trump Administration is trying to shift the economics, but it seems unlikely they’ll be able to have much impact. For now, at least, there are a variety of motivations for states to embrace renewables, as […]

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Foreseeable Yet Lamentable: Pruitt’s Attack on Carbon Restrictions

As expected, the Trump Administration is trying to repeal Obama’s regulation.

Few things were more foreseeable than a repeal of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) by the Trump Administration. The Clean Power Plan had three strikes against it: (1) it addressed climate change; (2) it disfavored coal and promoted the use of renewable energy in electricity generation; and (3) it came from the Obama Administration. The […]

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California’s AB 313–A Solution in Search of a Problem

Governor Brown Should Veto Ill-Conceived Bill That Would Undermine State Water Board’s Enforcement Authority

Overall, the California Legislature had a most productive year when it comes to environmental issues.  It extended until 2030 the cap-and-trade program that’s a centerpiece of the state’s ongoing efforts to reduce California’s aggregate greenhouse gas emissions.  It passed the mis-named “gas tax” legislation, which not only provides funding to rebuild California’s once-proud but now […]

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Guest Blogger Michael Wara: The Trump Administration Moves to Guarantee Profits for Coal-fired and Nuclear Power Plants

Finally, something anti-regulation conservatives and pro-environment progressives can agree on: dislike of the Sec. Perry’s Resilience and Reliability NOPR

The gloves came off last week when it comes to the Trump Administration’s attempts to subsidize coal in U.S. electricity markets. On Friday, Energy Secretary Rick Perry formally requested that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission guarantee profits for both new and existing coal fired and nuclear power plants. While Sec. Perry doesn’t have the power […]

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How “Leakage” Will Undermine Trump’s War Against Renewables

Trying to stop renewables is like playing whack-a-mole.

When you try to reduce use of fossil fuels in one place, you can actually increase emissions elsewhere, because some of the same fuels may just move to another country.  In a sense, the carbon that used to be emitted in your country has “leaked” outside your borders.  This is a well-known headache for climate […]

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The Green Backlash Against Trump

Trump has sparked resistance in many forms from many directions.

There are clear signs of a strong backlash against Trump. Consider support for environmental organizations. A report in February indicated that giving to the Sierra Club was up 700% over the same period of the preceding year, as part of a major trend across environmental NGOs. According to the same report, other environmental groups were […]

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Ryan Zinke’s Troubling Remarks Undercut Dept. of Interior’s Core Mission

Comments to Oil Trade Association Attack Agency Staff, Dismiss Environmental Safeguards

At a recent meeting of the American Petroleum Institute (the national oil company trade association), Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made clear some of his plans for the Department of the Interior.  According to AP reporting, he called almost 1/3 of employees disloyal, said he plans to speed up oil and logging permits, and revealed a […]

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The Dark Art of Estimating Flood Risks

The 100-year flood and the 500-year flood are both very rough estimates.

My title is a little unfair.  So far as I can tell, the people who are trying to figure out the 100-year or 500-year floods in various places are hard-working professionals, applying their expertise to a difficult problem.  But there are a lot of uncertainties that get concealed behind the final numbers.  The consequence is […]

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High Time to Fix California’s Affordable Housing Crisis

California Political Leaders Announce Historic Housing Accord

The Sacramento Bee reports that California Governor Jerry Brown and the Democratic leaders of the State Senate and Assembly have reached an 11th-hour agreement to address California’s chronic, steadily growing affordable housing crisis.  (The California Legislature’s 2017 session concludes in mid-September.)  That’s good news indeed–and a most welcome (if overdue) proposed fix to one of […]

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Pushing Back Against Presidential Power

It’s time to rethink the amount of power presidents have claimed over regulatory policy.

If there was ever a time to think hard about presidential power, that time is now. That’s a very broad question, but the part most relevant for this blog is the President’s role in controlling government regulation. There is no question that presidents have and will continue to have a huge influence on regulatory policy. […]

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