Regulatory Policy

Pollution Bursts and Public Health

EPA needs to give much more serious thought to controlling bursts of pollution.

When a facility installs and operates the required pollution control equipment, we normally think of the pollution problem as solved. But there still may be bursts of pollution associated with start-up, shut-down, accidents or external events.  A recent study of pollution in Texas shows that these events have substantial health impacts, involving significant deaths and […]

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Updates on the War on Science

The Trump Administration continues its campaign to suppress science.

The Trump Administration’s hostile attitude toward science has continued unabated.  The Administration has used a triad of strategies: efforts to defund research, suppression of scientific findings, and embrace of fringe science.    Budget.Administration continues to favor deep cuts in research support.  Its initial 2020 budget proposal calls for  a 13% cut to the National Science Foundation, a 12% cut at […]

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A Motley Crew

The leadership at EPA has lots of experience, much of it in opposing environmental protection.

The best-known figure at EPA is Andrew Wheeler, the ex-coal lobbyist who is now the fox in charge of the henhouse. But it’s worth looking at some of the key remaining staff so we can see just what’s happened to EPA since Trump took office. Compared to some of Trump’s cabinet appointments, they all look […]

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Guest Blogger Michael Panfil: Supreme Court Declines to Hear New York and Illinois Clean Energy Cases Challenging Zero Emission Credits

Cert. Denials Have Significant Implications for Environment, Human Health, and Clean Energy

States are on the leading edge in crafting pathbreaking climate and clean energy policy. They rely on longstanding authority to do so to further their citizens’ welfare and wellbeing. That bedrock authority recently received important reaffirmation from the Supreme Court, which last month declined petitions for review in two cases with important implications for power […]

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Law Schools and the Environment: East Coast Version

Environmental law centers aren’t just a California thing. .

Readers of this blog probably have some sense of what the environmental law centers at UCLA and here at Berkeley are doing. There are too many environmental law centers to do a a comprehensive nationwide survey, and trying to pick a top-10 list would be completely subjective. To keep this post manageable, I’ll only discuss […]

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Making Key Policy Decisions in Advance of Droughts

Part 6 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

It’s hard to respond effectively to a crisis when you don’t have clearly defined priorities.  This is true for sudden-onset crises, like floods and wildfires, and also for slow-onset crises, like droughts. My recent posts have explored why the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) should develop a contingency-based framework to support its drought decisions […]

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Governing New Biotechnologies for Biodiversity Conservation

Cover of "Genetic frontiers for conservation" from the IUCN

The fourth in a series examines how international institutions have responded

The previous two posts in this series described how and why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could be introduced into wild populations, either “typically” modified ones that would transmit their altered genes ineffectively or those with “gene drives” whose changes would quickly propagate through the entire population. In both cases, their potential applications include helping conserve […]

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EPA’s Magic Disappearance Trick

The Trump EPA has come up with a way to hide hundreds of deaths in plain view.

According to press reports, EPA is preparing to ignore possible deaths caused by concentrations of pollutants occurring below the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). This is a key issue in a lot of decisions about pollution reduction.  For instance, there is no NAAQS for mercury, but pollution controls on mercury would, as a side […]

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Genetically Modifying Wild Populations

Gene drive inheritance. Image from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

The third in a series examines powerful new gene drive tools

In my previous two posts, I introduced what I call first, second, and third generation genetically modified organisms: (1) GM bacteria for diverse, mostly indoor purposes; (2) GM crops and agricultural animals; and (3) GMOs that would be intentionally placed into natural environments, where they would live, reproduce, and transmit their modified genes to offspring. […]

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U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Revive Challenge to Oregon Clean Fuels Program

Legal Challenges to Oregon & California Vehicle Fuel Carbon-Intensity Standards Close to the End of the Line, Clearing Path Forward to Transformative Reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation Sector

This past Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of a federal appeals court decision upholding the legality of Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program. That decision finally frees Oregon’s program from uncertainty from what was seen as a significant legal challenge. The program, modeled after the similar California Low Carbon Fuel Standard developed by the California […]

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