What the effort to pack the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board can teach us.
Many people distrust environmental science, though for different reasons. Progressives may discount science that they see as supporting business interests. Meanwhile, conservatives may think scientists come to “politically correct” conclusions in order to get grants. It’s reasonable to think that these things may sometimes happen. But how strong are these effects? Unwittingly, the Trump Administration …CONTINUE READING
The Trump administration moves ahead with plans to roll back Obama-era fuel economy standards.
After months of delay, the Trump administration has reportedly chosen this coming week—in the middle of a nationwide crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic—to finally release the second part of its two-part rollback of Obama-era automotive fuel economy standards. This isn’t the only environmental rollback action the administration is planning to take during the coming …CONTINUE READING
The Environmental Pollution Agency Prioritizes Environmental Rollbacks While Dropping Environmental Enforcement
New Policy Allows Companies to Use Covid-19 As an Excuse to Pollute
The covid-19 epidemic is providing the Environmental Protection Agency with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate its priorities: full speed ahead with environmental roll backs, including greenhouse gas/fuel economy standards for cars, cutting back on the regulation of mercury from power plants, loosening regulations on coal ash from coal plants and more. Employees at EPA have …CONTINUE READING
EPA May Roll Back Car Standards Next Week
The New York Times is reporting that, despite the corona crisis and the shelter in place orders affecting people around the country, Andrew Wheeler is pressuring his EPA staff to release a finalized rule rolling back greenhouse gas emissions/fuel economy standards for cars. These EPA staff are for the most part working from home with …CONTINUE READING
For statutory, practical, and constitutional reasons, states are on the front line.
The states have been out in front in dealing with the coronavirus. Apart from Trump’s tardy response to the crisis, there are reasons for this, involving limits on Trump’s authority, practicalities, and constitutional rulings. Statutory limits. As I discussed in a previous post, the President’s power to deal with an epidemic is mostly derived from …CONTINUE READING
Federal Government’s Constitutional Challenge to California’s Linked GHG Reduction Plan Fails
Since President Trump took office in early 2017, the State of California has filed over 70 different lawsuits challenging the Trump Administration’s policy initiatives on multiple fronts, including the environment, immigration policy and health care. Over 40 of California’s lawsuits have targeted the Administration’s efforts to roll back longstanding federal environmental protection, natural resource management …CONTINUE READING
There’s a lot we don’t know at this point. How should we deal with that?
Knowledge about the coronavirus is limited but growing. In the meantime, how should we cope with this uncertainty? I can’t give you psychological advice, but I can say something about how to think about this uncertainty. How to make decisions under uncertainty is something we know a lot about from the environmental sphere. Uncertainty is …CONTINUE READING
Cuomo has asked for major disaster relief. But there’s a serious legal hurdle to that.
Yesterday, I wrote about presidential powers in a pandemic. I mentioned the possibility of declaring the pandemic a major disaster under the Stafford Act. Today, we learned that Gov. Cuomo of New York has made such a request. [Note: two days after this was written, FEMA granted the request.] What does the law have to …CONTINUE READING
This Administration specializes in arguments for ignoring the evidence.
The Trump Administration’s major deregulatory efforts share a common theme. They assiduously avoid having to rely on scientific or economic evidence. Confronting that evidence is time-consuming and difficult, particularly when it often comes out the other way. Instead, the Administration has come up with clever strategies to shut out the evidence. The effort to repeal …CONTINUE READING
The President does have considerable power, but there are serious limitations.
Now that Trump has belatedly declared a national emergency, what powers does he have to respond to the coronavirus pandemic? There has been a lot of talk about this on the Internet, some of it off-base. it’s important to get the law straight. For instance, there’s been talk about whether Trump should impose a national …CONTINUE READING