Showing 248 results
Daniel Farber | March 16, 2023
EPA proposed new regulations last week to reduce the water pollution impacts of coal-fired power plants. As EPA regulations go, these count as fairly minor. They got a bit of news coverage in coal country and industry publications. But they will eliminate the discharge of thousands of tons of pollutants, including a lot of metals that pose health problems. The rulemaking illustrates the highly technical nature of regulations and the lawless nature of Trump’s EPA. It also gives some clues about where the Biden administration may be headed in the way it approaches regulatory decisions.
Daniel Farber | March 2, 2023
The headline news is that Minnesota has adopted a 2040 deadline for a carbon-free grid. The headline is accurate, but the law in question contains a lot of other interesting features that deserve attention.
Daniel Farber | March 1, 2023
Last December, the Biden administration issued a rule defining the scope of the federal government’s authority over streams and wetlands. Congressional Republicans vowed to overturn the rule, using a procedure created by the Congressional Review Act. If Congress is going to repeal something, it should be the Congressional Review Act rather than the Biden rule.
Daniel Farber | February 7, 2023
In their crusade against “wokeness,” congressional Republicans are taking aim at a Labor Department rule about pension plan investments. The rule’s transgression is apparently that it makes it easier for pension plans to consider how climate-related risks might affect a company’s bottom line. To avoid being woke, the GOP would apparently prefer pension managers to close their eyes to financial realities, sleepwalking their way through the climate crisis. The real fear, of course, is that more wide-awake investment might disfavor some of the GOP’s biggest corporate supporters.
Daniel Farber | January 10, 2023
There are U.S. Supreme Court cases going back a century or more dealing with what we would now consider environmental issues, such as preserving nature or air pollution. But when did the Court start seeing filthy rivers and smoky cities as embodiments of the same problem, despite their striking physical differences? And when did it start thinking of “wilderness” as a good thing rather than a failure to use available resources?
Daniel Farber | January 5, 2023
Last year, Congress took its first big step into climate policy by passing blockbuster spending measures. Nonetheless, many states are ahead of the feds in climate policy. There were important developments in a multitude of states.
Daniel Farber | January 3, 2023
Here we are, starting another year. Last year turned out to have some major environmental developments. The most notable were the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the West Virginia v. EPA case, striking down the Clean Power Plan, and the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, with its huge economic incentives for clean energy. Here’s a quick rundown of what 2023 might hold in store.
Daniel Farber | November 3, 2022
Well over a century ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it had power to remedy interstate water pollution. That was in 1901. Six years later, the Court decided its first air pollution case. Notably, these cases came during the conservative Lochner era when the Court was hardly known for its liberalism. Quite the contrary. Yet the Court didn't hesitate to address pollution issues.
Daniel Farber | September 22, 2022
Since 1981, cost-benefit analysis has been at the core of the rulemaking process. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the so-called “regulatory czar” in the White House, must approve every significant regulation based on a review of its cost-benefit analysis. But cost-benefit analysis has had a major blind spot. It embodies techniques for analyzing possible harmful outcomes when the probability of those outcomes can be quantified with reasonable confidence. When those probabilities cannot be quantified (“deep uncertainty”), the analytic path is more difficult. This issue is especially important in the context of climate change, given the potential for tipping points to produce disastrous outcomes.