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air pollution

Victor Flatt | March 14, 2024

Op-ed: Whether the Government Requires It or Not, Greenhouse Gas Disclosures Are Here to Stay 

Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released its long-awaited final rule requiring publicly traded companies to report certain climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions as part of their financial risk disclosures.

James Goodwin | March 5, 2024

The Ideological Warfare Behind the Attack on Chevron Deference: Part 3

As discussed in yesterday’s post, the contemporary conservative movement is prepared to use legal battles over esoteric administrative law doctrines, such as Chevron deference, as a tool of ideological warfare. Importantly, though, these battles present progressives with a great opportunity to engage at the ideological level as well. After all, progressives have been busy developing their own competing vision of what our constitutional democracy should look like. They should seize the opportunity presented by the fight over Chevron deference’s future to articulate and advance that vision.

James Goodwin | March 4, 2024

The Ideological Warfare Behind the Attack on Chevron Deference: Part 2

In Part 1 of this three-part series, I introduced the rapidly boiling legal battle over a once-obscure administrative law doctrine known as Chevron deference. Much of the commentary to this point has focused on the political motivations behind the conservative attack on Chevron deference. In this second post, I will take a closer look at how conservatives have carefully crafted this battle (and their broader war on the administrative state) to promote their distinctive brand of ideological thought.

James Goodwin | March 4, 2024

The Ideological Warfare Behind the Attack on Chevron Deference: Part 1

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a pair of related cases — Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless v. Department of Commerce — which could be among the most consequential decisions for U.S. democracy that the Court has ever issued. That’s because the cases urge the Court to overturn a longstanding judicial doctrine called Chevron deference. Over the last 40 years, that doctrine has provided a practical framework for mediating the growing separation-of-powers fights among the three branches for control over administrative agencies, with the preservation of the administrative state’s essential democratic foundation as its guiding star.

Robert Fischman | February 29, 2024

A Proposal to Leverage More Conservation Benefits from National Wildlife Refuges

How should the United States manage the largest biodiversity conservation system to be greater than the sum of its parts? This vexing question for the national wildlife refuges has received scant attention for the past quarter century. Now the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service), which administers the refuge system, has proposed a rule to guide specific refuge decisions to ensure they contribute to a national network rather than incrementally fray the web of conservation.

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.

Federico Holm | February 22, 2024

Fine Particle Pollution: Unevenly Distributed, Driven by Heavy Traffic, and Supercharged by E-commerce

On February 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized new and stronger air quality standards for fine particle pollution (commonly known as soot), a harmful pollutant and byproduct of burning coal, manufacturing, oil refining, and motor vehicles. Soot is one of the nation’s most dangerous air pollutants, and one of the most widespread, though it disproportionately impacts the health of structurally marginalized communities. Multiple reports have found that people living within half a mile of warehouses have higher rates of asthma and heart attacks than residents in the area overall, increased risk of cancer, and nervous system effects.

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.