States

Climate Policy: What’s Happening at the State Level?

Important developments in late summer, some impacting multiple states.

States have played a critical role in U.S. climate policy. The federal government is now supporting that role with federal funding for states. In the meantime, a number of states have moved a step further in plans to phase out gas and diesel vehicles. Two key states have ramped up their plans for carbon neutrality, …

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Does the New Climate Law Expand Regulatory Authority?

It’s not the game changer some people think, but IRA could help in several ways.

There’s been a lot of recent talk about whether the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) indirectly overrides West Virginia v. EPA.  The answer to that is probably “no.”  However, some IRA provisions will help lawyers  defend certain regulatory actions. IRA may also have an important framing effect when courts are considering the reasonableness of agency actions. …

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Climate Adaptation Moves Toward Center Stage

There’s an increasing bipartisan move to fund climate resilience.

The big news today is the deal with Manchin to  provide billions of dollars of funding for clean energy. Manchin’s vote will be needed because no Republican Senator will vote for the bill.  In contrast, funding for climate resilience has drawing power even for Republicans. It seems to be true that, in Bob Dylan’s words …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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” …

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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 …

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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 …

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