Showing 74 results
Hannah Wiseman | November 16, 2023
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
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.
John Knox | October 23, 2023
The quest for environmental justice is also a quest for environmental human rights. The fight is the same fight, and the lessons learned in one arena can help in the other.
David Driesen | May 30, 2023
In Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the federal government’s power to protect wetlands. The Court required “Congress to enact exceedingly clear language if it wishes to significantly alter the balance between federal and state power and the Power of government over private property.”
Marcha Chaudry | May 1, 2023
Earlier this year, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported that Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) scientists are working to reduce the daily flow of cancer-causing PCBs into the James River and keep the commonwealth's water clean and safe to drink.
Kimberly Shields | April 17, 2023
Chester, Pennsylvania, located in Delaware County just southwest of Philadelphia, was founded in 1681, making it the oldest city in the state. Situated directly on the Delaware River, Chester was a manufacturing and industrial community for much of its history, though that activity began to decline starting in the 1950s. That legacy and other factors make the city of 32,000 potentially prone to a catastrophic toxic flooding event, now and in the future as the effects of climate change continue to intensify.
Kimberly Shields | April 3, 2023
In a recent post, my colleague M. Isabelle Chaudry provided readers with an overview of some of the toxic chemical threats facing the Delaware River basin in the northeastern United States. In this post, I dig deeper into the modern history of flooding in a region that will be home to 9 million people by 2030 and how this poses a growing risk of toxic floodwaters for families and communities in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York.
Katlyn Schmitt | February 27, 2023
Everyone should have a fair chance to live the healthiest life possible, but that’s not always the case for many of our communities. That's particularly true of overburdened communities that bear the brunt of pollution and toxic chemical exposures. But help may be on the way in Maryland in the form of the Climate, Labor, and Environmental Equity Act of 2023, and I testified in strong support of the bill on February 23.
Marcha Chaudry | February 16, 2023
February started with news that's all too familiar in the United States: An incident involving highly toxic industrial chemicals sparked a large fire, threatening an explosion, forcing evacuations, and putting workers and community members directly in harm's way. In this case, the danger came from a derailed train in Ohio that was hauling cancer-causing vinyl chloride, used to make certain types of plastic; toxic phosgene, an industrial chemical that was also used as a chemical weapon in World War I; and other substances. But extreme, acute threats like the Ohio derailment aren't the only toxic chemical dangers facing workers and surrounding communities.