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Showing 15 results

Federico Holm | May 1, 2024

Permitting Reform and the Incidence of NEPA as a Source of “Delays”

Since the passage of landmark legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law during the Biden administration, we’ve repeatedly heard that we’re at a critical junction: There is a need to expand and accelerate environmental, climate, and clean energy policy implementation and opportunities to do so, but the pathway toward this goal will be plagued by significant delays. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has become a common scapegoat in this fight, with critics charging that the sometimes lengthy and complicated environmental review process NEPA requires is the main thing holding up decarbonization and the clean energy transition. This has led to calls from across the political spectrum for “reforming” the statute. This assumption, however, misrepresents what happens on the ground.

Federico Holm | March 25, 2024

What Three Ohio Counties Can Tell Us About a Major Obstacle to Our Clean Energy Future

My colleagues at the Center for Progressive Reform and I recently published a report and interactive map examining how local ordinances that restrict clean energy development can impose major obstacles in our efforts toward a just clean energy transition. Among the many important findings in our report, we highlighted the high degree of variability that exists between states in the way large-scale clean energy generation is regulated. In some cases, like Illinois and Michigan, governments have empowered state authorities to override local siting measures; other states have given local governments more decision-making powers to decide if and how renewable infrastructure can be built. Among the latter is Ohio.

Federico Holm | February 28, 2024

New Report and Interactive Map: Communities Left Behind: How Local Ordinances Can Obstruct Energy Democracy and a Just Transition

A profound energy transition is sweeping the United States. In addition to mitigating dangerous greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, it means new economic opportunities and a safer and healthier environment for communities across the country. A better future is certainly within reach, or at least it is for some communities, which are the ones that will be able to capitalize on the green transition. But for many others, there is no guarantee that this clean energy transition will be a just and equitable one. Why is this the case? As we explore in a new report and interactive map, it turns out that one of the biggest obstacles is self-inflicted: local ordinances that restrict new renewable energy development projects, including wind, solar, and battery storage.

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.

Joshua Briggs | September 5, 2023

Cost Benefit Analysis and the Energy Transition: Toward a New Strategy

In the coming years, key decisions that will greatly impact state efforts to address climate change will be made by agencies that the public often thinks very little about. Public utility commissions (PUCs) are state agencies that regulate energy markets. They set electricity prices, plan energy resource development, and oversee the utility providers within their states. For decades, these agencies have advanced an energy policy that is informed by a straightforward need to provide dependable electricity to consumers at fair rates.

Federico Holm, James Goodwin | August 24, 2023

The Hill Op-ed: Power to the People: How Biden Is Bringing Democracy Back into Our Government

When French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville toured the United States nearly 200 years ago, he famously marveled at the degree and diversity of the American people’s civic engagement. Through a recent, little-noticed guidance, the Biden administration is now working to further infuse this unique tradition into one of our nation’s most important governing institutions: the federal regulatory system. The White House guidance’s recommendations will be essential for empowering ordinary people to shape the policies we care about, whether it’s keeping our drinking water clean or protecting our wallets against predatory banks. Despite this, the regulatory system is not yet achieving its full democratic potential.

Faith Duggan | August 23, 2023

Youth Standing Up for Their Rights and Their Planet

How would I describe the world we live in? Well, the world we live in has molded me into an activist. I am of a generation that has been required to stand up and demand our rights, as our future is uncertain. More than perhaps any time in human history, our planet and the life it supports are struggling mightily. Because not enough has been done quickly enough on these issues, youth activists must pick up the torch and push to get things done.

Federico Holm | August 7, 2023

New Analysis Finds “Participation Gap” in Shaping Public Protections, Calls for Reforms

Under the Biden administration, the U.S. regulatory system is experiencing a welcome renaissance, changing the way agencies see their role in society and the relationship between policymaking and public participation. However, the regulatory process is still providing outsized opportunities for large, sophisticated "repeat players" to shape our public protections because of the “two-tiered” nature of public participation that currently exists.

Daniel Farber | June 22, 2023

CEQ and Permitting Reform

In the recent debt ceiling law, Congress extensively revamped the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the law governing environmental impact statements. An obscure White House agency, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), will have the first opportunity to shape the interpretation of the new language.