Transportation

Top 10 Biggest Environmental Wins In California’s History

Ranking the victories that saved priceless landscapes and environmental features

California is generally known as an environmental leader, but the state has also faced tremendous environmental degradation and destruction. I chronicled my “top 10” worst environmental decisions in the state’s history last year. But what about the good things state policy makers have done? Here is my list of the most significant environmental wins in …

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Full Speed Ahead? Biden Administration Set to Release New CAFE Standards

405 Freeway at Palms Blvd. in Los Angeles

As E&E News reported today, the Biden administration is expected to announce tomorrow new fuel economy and tailpipe emissions standards for light-duty vehicles model years (MY) 2023 through 2026. The move is long-awaited; one of the Biden administration’s first actions was to direct EPA and NHTSA by executive order to revise the Trump era version …

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Speaking Truth to Corporate Power

Decades ago, industry scientists fought to get their bosses to pay attention to climate change.

Decades ago, their own scientists told car companies and oil companies about climate change, information the companies chose to ignore.  The scientists were voices crying out in the corporate wilderness.  Sadly, they were ignored at the time, but companies are starting to pay the price for that in lawsuits. Those scientists advocated for the truth, …

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Oregon Takes a Big Step Forward

New climate legislation sets a high bar for other states.

On Wednesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a package of four clean energy bills. These bills move Oregon to the forefront of climate action.  These laws ban new fossil fuel plants and set aggressive targets for the state’s two major utilities, requiring emission cuts of 80% by 2030, 90% by 2035 and 100% by 2040.  …

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Climate News from Capitol Hill

There are small but hopeful signs of progress in overcoming legislative gridlock.

Over a decade ago, the Waxman-Markey carbon trading bill died in the Senate. President Obama then had to rely entirely on administrative actions to address climate change. Republicans united in a solid wall of violent opposition to climate action.  There are some hopeful signs that things may not be quite so tough for President Biden. …

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Washington State Ups Its Climate Game

After much travail, the state has finally put a price on carbon.

The Washington state legislature passed a historic climate change bill on April 24.  The bill requires a 95% cut in carbon emissions by 2050. After much travail, the state has finally managed to put a price on carbon by adopting a cap-and-trade system. With the decision of additional states to join the east coast RGGI …

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Biden’s Infrastructure Plan: FAQs

Yes, it’s a big deal. And yes, it’s politically dicey.

Biden has announced a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, with a heavy focus on climate-related investments.  The plan is very complicated, and the news coverage hasn’t been all that helpful.  Here are the key questions we should be asking about the plan, along with my best attempts to answer. Q: What’s in the plan? A: It’s …

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Hydrogen — Fuel of the Future?

Using this tiny molecule for energy may be key to decarbonization.

As it has more than once in the past, hydrogen has become a hot topic in climate policy circles.  Although widespread use of hydrogen is probably a decade away, there’s a lot of excitement about the prospect. The fundamental appeal of hydrogen as an energy source is that it produces water rather than carbon dioxide …

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Legal Planeteer Ann Carlson Joins Biden Administration

UCLA Environmental Law Professor Named NHTSA General Counsel

President Joe Biden has appointed UCLA environmental law professor–and frequent Legal Planet contributor–Ann Carlson to serve as General Counsel of the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  NHTSA, part of the U.S. Department of Administration (USDOT), plays a key regulatory role in charting federal transportation policy. Professor Carlson has anchored UCLA School of Law’s …

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The Year Ahead

Nine key developments to watch for on the environmental front.

2020 was a tumultuous year. Hopefully, 2021 will be balmier.  Widespread use of vaccines will hopefully tame the COVID-19 pandemic, and maybe the political world will settle down a bit too.  Here are nine key things to watch for in terms of environmental policy. The Georgia runoff elections. Currently, the Republicans look likely to control …

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