Regulatory Policy

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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EPA Shouldn’t Roll Back Coal Power Plant Emissions Standard, Conclude Experts in Electrical Grid Management and Pollution Control Technology Innovation

Emmett Institute Faculty File Two Comment Letters on Behalf of Experts, Demonstrating Flaws In Proposed Rollback of New Source Performance Standard for New Coal-Fired Power Plants

In 2015, EPA set greenhouse gas emissions standards for new coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Performance Standards program, Section 111(b) of the Act. These standards ensure that new plants can be built only if they incorporate state-of-the-art emissions controls. Unfortunately, in late 2018, the Trump Administration EPA proposed […]

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Downgrading OIRA

The acting regulatory “czar” is the least experienced in history.

Overlooked amidst all the other news, the White House picked a new acting regulatory czar earlier this month. The acting Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is Paul Ray, who is very junior and a virtual unknown.  It’s difficult to imagine that he’s going to be very effective at telling cabinet officials […]

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EPA’s Mission: The Original Understanding

Guess what? EPA’s core mission wasn’t cutting regulatory costs.

What is EPA’s mission? To what extent is minimizing regulatory costs part of the core mission, as the Trump Administration seems to believe? Does the Trump/Pruitt/Wheeler view comport with original intent? History makes it clear that the  answer is no. The title of the agency itself suggests that the core mission is protecting the environment, […]

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I Suppose We Can Just Hope That EIA Is Wrong

The federal estimate of energy-related carbon emissions in 2050 should get our attention.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) issues projections for future energy use across all sectors of society. They aren’t really predictions of our energy future — they are more like conversation starters. In fact, some researchers suggest that EIA shows a consistent bias by forecasting more energy use than actually occurs. Yet, […]

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Governance on the Ground—Evaluating Pesticide Regulation in California

California uses more pesticides than any other U.S. state, primarily because of the large acreage of high value specialty crops. Photo credit: Fotokostic, Shutterstock

In a new study, UCLA and USC researchers find that California state and county officials are falling short in evaluating use of agricultural pesticides.

Editor’s note: a new report from researchers at UCLA and USC provides a systematic review of California’s county-level regulation of pesticides. Read the report, a 4-page summary, and a press release.  It is well known that the law on the ground often looks quite different than the law on the books. California’s pesticide regulatory program […]

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Conference On SB 100 & California’s Race To A Carbon-Free Grid

California Lawyers Association Environmental Law Section will hold daylong event on March 28th in Downtown Oakland

The California Lawyers Association’s Environmental Law Section is hosting a conference on Thursday, March 28th in Downtown Oakland entitled “SB 100 and the Race to a Carbon Free Grid in California.” It will feature top officials from the Newsom Administration and other energy experts, including an “Energy 101” pre-panel for attorneys new to the field. […]

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Water Rights Administration and Oversight During Past California Droughts

Part 2 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

In the first post in this series, I talked about why it’s important for the state of California to spend time preparing for future droughts even in wet years like this one.  This post examines some of the lessons from past droughts that can inform these preparations. Past droughts have stress-tested California’s water management institutions, […]

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Do Impossible Regulatory Deadlines Cause Faster Progress?

A: Maybe, but only in a roundabout way. (And at a cost.)

Just about nobody who’s knowledgeable in the field thinks the U.S. electric grid can  be made carbon free in ten years.  Having spent the past two years lambasting the Trump Administration for ignoring the experts, I’m loathe to disagree with the expert opinion on this one. But even if the ten-year deadline set by supporters […]

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A Legislative Response to California’s Housing Emergency: Senator Skinner’s SB 330

How to Make a Good Bill Even Better

(This post is co-authored by U.C. Davis Law School Professor Chris Elmendorf)  Last week, as President Trump harrumphed about the faux emergency on our nation’s Southern border, California State Senator Nancy Skinner introduced a potentially transformative bill that addresses California’s real emergency: the ever-escalating cost of housing in the state’s economically productive metropolitan regions. As […]

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