Regulatory Policy

CEQA Reform 2013 Holds Promise for Improving the Environment

Despite grumblings, the new law contains significant victories for infill development and urban investment

Governor Brown recently signed into law this year’s version of “CEQA reform,” which as Eric noted was decidedly stripped down from what it could have been. SB 743 (Steinberg) got a lot of negative attention for giving the Sacramento Kings basketball arena proponents accelerated environmental review and immunity from injunctive relief unless the project is …

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Where Have You Gone, Justice Stevens?

The Supreme Court Misses Justice Stevens’ Influence & Perspective on Environmental Law

With the commencement of the U.S. Supreme Court’s new Term, it’s appropriate to note–and bemoan–the absence of a strong environmental voice on the Court these days. Until his retirement in 2010 after a quarter century on the Court, Justice John Paul Stevens ably served in that role. By contrast, none of the current justices seems …

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Mass. v. EPA bears fruit for environmental petitioners

Court rules that EPA must decide if new water quality standars are needed to protect the Gulf of Mexico

Cross-posted at CPRBlog. A US District Court in Louisiana recently ruled, in Gulf Restoration Network v. Jackson, that EPA must decide whether it has to impose new water quality standards for nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River watershed. Although that might seem far afield from the Supreme Court’s greenhouse gas emissions decision in Massachusetts v. …

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Still Waiting For Supreme Court Decision on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cert Petition

We May Learn This Week Whether Court Takes Up Important Climate Change Case

Court watchers are still waiting to learn whether  the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the  second most important federal case involving greenhouse gas emissions,  Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA.   The Court is closed today for a federal holiday (not because of the shutdown) but any day we should hear about whether it will take …

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Happy Birthday, TSCA!

With the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) celebrating its 37th birthday today, I was thinking what we should get it as a birthday gift.  Here’s one idea; how about a little respect.  I’ve blogged before about how the statute has become one of the most denigrated environmental laws on the books.  It seems that every …

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Denial As a Way of Life

Climate denial is closely related to debt-ceiling denial.

As it turns out, many of the same people who deny that climate change is a problem also deny that government default would be a problem.  No doubt there are several reasons: the fact that Barack Obama is on the opposite side of both issues; the general impermeability of ideologues to facts or expert opinion; …

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California Enacts Nation’s First Comprehensive Fracking Law—And Everyone’s Unhappy

Controversial But Promising, SB 4 Constitutes Tangible Progress on the Fracking Front

Late last month the California Legislature passed, and Governor Jerry Brown signed into law, the nation’s first comprehensive system of regulating hydraulic fracturing, the oil and gas drilling technique more commonly known as “fracking.” It turns out that no one–the oil and gas industry, surface landowners or environmentalists–is particularly happy with the new law. And …

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New Chemical Regulations Go Live in California

Making Prevention Real?

Today, after years of discussions and drafts, California’s new Safer Consumer Product regulations take effect.  They create a comprehensive chemicals regulatory scheme having three steps: identification and prioritization of consumer products containing chemicals of greatest concern (“product-chemical combinations”); performance of “alternative analyses” by the manufacturers of those high priority product-chemical combinations; and selection of regulatory responses …

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Of Mollusks and Men: The Wilderness Act and Drakes Bay Oyster Company

The debate over Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s continued operation within the Point Reyes National Seashore created two unlikely foes: environmentalists in favor of transitioning the land to wilderness, and supporters of local, organic food and a longstanding family business.  The San Francisco Chronicle aptly termed it a “legal and philosophical slugfest.” The door seems to …

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Chasing Ice, For Now

Last night I watched glaciers more than 30,000 years old break open and crash into the ocean – disappearing in mere seconds.  In photographer James Balog’s new documentary, Chasing Ice, he and a small team embark upon a multi-year “Extreme Ice Survey” to document 18 glaciers in remote regions of the world, including Iceland, Greenland and Alaska.  …

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