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Showing 175 results

A lake at sunset

Katlyn Schmitt | November 17, 2022

The Clean Water Act: 50 Years of Progress, Nine Reforms to Strengthen the Law

For a half century, the Clean Water Act has been the nation's leading water pollution control law. When it passed the modern Clean Water Act in 1972, Congress intended federal and state agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work together to minimize, and ultimately eliminate, water pollution by 1985. While the country has fallen significantly short in meeting this goal, the Clean Water Act has prevented significant water pollution – and we and our waterways are much healthier for it.

Daniel Farber | November 3, 2022

The Supreme Court’s Earliest Pollution Cases

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.

A view from underwater

Allison Stevens | October 6, 2022

Verchick: To Build Climate Resilience, We Need to ‘Start Living with Water’ 

From Florida’s sea-battered coast to small mountain communities in landlocked Kentucky, nowhere, it seems, is safe from flooding these days. Even California’s Death Valley — the arid trough in the Mojave Desert known as “the hottest place on earth” — saw record floods this year.  Flooding is, of course, nothing new. The story of human civilization is […]

Daniel Farber | August 19, 2022

Making Fossil Fuels Pay for Their Damage

Production and combustion of fossil fuels impose enormous costs on society, which the industry doesn't pay for. I want to talk about some options for using the tax system to change that.

Alexandra Rogan, James Goodwin | August 18, 2022

With the Inflation Reduction Act, the Clean Energy Revolution Will be Subsidized

With the signature of President Joe Biden, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) now marks the most significant climate policy action the United States has ever taken. The defining feature of this law is that it seeks to wring carbon dioxide emissions out of the U.S. economy by relying heavily on policy "carrots," like subsidies, instead of policy "sticks," such as regulating the fossil fuel industry or attempting to capture the external costs of greenhouse gas emissions through carbon pricing.

Alexandra Rogan, James Goodwin | August 18, 2022

The Inflation Reduction Act’s Harmful Implications for Marginalized Communities

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will subsidize our nation's clean energy revolution and have a positive impact on climate-driven economics, as noted in Part I of this series. That said, the IRA isn't flawless. Notably, it includes several subsidies for fossil fuels, which will be counterproductive as our nation works toward its climate goals. Worse still, not all "carrots" for clean energy technologies are good, and the IRA includes a potentially bad one. Specifically, the IRA risks subsidizing the clean energy transition through perpetuating environmental injustice in how we obtain and use energy to fuel our economy.

James Goodwin | August 10, 2022

Op-Ed: Information Justice Offers Stronger Clean Air Protections to Fenceline Communities

After more than 50 years, the Clean Air Act is due for an upgrade to account for changing circumstances. We can now recognize how the law is insufficiently attentive to the realities of structural racism and systemic disparities in environmental protections. Polluters have exacerbated these problems by weaponizing uncertainty to oppose stronger protections for those who need them most. In speaking to both challenges, the Public Health Air Quality Act would help ensure that the Clean Air Act is well positioned to continue serving the American people for the next 50 years.

Daniel Farber | August 8, 2022

Will the Supreme Court Gut the Clean Water Act?

What wetlands and waterbodies does the Clean Water Act protect? Congress failed to provide a clear answer when it passed the statute, and the issue has been a bone of contention ever since. The Biden administration is in the process of issuing a new regulation on the subject. Normally, you'd expect the Supreme Court to wait to jump in until then. Instead, the Court reached out to grab Sackett v. EPA, where landowners take a really extreme position on the subject. Not a good sign.

Sophie Loeb | August 4, 2022

Duke Energy Carbon Plan Hearing: Authentic Community Engagement Lacking

On July 27, I had the privilege of testifying at the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) public hearing regarding the Duke Energy Carbon Plan. The Asheville hearing was one of six forums designated for public witness testimony on the proposed decarbonization plan. In 2019, North Carolina joined 34 other states investing in solar, wind, and other renewable resources when it passed its Clean Energy Power Plan, and, in 2021, when it passed House Bill 951, which commits to a 70 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. When Duke Energy, a major corporation with outsized influence over the state’s decarbonization plan, submitted its proposal to meet those goals, it failed to account for affordability and equity.