Here’s a timeline of the victories and defeats since 1992.
Thirty years ago, the United States joined the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The decades since then have been a saga of victories and defeats for U.S. climate policy. Progress has been made under one President, only to be battered down by the next one. This to-and-fro is a sobering reminder of how …CONTINUE READING
Climate Change, Water Rights, Environmental Justice & Federalism Issues Highlighted the Ninth Circuit’s Prodigious Environmental Docket This Year
I’ve shared in previous posts my view that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is–after the U.S. Supreme Court–the most influential court in the nation when it comes to environmental and natural resources law. That’s true for two related reasons: first, the sprawling Ninth Circuit encompasses nine different states (including California) and …CONTINUE READING
A proposed rule limiting flaring and venting of natural gas is a win for everyone except greedy oil and gas operators.
Yesterday, the Interior Department posted a proposed rule to limit flaring and venting of natural gas on public lands. The rule will be good for everyone except the oil and gas operators who waste the gas, increasing methane and carbon emissions while giving the public nothing in return. The rule is clearly a step in …CONTINUE READING
Environmentalists do a lot worrying, seasoned by dashes of anger and despair. Here are some things to feel good about instead.
Environmentalists have a tendency to focus on the environmental harm we haven’t been able to prevent and the frustrations of making further progress. Once in a while, though, it’s good to look at the progress we’ve made. Take a few minutes this holiday weekend to be thankful for some of this year’s steps forward on …CONTINUE READING
Student analysis identifies disparities in judicial outcomes
(This post was authored by Grayson Peters, a JD candidate at Berkeley Law and CLEE research assistant.) Do federal judges appointed by former President Trump rule differently in environmental disputes than judges appointed by other presidents? An analysis by two Berkeley Law students finds that they do in a few key areas of judicial decision-making. …CONTINUE READING
Remember Trump’s appointees — Pruitt, Zinke, and the rest? Here’s where they went afterwards.
Trump’s environmental appointees were a motley crew, many lacking in relevant expertise; others with shaky ethical standards. While in office, they were daily sources of torment for environmentalists. Where are they now? For most, being in the cabinet has been a stepping stone to nowhere. Here’s the Trump crew and their last known whereabouts. David …CONTINUE READING
Would it be legal to declare a national emergency for climate change? Would it be useful? Here’s what you need to know.
Based on press reports, it now seems likely that Biden will soon declare climate change to be a national emergency. Would this be legal? Would it unlock important powers that could be used to fight climate change? My answers are: It would probably be legal, and it would unlock some significant powers. But an emergency …CONTINUE READING
The ruling in West Virginia v. EPA was about as good as we could expect given the makeup of the Court.
Today, the Supreme Court decided its most important environmental case since 2007. We didn’t dodge the bullet. It’s more than a flesh wound but it didn’t hit any vital organs . Chief Justice Roberts’s majority opinion leaves EPA other options to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. It also gives a fairly narrow reading …CONTINUE READING
The Supreme Court is almost certain to cut back on EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. What then?
In West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court is reviewing Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) itself no longer has any practical relevance, but there’s every reason to predict the Court will strike it down anyway. The ruling will also restrict EPA’s future options. The big question is what the Biden Administration …CONTINUE READING
Trump tried to keep climate change out of environmental impact statements. Biden was right to scotch that effort.
Yesterday, the White House undid an effort by the Trump Administration to undermine the use of environmental impact statements. The pre-Trump rules had been in effect since 1978. Restoring the 1978 version was the right thing to do. The Trump’s rules arbitrarily limited the scope of the environmental effects that EPA can consider. Their goal …CONTINUE READING