States

California Climate Policy: A Preliminary Report Card

It’s a bit complicated, but California definitely has made substantial progress.

We all know that California’s climate policies have led the nation. But how well have these policies actually worked?  That’s not as easy to answer as you might think.  You have to do some digging to come up with the numbers, and their meaning isn’t always completely clear.  If you compare California with the country …

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Reading the Tea Leaves: Biden’s and California’s Vehicle Regs at the D.C. Circuit

A leading environmental lawyer gives his perspective.

Transportation is now the source of 28% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, more than the electric power sector. The transportation sector is also a substantial source of nitrogen oxides and particulates, both of which are dangerous to human health.  The Biden Administration has taken important regulatory actions bearing on these problems, with others in the …

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IRA Implementation: The State of Play

It’s not easy to get a handle on IRA implementation, but some agencies are off to a good start.

The Inflation Reduction Act is Biden’s signature climate program.  You’d think it would be easy to get an analysis of the government’s funding efforts in its first year.  It’s not. This seems like an unforced error to me. In political terms, this seems like a lost opportunity to showcase the government’s achievements; it’s also a …

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CLEE-Proposed Climate Risk Disclosure Legislation Passes CA Legislature

SB 261 results from CLEE report recommendation

The California Legislature passed two path-breaking climate risk disclosure bills this week. Both bills now go to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk where he has until October 14th to sign them. Senate Bill 261 (Stern) requires major corporations to disclose climate change related financial risks, using a framework consistent with that of the Task Force on Climate …

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Vehicle Regulations on Trial

Three big cases in the D.C. Circuit will determine the fate of Biden’s vehicle regulations.

This week, the D.C. Circuit hears three cases challenging  use of federal regulations to push adoption of electric vehicles and to allow California to forge path toward zero-emission cars. If all three cases go badly, the regulatory system would be disabled from playing a role in this area. This would be a huge setback, though …

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A Montana Victory for the Youth Climate Movement

Held v. Montana shows climate science can win in a courtroom. But one decision is just the beginning of a long legal fight.

A state court judge in the ‘Last Best Place’ just gave the youth climate movement a shot in the arm with the first decision of its kind that directly connects specific state actions to global climate change and then to injuries suffered by young people. It’s a decision worth reading, as U.S. courts have not …

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Montana “Youth Citizens” Win Landmark Climate Change Trial

Court rules Montana’s state constitutional guarantee of a clean & healthful environment for Montanans prevails over state officials’ fossil fuel-centric policies

A Montana state district court has issued its long-awaited decision in a major climate change case brought by Montana children against state officials.  In Held v. State of Montana, a Montana trial court ruled that the state Constitution’s guarantee of a healthy and clean environment prevails over Montana’s longstanding fossil-fuel-based state energy policies.  The “youth citizen” …

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What Next for the Climate Tort Cases?

Cases against the oil companies are back to state court. It’s time to map out the next steps.

With the Supreme Court’s refusal to take up the issue, the lawsuits against the oil industry are heading back to state court. That’s where the plaintiffs wanted those cases from the beginning, but it’s by no means the last of the issues they will confront.  The oil companies will fight a scorched earth campaign, spending …

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State Government Standing and Environmental Law

The Supreme Court seems to be cooling to the idea of empowering state AGs.

Massachusetts v. EPA, the cornerstone climate case, contains an extensive discussion of standing which opens by saying that lawsuits by state governments are entitled to “special solicitude.”  In the last few weeks of its term, the Supreme Court opined repeatedly on state standing. “Special solicitude” seems to be on the wane. Overall, I that might …

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After Sackett: A Multi-Prong Strategy

The Supreme Court’s wetlands opinion was terrible. Now what we do?

The Supreme Court’s opinion in the Sackett case dramatically curtails the permitting program covering wetlands.  We urgently need to find strategies for saving the wetlands the Court left unprotected.  We have a number of possible strategies and need to start work on implementing them immediately. Sackett was unquestionably a major blow, reducing federal jurisdiction over …

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