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James Goodwin | December 21, 2020
In my last post, I began counting down the top ten most significant developments affecting regulatory policy and public protections from the past year. This post completes the task.
Joel A. Mintz, Victor Flatt | December 18, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden is set to name Michael Regan to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Regan is currently the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, and his past experience includes earlier stints at EPA and the Environmental Defense Fund. He would be the first Black man to serve as EPA administrator.
Robert L. Glicksman | December 17, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden tapped Deb Haaland to head up the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees our nation's public lands, wildlife conservation, and key aspects of energy development. Currently a House representative from New Mexico, Haaland has led the national parks, forests, and public lands subcommittee on the House Natural Resources Committee. She would be the first Native American to lead the department.
Hannah Wiseman | December 17, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden is poised to name Jennifer Granholm to lead the U.S. Department of Energy, which oversees key energy efficiency standards, research, and development. Granholm is a former two-term governor of Michigan and a champion of using a clean energy transition to spur economic growth.
Robert Verchick | December 17, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden is set to name Brenda Mallory to lead the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the White House office that coordinates environmental policy across federal agencies. Mallory has more than three decades of environmental law and policy experience, served as CEQ general counsel under President Obama, and is currently director of regulatory policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center. Here are four things Mallory and CEQ could do right away to coordinate environmental policy across federal agencies and repair an office Donald Trump badly damaged.
Daniel Farber | December 15, 2020
Donald Trump prided himself on his contempt for established norms of presidential action. Whole books have been written about how to restore those norms. Something similar also happened deeper down in the government, out in the agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that do the actual work of governance. Trump appointees have corrupted agencies and trashed the norms that support agency integrity. It will take hard work to undo the harm. White House leadership is important, but success will require dedicated effort by the agency heads appointed by Biden.
Scott Stern | December 14, 2020
In the midst of a global pandemic and increasingly desperate attempts by the Trump administration to subvert the results of the 2020 election, it would be easy to miss a slew of recent news stories on individuals the media has termed "climate refugees." These are people who have been displaced due to catastrophic climate change, or who will be forced to flee as their homes become too hot, too cold, or too dry, or if they become regular targets of massive storms or end up underwater. As many of these stories have highlighted, among those most at risk are the Indigenous peoples of the United States. Yet, there is a potential path out of climate-induced devastation.
Daniel Farber | December 11, 2020
A recent Ninth Circuit ruling overturned approval of offshore drilling in the Arctic. The ruling may directly impact the Trump administration's plans for oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). By requiring agencies to consider emissions when fossil fuels are ultimately burned, the Court of Appeals' decision may also change the way agencies consider other fossil fuel projects, such as gas pipelines.
Katlyn Schmitt | December 10, 2020
Ever since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a dangerous (and now-rescinded) policy relaxing enforcement of environmental protections in March, the Center for Progressive Reform has watchdogged responses from state environmental agencies in three states in the Chesapeake Bay Region — Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. While the EPA essentially gave companies a free pass to hide pollution violations during the pandemic, most states set up processes to handle COVID-19-related noncompliance. Environmental agencies in the three states we monitored received dozens of waiver requests related to water, land, and air quality protections, pollution controls, sampling and monitoring, inspections, and critical infrastructure deadlines. A majority of these requests were related to the pandemic. But others, such as those seeking to delay important deadlines for construction projects, were not. This suggests that some polluters are using COVID-19 as an excuse to subvert or delay deadlines that prevent further air or water pollution.