Held v. Montana is the first of many climate lawsuits by youth plaintiffs to go to trial. Big Sky Country is a fitting forum for this phase of climate change litigation.
Young people who have the most to lose from climate change have filed lawsuits in all 50 states, but the first of these cases to go to trial will be in Montana—unofficially nicknamed “the Last Best Place”—which may be the perfect venue for a landmark trial about government culpability for the global climate crisis. Starting …CONTINUE READING
Unless amended or carefully implemented, there’s a risk the law could hurt the communities it’s meant to serve.
New York has enacted what may be the country’s most stringent environmental justice law. The state deserves credit for its commitment to remedying the unfair pollution burdens placed on disadvantaged communities. The law is so broadly worded, however, that it may have the potential to prevent economic development that would aid those communities, or even …CONTINUE READING
A new Supreme Court opinion is good news for state climate regulators.
Although the Constitution does not say so directly, the Supreme Court has said there are implied limits on state regulations that interfere with interstate commerce.. This is known as the dormant commerce clause doctrine. State clean energy laws have been bedeviled by challenges based on this doctrine. The Supreme Court has just made it easier …CONTINUE READING
Yes, the new NY law includes some bans on natural gas. That’s far from all it does.
Last week, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed major climate legislation. Press coverage focused on one small piece of the legislation: a partial ban on natural gas use in new buildings. That’s controversial and easily grasped by the public. But a much bigger part of the new law went almost unnoticed: the legislature’s endorsement of …CONTINUE READING
Justices Decline to Intervene in Government Lawsuits Seeking Damages from Fossil Fuel Industry
This week the U.S. Supreme Court gave state and local governments a big–if preliminary–legal win against the fossil fuel industry. The justices declined to take up numerous cases in which government entities have sued oil, gas and coal companies, seeking compensation for the climate change-related damage the jurisdictions they claim to have suffered, and which …CONTINUE READING
There’s a lot of law relating to climate change. A lot!
In preparing to teach a course on climate law, I was really struck by how broad and rich the field has become. Back in the day, it was nearly all international law, but nowadays there’s a huge amount of U.S. domestic law. Most people, even those who work on the field, tend to focus on …CONTINUE READING
Texas is firmly in the grip of conservative Republicans. So what’s the deal with renewables?
I sometimes ask students to guess what state produces the most wind power. They’re always shocked to find out the right answer: Texas. Republicans have an iron grip on Texas government. And not just that, but Texas is by far the biggest producer of oil, with a governor who has pledged to protect the industry …CONTINUE READING
In a very narrowly argued brief, the Administration calls for returning the cases to state court.
The Biden Administration, at the Supreme Court’s invitation, has now filed a brief giving its views about current lawsuits against oil companies. The gist of the brief is that the cases belong in state court., and that the Court should let that happen rather than stepping into the litigation. The brief is right about that, …CONTINUE READING
Prices are high and markets are proliferating as program designers lean away from the more controversial elements of carbon trading.
This past year has been big for cap-and-trade-style systems, and that momentum looks like it’s continuing in 2023. Recently, we’ve seen new programs start up in Oregon and Washington, a proposal in New York State for new carbon markets, and sustained high prices in existing programs in California and the Northeast. Although these programs differ …CONTINUE READING
California’s energy agencies hold joint hearing with Tribal governments.
On Thursday, March 2, 2023, California’s principal energy agencies – the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) – held a first-of-its-kind, joint en banc hearing at Cal Poly Humboldt with Tribal government leaders and all 10 commissioners of the CEC and CPUC. In a world where on-the-ground collaboration between governments …CONTINUE READING