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Showing 2,786 results

Federico Holm | February 22, 2024

Fine Particle Pollution: Unevenly Distributed, Driven by Heavy Traffic, and Supercharged by E-commerce

On February 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized new and stronger air quality standards for fine particle pollution (commonly known as soot), a harmful pollutant and byproduct of burning coal, manufacturing, oil refining, and motor vehicles. Soot is one of the nation’s most dangerous air pollutants, and one of the most widespread, though it disproportionately impacts the health of structurally marginalized communities. Multiple reports have found that people living within half a mile of warehouses have higher rates of asthma and heart attacks than residents in the area overall, increased risk of cancer, and nervous system effects.

Cathy A. Buckley, Sophie Loeb | February 15, 2024

North Carolina Utilities Commission Should Ensure Public Participation on Proposed New Methane Gas Plants

As North Carolinians continue to grapple with rolling blackouts and rising energy bills, yet another pending environmental catastrophe is developing in our backyards. Duke Energy, our state’s monopoly utility provider, has submitted filings for two new methane gas power plants — one at the current Roxboro coal plant in Person County and another at the Marshall plant on Lake Norman.

air pollution

Daniel Farber | February 13, 2024

The New Particulate Standard and the Courts

EPA has just issued a rule tightening the air quality standard for PM2.5 — the tiny particles most dangerous to health — from an annual average of 12 micrograms per cubic meter down to 9 micrograms per cubic meter. EPA estimates that, by the time the rule goes into effect in 2032, it will avoid 4,500 premature deaths, 800,000 asthma attacks, and 290,000 lost workdays. Most likely, by the time this post goes up, someone will have filed a lawsuit to overturn the EPA rule. What legal arguments will challengers raise, and what are their chances of winning? Let’s consider the possible challenges one by one.

Daniel Farber | February 8, 2024

The Long Life and Sudden Demise of Federal Wetlands Protection

In 2023, the Supreme Court ended 50 years of broad federal protection of wetlands in Sackett v. United States. It is only when you look back at the history of federal wetlands regulation that you realize just how radical and destructive this decision was.

Daniel Farber | February 2, 2024

Interstate Pollution and the Supreme Court’s ‘Shadow Docket’

Later this month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument about whether to stay a plan issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit upwind states from creating ozone pollution that impacts other states. As I wrote before the Court decided to hear the arguments, the issues here seem less than earthshaking, and for that matter, less than urgent. It was puzzling to me why after many weeks, the Court was still sitting on the “emergency” requests of the upwind states to be rescued from the EPA plan. Given that the Court seems to think the issues are important enough to justify oral argument, however, it’s worth examining what seems to be bothering the Court about implementing the EPA plan.

Richard Pierce, Jr. | February 1, 2024

Should Environmental Justice Concerns Stop at the Border?

I find the Center for Progressive Reform’s pursuit of environmental justice inherently appealing, but this work raises provocative questions: Should U.S.-focused groups like the Center and policymakers pursue an environmental justice mission that does not account for potentially negative trade-offs in developing countries? Or, are there ways to account for those trade-offs to ensure environmental justice work and efforts to address climate change benefit people across the globe?

James Goodwin, Will Dobbs-Allsopp | January 31, 2024

New Report: A Forgotten EPA Obligation Would Help Address Racial Health Disparities, Strengthen the Economy, and Tackle the Climate Crisis

What if we told you that every day, tens of millions of Americans are exposed to something that contributes to neurological disease, depression, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke? What if we also told you that in causing these health harms, it was disproportionately affecting low-wealth communities and communities of color? What is this dangerous “something”? It’s excessive noise. And, as it happens, more than 50 years ago, Congress recognized the seriousness of the harms that excessive noise causes and, as a result, passed a law directing the EPA to take aggressive action against it.

Robin Kundis Craig | January 11, 2024

A Supreme Court Ruling on Fishing for Herring could Sharply Curb Federal Regulatory Power

Fisheries regulation might seem to be unusual grounds for the U.S. Supreme Court to shift power away from federal agencies. But that is what the court seems poised to do in the combined cases of Loper Bright Enterprises vs. Raimondo and Relentless Inc. vs. Department of Commerce.

Daniel Farber | January 10, 2024

The Bumper Crop of New State Climate Policies Since July — Part II

State climate policy is a big deal. State governments began cutting emissions at a time when the federal government was essentially doing nothing about climate change. Since then, more states have become involved. Part II of this post covers state climate action from New Jersey to Washington State during the second half of 2023, as well as multi-state efforts.