Showing 264 results
Daniel Farber | June 20, 2023
Shortly after President Joe Biden signed the new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rewrite as part of the debt ceiling law, I wrote a blog post about a major drafting glitch at the heart of the new provisions. Today, I’d like to follow up with more examples.
Daniel Farber | June 8, 2023
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was passed over 50 years ago. It created a new tool for environmental protection — the environmental impact statement. It also created the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which issued guidelines for implementing NEPA in 1978. Lawyers will need to retool quickly because of recent changes. Here’s a roadmap to recent developments.
Daniel Farber | May 23, 2023
We’ve already started to hear claims that the Biden power plant rule falls under the major questions doctrine, which the U.S. Supreme Court used to strike down former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Are those claims plausible?
Daniel Farber | May 15, 2023
Although the U.S. Constitution does not say so directly, the U.S. Supreme Court has said there are implied limits on state regulations that interfere with interstate commerce. This is known as the dormant commerce clause doctrine. State clean energy laws have been bedeviled by challenges based on this doctrine. The Supreme Court has just made it easier for states to fend off those claims.
Daniel Farber | April 24, 2023
Ever since the Supreme Court decided West Virginia v. EPA, conservatives and industry interests have claimed that just about every new regulation violates the major question doctrine. When the Biden administration ramped up fuel efficiency requirements through 2026, ideologues such as the Heritage Foundation and states like Texas were quick to wheel out this attack. No doubt the same attack will be made on the administration's ambitious proposed post-2026 standard. Maybe Judge Kacsmaryk in Amarillo, crusader against abortion pills and all things liberal, would buy that argument. But opponents won’t be able to handpick their judge this time, and the chances that this argument will win in the D.C. Circuit are slim to none.
Daniel Farber | April 19, 2023
As you’ve probably heard, the Biden administration has proposed aggressive new targets for greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles. That’s great news. One really important aspect of the proposal relates to the justification for the proposal rather than the proposal itself. Following a recent trend, the justification is based on the factors specified by Congress rather than on a purely economic analysis. That may not sound like much, but it’s a really big deal. Among other things, this will shift influence on the regulatory process somewhat away from economists and toward lawyers.
Daniel Farber | April 17, 2023
On April 6, the Biden White House released proposed changes in the way the government does cost-benefit analysis (CBA). CBA has been a key part of rulemaking for 40 years. The proposal is very technical and low-key, but the upshot will be that efforts to reduce carbon emissions will get a leg up. In particular, the changes will support higher estimates of the harm done by each ton of carbon emissions (the “social cost of carbon” in economics lingo).
Daniel Farber | March 16, 2023
EPA proposed new regulations last week to reduce the water pollution impacts of coal-fired power plants. As EPA regulations go, these count as fairly minor. They got a bit of news coverage in coal country and industry publications. But they will eliminate the discharge of thousands of tons of pollutants, including a lot of metals that pose health problems. The rulemaking illustrates the highly technical nature of regulations and the lawless nature of Trump’s EPA. It also gives some clues about where the Biden administration may be headed in the way it approaches regulatory decisions.
Daniel Farber | March 2, 2023
The headline news is that Minnesota has adopted a 2040 deadline for a carbon-free grid. The headline is accurate, but the law in question contains a lot of other interesting features that deserve attention.