Regulatory Policy

The Regulatory Process: FAQs

Here’s an explainer on how federal regulations get issued and reviewed by courts.

Even most lawyers, let alone the rest of the population, are a bit fuzzy on how the regulatory system works.  As the Biden Administration is gearing up to start a slew of regulatory proceedings, here’s what you need to know about the process. Issuing Regulations Q:  Where do agencies like EPA get the power to …

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Small Cannabis Growers and Large Red Tape?

A complicated cannabis regulatory system may be squeezing out small cannabis cultivators

In a prior blog post, I discussed how California’s experiment in legalizing cannabis has not been as effective as hoped for in bringing cultivators into the legal regulatory system. Low levels of compliance might be undermining the possibility of improved environmental outcomes – proponents of legalization argued that bringing formerly illegal cannabis cultivation into a …

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Diagnosing Why More Growers Aren’t In California’s Cannabis System

Understanding why more outdoor cultivators aren’t entering into the new legal regulatory system for cannabis is important for reducing the environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation

When California voters legalized cannabis in 2016, a key argument for legalization was that legalization would benefit the environment. If cannabis growers necessarily operated outside the law, then they had little incentive to comply with environmental regulatory standards. Instead, cannabis growers might trespass on private and public lands, cause significant damage to habitat, use illegal …

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Anti—Anti-#ClimateEmergency

COP25

Whether to declare a climate emergency is debatable. But some critics have gone way overboard.   

Should Biden declare a national climate emergency?  There are certainly arguments that, on balance, it would be better not to take that step.  Some opponents argue that declaring a climate emergency would be horribly anti-democratic, polarizing, and counterproductive.  Those arguments seem to me seriously overstated.  I’d like to go through the major arguments against declaring …

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How Harmful Was Trump’s COVID Response?

We know it was bad, but how much of the U.S. death rate can be attributed to him rather than circumstances?

The U.S. COVID response went badly in 2020. How much was because Trump was Trump? That is, if Trump had been a moderately competent but imperfect leader, facing a diverse population with a significant resistance to public health measures, how many lives would have been saved? That’s not a question that anyone can answer with …

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Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Biden EPA

The recent rescission of  a Trump rule hints at how the Biden Administration views the role of cost-benefit analysis.

In its closing days, the Trump Administration issued a rule designed to tilt EPA’s cost-benefit analysis of air pollution regulations in favor of industry. Last week, EPA rescinded the rule.  The rescission was no surprise, given that the criticisms of the Trump rule by economists as well as environmentalists. EPA’s explanation for the rescission was …

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Guest Contributors Clara Barnosky, Jane Sadler, Richard Yates, and Zachary Zimmerman: The Biden Administration’s First 100 Days of Reversing Environmental Rollbacks

Joe Biden

An Early Analysis of Progress and Priorities in the Executive Branch

In the final months of the Trump presidency, we (a team of students working with U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE)) compiled a database of over 200 environmental rollbacks enacted during the Trump administration. These rollbacks characterized the administration’s aggressive focus on deregulation of industry and disregard of protections for the …

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The Ninth Circuit Makes EPA an Offer It Can’t Refuse

Regulate chlorpyrifos or else!

Chlorpyrifos is one of the most widely used pesticides in America, although it has been banned in the EU.  Last week, the Ninth Circuit took the extraordinary step of ordering EPA pointblank to ban or reduce traces of chlorpyrifos in food. A dissenter accused the majority of misreading the statute in question and abusing its …

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Time to End FERC’s Misguided Effort to Fix Wholesale Power Prices

A FERC ruling tilts the playing field against renewable energy. It should be repealed.

In 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decided that state clean energy policies were distorting energy markets operated by PJM, the country’s largest grid region.  That, at least, was the view of the Commissioners who were appointed by Republican presidents. PJM, which runs the electricity grid more or less from Chicago to Maryland, has …

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Biden and the Environment: The First 100 Days

Biden has set up a lot of future actions. But he’s already got some notches on his belt.

Tomorrow marks Biden’s first 100 days in office. He’s appointed a great climate team and is negotiating an infrastructure bill that focuses on climate change. With luck, those actions will produce major environmental gains down the road. There are also some solid gains in the form of actions that have already come to fruition. Here’s …

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