Regulatory Policy

Trump’s Campaign to Gag Activist Shareholders

His recent executive order tries to “protect” oil companiy management from smart climate planning.

Exxon management was not pleased when shareholders forced them to produce a report on how climate change would impact their business. In May, Exxon is facing another shareholder vote on whether to form a climate change committee on the Board of Directors and whether to  disclose how sea level rise will impact its investments on the […]

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Happy Tax Day!

It’s the perfect time to talk about a carbon tax.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that taxes are the prices we pay for a civilized society.  A carbon tax, if we ever get one,  might turn out to be the price we pay for a sustainable planet.  I’m not wedded to it as a tool for cutting carbon, and I don’t think it would […]

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Cleveland, City of Light, City of Magic

Newspaper Layoffs Claim The Plain Dealer’s Energy Reporting

On Tuesday, I wrote about the demise of local newspapers nationwide and in particular the collapse of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, arguing that universities need to fill the gap of quality journalism. I also suggested that this is an environmental issue, as it is local newspapers’ coverage of the environment that often drives the conversation. […]

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Trump Administration’s Cold Water War With California Turns Hot

Feds’ Curious New Lawsuits Against State Water Board Likely Just the Opening Litigation Salvo

When it comes to California water policy, the federal-state relationship has always been both strained and challenging.  That intergovernmental tension harkens back at least to the Reclamation Act of 1902.  In section 8 of this iconic federal statute that transformed the American West, Congress declared that the federal government “shall proceed in conformity with” state […]

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A Contingency-Based Framework to Support Drought Decision Making

Part 4 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

In my last post, I outlined actions the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) can take to improve its future drought response capabilities. Our core recommendation is for the Board to bring greater predictability, timeliness, and effectiveness to water rights administration and oversight during droughts by proactively developing a contingency-based framework to support its drought […]

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Economists vs. Environmentalists: Time for Deténte?

You don’t have to love economics to see it as a possible ally.

Cost-benefit analysis has long been the target of environmentalist ire.  But one lesson of the Trump years has been that economic analysis can be a source of support for environmental policy — it is the anti-regulatory forces who have to fudge the numbers to justify their actions.  Most energy and environmental economists are aghast at […]

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California Adopts New, Welcome Wetlands Protection Rules

State Fills Void Left By Trump Administration’s Weakening of Federal Wetlands Standards

This week California’s State Water Resources Control Board adopted important new rules to protect the state’s remaining wetlands resources.  Enacted after over a decade of Board hearings, workshops and deliberation, those rules are overdue, welcome and critically necessary.  Their adoption is particularly timely now, given the Trump Administration’s wholesale assault on and erosion of federal […]

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Actions to Improve California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

Part 3 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

In California, the next drought is always looming on the horizon.  While we don’t get advance warning of when a drought will occur, how long it will last, or how severe it will be, we do have advance knowledge that drought planning and preparation are important.  First, we know water management during droughts can have […]

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The EPA’s Proposed Standards for Coal Power Plants Increase Pollution Without Real Justification

The public comment period for proposed revisions to EPA’s proposed emissions standards for fossil-fuel fired power plants under the Clean Air Act ended last week.  Emmett Institute staff have submitted two comment letters on the rule (see Sean’s post on one of the letters here; that letter itself is here). The standards—called new source performance standards—apply to […]

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