Regulatory Policy

Toxic Releases? Botched Drug Trials? — Not a Problem, in this Administration

The Trump Administration has essentially dropped enforcement of environmental laws and clinical trial requirements.

The easiest way to gut regulations is simply to stop enforcing them. That tried and true technique has been enthusiastically embraced by the Trump Administration.  That’s been long suspected in terms of environmental law. Shockingly, the Administration has also mostly given up on enforcing the standards for conducting clinical drug trials. The breakdown in FDA …

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Should a New Congress Use a Deeply Flawed Law to Cancel Trump’s Regulations?

The Congressional Review Act was Newt Gingrich’s brainchild. It should be repealed.

The Congressional Review Act (CRA), part of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America”, slumbered for many years in obscurity. Then, in 2017, Congress dusted it off and used it to kill fifteen Obama administration regulations. I’m not the first to ask whether there should be payback if the White House and Senate change hands. There are …

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The Kavanaugh Court and the Environment

A new appointment would make Justice Kavanaugh the swing voter.  Here’s what that would mean for environmental law.

A new appointment by Trump would shift the Supreme Court well to the right, making Brett Kavanaugh the swing voter in many cases. Kavanaugh has clear views about the powers of agencies like EPA. With him as the swing voter, the main strategy used by Obama to make environmental progress would be off limits for …

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Rebuilding Environmental Protection

It will take years to fully recover from the damage of the Trump era. We will need some new ideas.

After almost four years of Trump, federal environmental protection is in about the same shape as Western Europe at the end of World War II, filled with bomb craters and destruction.  If the election turns out in Biden’s favor, he will be faced with the task of rebuilding from the smoking ruins. Here are some …

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Gene Drives, Biodiversity Conservation, International Law, and Emerging Politics

gene drive inheritance

My latest article is published by Global Environmental Politics

A set of new biotechnologies are being developed that will force many of us, especially those concerned about biodiversity loss, to re-examine how we understand the relationship between biotechnology and conservation. These are “gene drives,” which would be used to genetically modify, reduce, or eliminate populations of species. My paper “Governing New Biotechnologies for Biodiversity …

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Enforcing NEPA’s Forgotten Mandate

The courts have failed to enforce a core requirement of NEPA. That leaves the White House.

The Democrats have adopted an ambitious platform for environmental protection, full of innovative legislative initiatives.  Here’s another idea Biden and Harris should consider, making use of the oldest of the modern environmental statutes. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is best known for requiring environmental impact statements. While they have enforced that requirement, the courts …

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The Whipsaw Effect

Get ready for a rough ride, with sudden weather reversals and climate shifts.

Steady predictable changes in climate and weather would be easier to adapt to.  Instead, we may well see some very sudden shifts, both in terms of short-term weather and longer-term climate regimes.

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When does a groundwater recharge project NOT need a water right?

Shows rainwater dripping off the edge of a roof

by Kate Fritz and Nell Green Nylen

Groundwater recharge projects already play an important role in California. That role is about to expand rapidly, as local groundwater managers begin to take more concrete actions to meet their responsibilities under California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). As we mentioned in our last post, an important part of developing a successful recharge project …

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Election 2020: Update on the Senate

Senate control will matter a lot, regardless of who’s in the White House.

Control of the Senate will determine the environmental views of new judges and whether any environmental legislation can pass.  In August, I’ll start looking at the environmental stakes in specific Senate races. Here’s why Senate control is so important and where things stand right now. Basically, the question is whether Mitch McConnell retains his grip …

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Trump Administration’s Court Challenge to California-Quebec Cap-and-Trade Agreement Again Rejected

U.S. District Court Rejects Feds’ Latest Constitutional Attack on California’s Climate Change Initiative

Three strikes and you’re out. That adage, particularly timely given Major League Baseball’s belated start of its 2020 season this week, is just as apt when it comes to litigation as it is to our nation’s pastime. For the second time in four months, U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb has rejected a constitutional challenge …

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