Opinion analysis: The Justices' purpose-full reading of the Clean Water Act
Writing for SCOTUSBlog, CPR's Lisa Heinzerling discusses the Supreme Court's April 2020 ruling in a Clean Water Act case from Hawaii. The ruling requires a permit when a point source of pollution adds pollutants to navigable waters through groundwater, if the addition of pollutants is "the functional equivalent of a direct discharge" from the source into navigable waters. She writes that "Perhaps the most striking feature of Justice Stephen Breyer's opinion for the majority is its interpretive method. The opinion reads like something from a long-ago period of statutory interpretation, before statutory decisions regularly made the central meaning of complex laws turn on a single word or two and banished legislative purpose to the interpretive fringes."
Author(s): Lisa Heinzerling
Virus provides lessons on government, science and politics
Deregulation on Demand: Trump EPA Panders to Polluters in Dismantling Clean Power Plan
Corporate capture of regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency has long been a barrier to promulgation and enforcement of effective safeguards. But under the Trump administration, it has progressed to a dizzying degree of brazenness, helping to power the president’s dangerous assault on public safeguards. In Deregulation on Demand, CPR's James Goodwin, working with researchers from the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, documents the extent to which corporate capture by polluters played a role in the dismantling of the Clean Power Plan.
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Author(s): James Goodwin
The Pandemic and Industry Opportunism
Writing for The Regulatory Review, Rena Steinzor notes that in March 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic in full swing, EPA enforcement chief Susan Bodine issued a memo offering businesses assurance that EPA would overlook certain regulatory violations for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. Public interest groups roundly criticized the new policy, prompting EPA to cry "fake news."
Author(s): Rena Steinzor
Trump's EPA Uses Coronavirus Crisis to Mask Environmental Deregulation and Suspend Enforcement
Writing on ACSBlog, Joel Mintz describes the several ways that the Trump EPA has seized on the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to undercut a range of environmental protections.
Author(s): Joel Mintz
Joint Letter on Coronavirus and Environmental Justice
CPR joined dozens of environmental and social justice organizations in writing to Congress urging that legislation responsive to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic account for environmental justice concerns.
Joint Letter on Extending Comment Periods During Coronavirus Emergency
CPR joined with 163 public interest organizations in signing a letter to OMB calling on it to direct executive branch agencies to hold open all active comment periods for pending rulemakings for as long as the Declaration of a National Emergency concerning the coronavirus remains in effect.
CPR Letter to OMB Re Comment Extension During Coronavirus
In March 2020, with the full implications of the novel coronavirus just coming into view, CPR Member Scholars and staff wrote to the Office of Management and Budget calling on OMB to direct all executive branch agencies to hold open all active comment periods for their pending rulemakings as long as the COVID-19 declaration of national emergency remains in effect.
Author(s): William Andreen, Rebecca Bratspies, Alejandro Camacho, Gilonne d'Origny, Michael C. Duff, Heather Elliott, David Flores, Alyson Flournoy, Bill Funk, Robert Glicksman, Carmen Gonzalez, James Goodwin, Michele Janin, Sarah Krakoff, Thomas McGarity, Darya Minovi, Joel Mintz, Dave Owen, Laurie Ristino, Matt Shudtz, Karen Sokol, Rena Steinzor, Steph Tai, Katie Tracy, Sandra Zellmer
From border security to climate change, national emergency declarations raise hard questions about presidential power
"Presidential emergency powers could provide useful tools for addressing climate change, but taking this route sets an important precedent," Dan Farber writes for The Conversation. "If presidents increasingly make free use of emergency powers to achieve policy goals, this approach could become the new normal – with a serious potential for abuse of power and ill-considered decisions."
Author(s): Daniel Farber