Regulatory Policy

California Supreme Court Ruling Represents Big Win for State Water Board–& California’s Environment

Justices Uphold Water Board’s “User Pays” Fee System Against Constitutional Attack

The California Supreme Court has handed the State Water Resources Control Board a major legal win, rejecting an industry challenge to the “user pays”-based system of funding the Board’s water pollution control system.  In doing so, the Supreme Court has fended off yet another constitutional challenge to the manner in which environmental regulatory fees are […]

Continue Reading

The Questionable Legal Basis of the “Transparency” Proposal

EPA seems unsure of the legal authority for its proposal — and for good reason.

“They sat at the Agency and said, ‘what can we do to reimagine authority under the statutes to regulate an area that we are unsure that we can but we’re going to do so anyway?’” When he said those words, Scott Pruitt was talking about the Obama Administration. But it seems to be a pretty […]

Continue Reading

Pruitt’s Utterly Opaque “Transparency” Proposal

Ironically, the proposal calling for greater transparency provides little clue into the agency’s thinking.

EPA recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking entitled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.” The proposal would prohibit the agency from considering studies of health risks unless enough data is made publicly available to allow EPA or industry to validate the results. That sounds fine, but these studies often involve either confidential health records or […]

Continue Reading

SB 827 and the Concept of Deregulation

When land-use deregulation gets characterized as regulation, and why

Perhaps the biggest topic in land-use law and housing affordability in California over the past couple of months has been a piece of legislation introduced by State Senator Wiener, SB 827.  Ethan has blogged quite a bit about the bill – the basic concept of the legislation is to eliminate or significantly restrict a number […]

Continue Reading

Register Now: Toward Zero-Emission Freight At Southern California’s Ports

Free daylong conference at UCLA on Friday, June 8th will examine the prospects, pitfalls & policy needs

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach bring more goods into the U.S. than any other ports in the country. Yet together the ports are the single largest source of air pollution in Southern California. Harbor commissioners have adopted an ambitious plan to transition to cleaner fuels for goods movement in and around the […]

Continue Reading

Promoting Energy Innovation

Novel energy technologies need special care and feeding if they are to develop and enter the marketplace.

An MIT professor has a great idea for a molten metal battery that could outperform lithium batteries. Of course, like many great ideas, this one might not pan out. But even if it does pan out technically, Grist explains one reason why it might never get to the commercial stage: “Ultimately, the thing that makes […]

Continue Reading

The importance of intra-executive branch checks and balances

We are used to thinking of the different branches of government checking each other. Scott Pruitt’s behavior illustrates the need for stronger checks and balances within the executive branch

As Dan recently pointed out, Scott Pruitt has a lot of explaining to do these days, about his housing situation last year, about his travel as EPA Administrator, about how two of his close aides ended up with hefty pay raises, and more. Even Fox News is asking questions. I want to make a different […]

Continue Reading

Guest Blogger Ken Alex: Climate Solutions

Post #12 in a Series on California Climate Policy by Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown

[This is the second-to-last post in a series expressing my view of why California’s actions on climate change are so important and how they will change the world. The introductory post provides an overview and some general context.] As discussed in the previous blog posts, through the ARB Scoping Plan, the 5 pillars of climate action set […]

Continue Reading

The Paradox of Electricity Deregulation

This is one setting where “deregulation” is a lot more complicated than regulation.

You might think that deregulation means sweeping away regulations, which ought to make the law much simpler.  But the opposite is true in the electricity sphere.  The regulatory system in states taking the traditional fixed-price approach is actually much easier to understand than the so-called deregulation method. Instead of saying “deregulation” it would be better […]

Continue Reading

Will Pruitt join Sessions In Expanding the Federal Government’s Attack on California?

California Vehicle Emissions Standards At Stake

It’s no secret that the Trump Administration has it out for California.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions just sued the state for its refusal to aid Immigration and Customs Enforcement in detaining undocumented immigrants.  Donald Trump just claimed that highly popular Governor Jerry Brown is doing a terrible job, despite Brown leading California out of a […]

Continue Reading