Skip to main content

On environmental policy, 2016 is the year of living dangerously

Dan Farber, professor of law | January 12, 2016

We are at the start of a year of danger for environmental policy. 2015 saw many accomplishments in environmental law: the Administration issued the “waters of the United States” and Clean Power Plan regulations, a Supreme Court ruling in favor of EPA’s cross-state air pollution rule, and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Much of this progress is … Continue reading »

Europe is banning bee-harmful pesticides; the US should take a lead.

Claire Kremen, professor, environmental sciences; co-director, Berkeley Food Institute | December 1, 2013

Like the European Union – which today (Dec. 1) boldly begins a two-year ban on selected pesticides thought to be harmful to honeybees and other pollinators – the United States should help protect pollinators by banning these pesticides. But the United States should do far more, and become a world leader in championing sustainable alternatives … Continue reading »

The filibuster and the environment

Dan Farber, professor of law | November 25, 2013

In the short run, limiting the filibuster will strengthen the hands of environmental regulators. What about the long run effects? The filibuster arguably served a useful function when it allowed the minority to block action in extraordinary cases where its views were especially intense.  It became no longer tolerable when it became a routine barrier … Continue reading »

The debt ceiling and the environment

Dan Farber, professor of law | October 8, 2013

It slipped under the radar screen due to all the furor over the impending government shutdown, but the NY Times ran an important article two weeks ago about the debt ceiling.  The Republican plan is apparently to condition their agreement to raise the debt ceiling and save the country from default on a massive regulatory rollback. This … Continue reading »

Gina McCarthy to be nominated as EPA head

Holly Doremus, professor of law | March 4, 2013

As predicted by Cara Horowitz recently, it’s being widely reported (for example here) this morning (March 4) that Gina McCarthy, currently EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, is Obama’s pick to succeed Lisa Jackson as EPA Administrator. Cara sees this appointment as a good thing for EPA’s climate policy efforts and … Continue reading »

The GOP platform and the environment

Dan Farber, professor of law | August 30, 2012

With some effort, I was able to find full text of the platform. Not surprisingly, the basic thrust is to relax limits on industry. The energy provisions correspond to Romney’s recent proclamations — more drilling in more places, less regulation of coal, etc. On the environment, the basic message is that current regulations are too … Continue reading »

Romney, Ryan, and the Devil’s budget: Will America keep its soul?

George Lakoff, professor of linguistics | August 23, 2012

Coauthored with Glenn Smith America was born with a great soul, a moral view of Democracy in which citizens care about their fellow citizens and join together to take responsibility not just for themselves but for each other, for America as a union, a joint enterprise. The government’s job was to carry out that moral … Continue reading »

EPA unveils carbon standard for new power plants

Jayni Foley Hein, former director, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment | March 27, 2012

On March 27 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its anticipated rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants.   The proposed Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act purports to set national limits on the amount of carbon pollution new power plants can emit. Today we’re … Continue reading »

Gingrich and the environment

Dan Farber, professor of law | November 21, 2011

Given Newt Gingrich’s current spurt in the polls, it’s worth taking a bit of a closer look at his environmental views.  He favors dismantling EPA, which should make him popular with the tea party.  But apparently he has problems in that quarter: The reaction from some conservative commentators was swift and harsh. “Intellectually incoherent,” said … Continue reading »

No (or at least little) net loss of jobs from regulation

Holly Doremus, professor of law | November 15, 2011

We keep hearing the phrase “job-killing regulations” from the Republican side of the aisle, with environmental regulations generally at the top of their lists. Yet there has never been much evidence for the claim that government regulation is systematically bad for employment or the economy. To the contrary, scholars, this blog, think tanks (notably the … Continue reading »

Accounting for the harm of coal

Dan Farber, professor of law | September 30, 2011

Much of the effort to rollback current EPA regulations focuses on coal-fired electrical power plants.  An article in the August issues of the American Economic Review sheds light on the issues at stake.  “Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy” is an effort to assess the damages caused by various polluting activities. The … Continue reading »

The ozone rule: What Sunstein didn’t say

Dan Farber, professor of law | September 19, 2011

On September 2, Cass Sunstein, administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs,” wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson about the ozone rule, “requesting” that EPA withdraw the regulation.  Beyond the fact that it was written at all, the letter is remarkable for its significant silences: Although the letter notes … Continue reading »

What’s a life worth?

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | September 14, 2011

We commonly say that lives are invaluable, that saving a life, any life, is worth any effort, any expense. But we do not mean it. This note is prompted by a recent article on the consequences of raising the speed limits on American highways. The authors estimated that in the decade after 1995, states’ decisions … Continue reading »

EPA vetoes mountaintop removal mining permit

Holly Doremus, professor of law | January 13, 2011

If EPA is afraid of the new Congress, you wouldn’t know it from the news today (Jan. 13). Assistant Administrator Peter Silva issued the Obama administration’s first veto of a Clean Water Act section 404 permit. This veto, which has been working its way through the cumbersome process for more than a year (see here, here, … Continue reading »