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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.
Alexandra Klass | October 11, 2023
Under the Federal Power Act, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has an obligation to maintain national grid reliability and to ensure “just and reasonable” rates for wholesale electricity sales and transmission. Notably, Congress has not granted FERC authority over the siting and permitting of most interstate transmission lines, as it has with interstate natural gas pipelines, leaving that authority over power lines primarily with the states. Even in the absence of congressional action, however, FERC has powerful tools using its existing statutory authority over rates and reliability to incentivize regulated transmission owners and grid planners to build the large-scale regional “macro-grid” the country needs.
Sandy Ma | October 3, 2023
President Biden had ambitious plans, with the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), to rebuild America’s aging infrastructure and revitalize our economy by fighting climate change through creating green jobs, reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and championing environmental justice. In the scant few years since the passage of these monumental laws, changes are already taking root. For example, in Maryland, funding is flowing to various sectors of the state — private and public — for grid modernization, transportation planning, funding green banks, and cleaning polluted air, and all of it in the service of environmental justice.
James Goodwin | October 2, 2023
If a tree stands in the forest, and there’s no economist around to tabulate its benefits to humans, do those benefits still exist? For government agencies, the answer has long been, “No.” But the Biden administration is poised to change that.
James Goodwin | September 20, 2023
Last month, the Biden administration rolled out the latest piece of its comprehensive Modernizing Regulatory Review initiative: a proposed guidance on how to account for “ecosystem services” in regulatory analysis. As I explained in my comments, if implemented well, this guidance will reinforce the administration’s broader efforts to reprogram an important step in the rulemaking process known as regulatory analysis so that it provides a fairer and fuller picture of the impacts of planned rules.
Sandy Ma | September 19, 2023
Net zero, or carbon neutral, policies are changing the discussions around reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But, even with the wide adoption of the idea, questions remain. How much does the public understand about net zero? How is the policy defined, and what are its goals? Most significantly, is it addressing climate justice?
Daniel Farber | September 14, 2023
This week, the D.C. Circuit hears three cases challenging the use of federal regulations to push adoption of electric vehicles and to allow California to forge a path toward zero-emission cars. If all three cases go badly, the regulatory system would be disabled from playing a role in this area. This would be a huge setback, though there are reasons to think that it would only delay, rather than prevent, the transition to clean cars.
Daniel Farber | September 12, 2023
In three weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court starts its 2023 Term. There are two blockbuster cases on the docket. In one case, the issue is whether to overrule the Chevron case, which has been foundational to administrative law for the past four decades. In the other, the issue is agency power to sanction violations of the law. Given the Court’s conservative supermajority, there’s a real threat to the power of agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue regulations and enforce the law.
Marcha Chaudry | September 7, 2023
Picture a food system where the responsibility for environmental disasters related to industrial agriculture no longer falls on the shoulders of taxpayers or small-scale farmers. Instead, it places the onus exactly where it should be — on the corporations and industrial operators who are reaping massive profits from the factory farming model. The tide is turning, and it’s high time for these corporations to take responsibility for the system they've created.