Regulatory Policy

Obama’s Clean Air Act 111d Rules Are Legally Required, Not an End Run Around Congress

Massachusetts v. EPA triggered the President’s Action

On Monday, President Obama is expected to release proposed regulations to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants.  Leaks to date suggest that the rules, which will cover 40 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, will be ambitious and far-reaching, requiring cuts of approximately 20 percent from the electricity sector. We can already anticipate …

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Guest Blogger Kate Konschnik: EPA’s 111(d) Authority – Follow Homer and Avoid the Sirens

Kate Konschnik is the Director of Harvard Law School’s Environmental Policy Initiative. The views expressed in this blog post are her own. Thirty years ago, Chevron v. NRDC set the standard for judicial deference to an agency’s statutory interpretation. In that case, the Supreme Court upheld EPA’s interpretation of Clean Air Act language. This month, …

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The Los Angeles River and GOP Ideology: Everybody Wins!

A few years ago, I heard Bruce Babbitt here at UCLA describe the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as “just a terrible agency.” Then he repeated it, just to make sure that we all heard him. When a politician does something like that, you know that he’s reached the end of his rope. The Los …

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Reassuringly Stupid

The House GOP’ is trying to stop the Pentagon from thinking about climate change. Here’s why it won’t work.

The military considers climate change to be a threat to national security.  Naturally, that’s news that the House Republicans would like to suppress.  Last week, they tried to do something about it with an appropriations rider. Luckily, the amendment is so poorly drafted that it would accomplish almost nothing. Here’s the language of the amendment: None …

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Insurance for Climate Disasters

Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Schiller has a New York Times op-ed about the need for insurance against risks of climate change.  Speaking of the latest U.S. climate assessment, he writes: After discussing how to mitigate the coming dangers, the report says, “Commercially available mechanisms such as insurance can also play a role in providing protection against …

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Thom Tillis, the GOP Establishment, and the Environment

Tillis is not a Tea Party extremist on regulatory issues, but he’s also been no friend of environmental protection .

Thom Tillis’s victory in the North Carolina primary for U.S. Senate was widely seen as a victory for the Republican Establishment over the Tea Party.  What does this mean on environmental issues? In other word, where do “Establishment Republicans” stand on the environment? In Tillis’s case, lowering regulatory costs seems to be the highest priority. …

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Emissions Trading and the Supreme Court

Advocates of cap-and-trade should find support from the Supreme Court’s opinion in the cross-state pollution case.

In a number of areas, including climate change regulations, a key question is EPA’s power to control compliance costs.  A particularly important method is the use of cap-and-trade systems.  For instance, there has been considerable discussion of whether EPA could authorize states to use cap-and-trade to control greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, as opposed …

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Turning Water Into Wine: An “Unreasonable Use” of Water in California?

Pending Litigation Likely to Affect Scope of California Constitution’s Ban on Waste & Unreasonable Use of Water

Today a California appellate court in San Francisco heard arguments in a case that is likely to affect how broadly–or narrowly–California’s State Water Resources Control Board can apply the state’s most powerful water law. The case, Light v. California State Water Resources Control Board, involves a challenge by wine grape growers in the Russian River watershed …

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Quantifying Environmental Justice (& Injustice) in California–An Update

California Improves an Already-Powerful Environmental Justice Analytical Tool

A year ago, I wrote about an important environmental justice initiative pioneered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and its subsidiary entity, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. That 2013 initiative, titled CalEnviroScreen, divided up the State of California by zip code, applied 11 environmental health and pollution factors, assessed each of the state’s …

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Breaking News: Supreme Court’s Decision Upholding Cross-State Air Rule Is Good Sign for Greenhouse Gas Rules

Huge victory for EPA in regulating air pollution that crosses state lines

The Supreme Court’s 6-2 decision issued this morning in EPA v. EME Homer, upholding the agency’s rule to control air pollution that crosses state boundaries, gives plenty of reason for optimism that the Court will also uphold EPA’s greenhouse gas rules at issue in a different case, Utility Air Regulator Group v. EPA.   Both cases …

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