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Showing 186 results

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 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.

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.

Daniel Farber | January 10, 2024

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

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, and state policies have become more aggressive. It’s not for nothing that 2023 was called a banner year for state climate action. The state developments in just the second half of the year make up an impressive list. Part I of this post covers state climate action from California to Michigan.

Daniel Farber | December 11, 2023

The Mystery of the Missing Stay Order

The steel industry applied for U.S. Supreme Court intervention on what they claimed was an urgent issue of vast national importance. Chief Justice Roberts requested an immediate government response. That was six weeks ago. Since then ... crickets. No doubt you’re on the edge of your seat, wondering about the impending crisis facing the industry and the earthshaking legal issue in the case. And maybe also wondering why this is the first you’ve heard about it.

Hannah Wiseman | November 16, 2023

Invoicing Carbon Under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

A recent Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania decision has thrown Pennsylvania’s actions on climate change into further disarray. In 2021, through regulatory action by its Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania became a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a collection of Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states that have agreed to cap emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from electric power plants with 25 megawatts or more of generating capacity. The cap includes an overall regional limit and a cap for each state. Power plants must purchase allowances or offset their emissions (or pursue other options noted below) to collectively meet the state cap. But lawsuits have challenged Pennsylvania’s entry into RGGI, and on November 1, a memorandum opinion of the Commonwealth Court declared that Pennsylvania’s scheme for auctioning CO2 allowances under the state’s RGGI cap was an unconstitutional tax. The court voided the rulemaking.

Uma Outka | November 13, 2023

Federal-State Conflicts Over Environmental Justice — Parts I and II

In his first month in office, President Biden signed an executive order, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad,” recommitting the federal government to climate action and environmental justice. In April 2023, an additional executive order, “Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All,” reinforced the administration’s commitment to a “whole-of-government approach to environmental justice.” The renewed commitment to environmental justice is gratifying for all who care about these issues — and the challenge of accomplishing whole-of-government implementation is real. Among numerous complicating aspects of this shift, one key challenge is state resistance — even outright hostility — to federal environmental justice priorities.

Shelley Welton | November 8, 2023

Environmental Justice via Industrial Policy

This summer, we marked the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the United States’ most significant climate change law. Many advocates for environmental justice, myself included, were disappointed by several features of the Act, including the greenlighting of certain fossil fuel infrastructure projects. Nevertheless, the law unlocked unprecedented streams of investment into clean energy via tax credits and direct spending mechanisms.