States

Two FERC Cases and Why They Matter

Last week’s D.C. Circuit cases illustrate why environmental lawyers need to understand FERC.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been called the most important environmental agency that no one has heard of. At the end of last week, the D.C. Circuit decided two undramatic FERC cases that illustrate FERC’s environmental significance. One involved a bailout to coal and nuclear plants, the other involved water quality. The first …

CONTINUE READING

Advancing renewables through electricity restructuring

Reducing barriers to siting new electricity generation can help advance renewable energy production

Our electricity system will be crucial to decarbonization efforts, both because much of our current energy comes from electricity, and because decarbonizing sectors like transportation will require significant electrification.  And electricity is the sector where we have had the most success in decarbonization so far in the United States. But there is still more to …

CONTINUE READING

Subnational Climate Action in the UK

As in the U.S., it’s not all about the national government. Not by any means.

Last week, I posted about the British government’s climate policy. In sharp contrast with their American counterparts, British conservatives remain firmly behind the Paris Agreement and supportive of cap-and-trade. In another respect, though, there’s more similarity: in both countries, subnational governments play a key role in climate policy. Here’s what’s happening across Great Britain. Regional …

CONTINUE READING

My Kind of Town

Climate change is coming to Chicago and Lake Michigan.

“My kind of town, Chicago is my kind of town.” Or so Frank Sinatra sang. I’m not sure he really felt that way himself, but the song rings a chord with me.  I didn’t grow up in Chicago but we visited frequently to see my parents’ families. Chicago is also, as it turns out, ground …

CONTINUE READING

Badly Drafted and Constitutionally Suspect

New laws blacklist “discrimination” against fossil fuel companies in states that normally could care less about discrimination of any kind.

Texas and a number of other states have passed laws banning what they call “boycotts of fossil fuel companies.” More precisely, they ban state investment or contracting with firms that “boycott” fossil fuel companies.  Besides being fundamentally misguided and difficult to implement, these blacklist laws are poorly  drafted and quite likely unconstitutional. The “fundamentally misguided” …

CONTINUE READING

Risky Business

Climate Change and the Insurance Sector

Founded in 1871, the National Association of Insurance Commission represents insurance regulators in all fifty states. It’s not a particularly woke group – the current president is the Director of the Idaho Department of Insurance. However, the group has just issued a new “voluntary” survey for insurance companies about climate risks. “Voluntary” is in quotes …

CONTINUE READING

Emissions by the Big Utilities: Where They Are, What They’re Aiming For

Almost all the top ten utilities are big emitters today but looking to cut back.

There’s a lot of discussion of how the private sector is supporting renewable energy, but it’s almost all about power consumers like Apple and Walmart. But what about the companies who are selling the power? As a first step to getting a better sense of where the utility industry is going, we accumulated some basic …

CONTINUE READING

Washington State Steps Up

A new law is the latest sign that the future is electrical, not oil.

On the weekend weekend, Governor Jay Inslee signed a major transportation bill. The most dramatic feature of the bill is that it will mostly ban new gas cars in Washington as of 2030. That puts Washington ahead of California, Massachusetts and New York, as well as Canada and Japan. Washington’s deadline is tied with Israel, …

CONTINUE READING

Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force Kicks Off Annual Meeting in Heart of the Amazon Basin

The Amazon and Rio Negro rivers meet in Manaus, Brazil

12th Annual Meeting of GCF Task Force hosted by Governor of Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil, March 15-18, 2022

This week, on the banks of the largest river system in the world, Governors, environment secretaries and civil servants, Indigenous peoples and local community leaders, national governments, the private sector, and partner organizations will be meeting to discuss innovative partnerships and solutions to the threat of tropical deforestation at the 12th Annual Meeting of the …

CONTINUE READING

The 2022 Elections and State Environmental Policies

Governors are pivotal players in state regulatory policies

The formal powers of state governors vary from state to state. Like Presidents, however, they have been busy the past few decades centralizing control of their bureaucracies. That makes them key players in the environment and energy domain.  This year, some key governors’ mansions are up for grabs. Here’s a summary of the current state …

CONTINUE READING

TRENDING