Regulatory Policy

“If Present Trends Continue….”

To paraphrase Socrates, “the unexplained projection is not worth giving.”

You often see forecasts like this: “If present trends continue, electric vehicles will be X% of the auto fleet by 2035.”  But this doesn’t mean much without explanation: what “trends” and “continued” in what way?  The Energy Information Agency is a major culprit in that respect — they provide lots of projections but don’t unpack […]

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Environmental Law Centers — Western version

It’s not just on the coasts where law schools works on sustainability.

This is part of an occasional series on the work of environmental law centers. My goal in this series is to highlight one of the ways that law schools work for the public interest, not just on the coasts but throughout the country. Here, I’ll focus on the Interior West — the plains, mountains, and […]

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Lights Out, Everybody’s Home

Protecting California’s Most Vulnerable from Climate Effects

Today, rather than walking to campus, I’m home learning the features of Zoom Conference to conduct meetings and classes remotely: UC Berkeley’s campus is shut for its second day in a row, as Pacific Gas and Electric seeks to minimize risk of a wildfire (and associated liability) in the present high wind conditions. Even as […]

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Aging Dams, Forgotten Perils

You’ve heard it before but it’s still true: U.S. infrastructure is a mess.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Critical U.S. infrastructure is dilapidated and unsafe. Regulation is week, and enforcement is weaker. Everyone agrees on the need for action, and climate change will only make the problem worse.  but no one seems to do anything about it. Sadly, this has become a familiar story. Take […]

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EPA/Transportation Announcement of California Waiver Revocation is Full of Falsehoods and Irony

How Many Misstatements Can You Find?

This morning, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation formally announced — as expected — that the Trump Administration is revoking California’s waiver to set its own vehicle standards. Yesterday, Trump tweeted the news, coupling it with falsehoods claiming that the rollback would save lives and save consumers money.  As I blogged yesterday, both […]

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Trump’s Tweet about Yanking California’s Waiver is, Shockingly, Full of Falsehoods

The rollback will not make drivers safer and will not save consumers money

President Trump just sent out a series of tweets announcing and defending his decision to revoke California’s permission to issue its own tough standards to reduce carbon pollution and require manufacturers to sell Zero Emission Vehicles in the state.  Julia has a great analysis of why the decision is terrible policy and bad law that […]

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Trump Announces Waiver Rollback on Twitter

Revoking California’s Clean Air Act Waiver Is Bad Policy and Legally Indefensible

This post was originally published on the American Constitution Society’s Expert Forum on September 18, 2019.  President Trump announced the revocation on Twitter this morning. It’s not news that the Trump administration has been planning, via its so-called SAFE Rule, to freeze Obama-era fuel economy standards, roll back tailpipe greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards, and […]

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Rumored White House Move to Revoke California’s Waiver Is Trump’s Revenge Against the State

Move Motivated by Spite, Not by Policy Considerations

A White House official today confirmed to Politico that the Administration is considering revoking California’s permission (called a “waiver”)  to set its own greenhouse gas emissions and zero emission standards for cars and light trucks.  Rumors are that the waiver revocation could happen as early as tomorrow. The news in this announcement is that the […]

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Sidestepping Regulatory Ossification

The regulatory process can take forever. Here are some possible responses.

Some years ago, Tom McGarity coined the phrase “regulatory ossification” to describe the increasingly slow and cumbersome regulatory system.  Since then, the situation has only gotten worse.  As a recent article by Bethany Davis Noll and Richard Revesz points out, significant regulations take an average of four years to issue, and judicial review adds another […]

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Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Next President

If it’s Trump, we’ll see more of the same. But what if a Democrat wins?

Under executive orders dating back to Reagan, regulatory agencies like EPA are supposed to follow cost-benefit analysis in making decisions. Under the Trump Administration, however, cost-benefit analysis has barely even served as window-dressing for its deregulatory actions.  It has launched a series of efforts to prevent full counting of regulatory benefits, as well as committing […]

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