Joint comments from CPR's Dan Farber, Catherine O'Neill, Rena Steinzor, and James Goodwin on the EPA's effort to undercut the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS rule), by eliminating consideration of "co-benefits," and with it, to lay groundwork for eliminating consideration of co-benefits from cost-benefit analyses for future environmental regulation, April 17, 2019.
Joint comments from CPR and other institutions to the National Archives and Records Administration's on the Department of Interior's natural resources planning and development document records schedule, November 26, 2018.
CPR's Sidney Shapiro and Rena Steinzor's August 3, 2004 response to the paint industry's Information Quality Act challenge to state rules on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paint: "Wrong in principle, wrong on the law, and wrong on the facts."
Writing in The Hill, Robert Glicksman and Alejandro Camacho dissect the Trump administration's latest effort to enfeeble environmental protections, this time by devising new regulations intended to undercut the National Environment Policy Act.
CPR Perspective: Cost-Benefit Analysis by Frank Ackerman and Lisa Heinzerling. CPR's Perspectives Series is a set of monographs by CPR Member Scholars on timely and important health, safety, and environmental topics. Each Perspective provides a thumbnail sketch of the competing arguments concerning a substantive or procedural principle for developing appropriate health, safety and environmental policies, and closes with the Member Scholar-author's proposed approach to the issue.
Center for Progressive Reform Perspective by Douglas Kysar on cost-benefit analysis and its "cousins." CPR's Perspectives Series is a set of monographs by CPR Member Scholars on timely and important health, safety, and environmental topics. Each Perspective provides a thumbnail sketch of the competing arguments concerning a substantive or procedural principle for developing appropriate health, safety and environmental policies, and closes with the Member Scholar-author's proposed approach to the issue.
CPR Perspective: 'The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment,' by Bill Funk. CPR's Perspectives Series is a set of monographs by CPR Member Scholars on timely and important health, safety, and environmental topics. Each Perspective provides a thumbnail sketch of the competing arguments concerning a substantive or procedural principle for developing appropriate health, safety and environmental policies, and closes with the Member Scholar-author's proposed approach to the issue.
CPR Perspective: 'Statutory Design: The Advantages of Technology-Based Standards in Protecting Health, Safety, and the Environment,' by Robert L. Glicksman. CPR's Perspectives Series is a set of monographs by CPR Member Scholars on timely and important health, safety, and environmental topics. Each Perspective provides a thumbnail sketch of the competing arguments concerning a substantive or procedural principle for developing appropriate health, safety and environmental policies, and closes with the Member Scholar-author's proposed approach to the issue.
"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."
Nearly half a century after Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring helped launch the modern environmental movement, the nation’s environmental statutes are showing signs of age. New challenges have arisen – climate change, most notably, but others that also threaten the safety of the air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat and more. In their new book, Beyond Environmental Law: Policy Proposals for a Better Environmental Future, CPR Member Scholars David Driesen and Alyson Flournoy compile original chapter contributions by leading environmental scholars assessing how to craft effective environmental standards to combat the environmental challenges of the 21st Century. Published in March 2010 by Cambridge University Press, Beyond Environmental Law proposes two new statutes: an Environmental Legacy Act to preserve a defined environmental legacy for future generations, and an Environmental Competition Statute to spark movement to new clean technologies. The first proposal would require for the first time that the federal government define an environmental legacy that it must preserve for future generations. The second would establish a market competition to maximize environmental protection.
For the Bush administration, mercury contamination is the regulatory equivalent of the perfect storm. Four separate fields - science, law, economics, and justice - have combined to demand strict and timely controls on the intolerable hazards mercury poses for public health and the environment. While many expected the Bush administration to search for escape routes that favor its friends in the chemical and energy industries - which produce the lion's share of mercury - none were prepared for its headlong plunge into the tallest waves. Just as the doomed fishermen of the Andrea Gail sailed into the storm despite clear warnings, the administration is likewise proceeding with business as usual. This means no requirements for industrial plants to reduce pollution at the smokestack and no expectation that the oldest, dirtiest plants install modern pollution controls. Meanwhile, the clear and present danger posed by mercury is being ignored.
Materials on the Environmental Protection Agency's Web site – buried deep inside hundreds of pages of internal documents – reveal the extent to which the White House was willing to override expert scientific conclusions to justify a weak proposal to control mercury emissions from power plants. Federal agencies are required to obtain approval for all major regulatory proposals from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (led by the president's regulatory czar John Graham) within the White House Office of Management and Budget. In flyspecking EPA's mercury proposal, OMB economists and White House officials systematically downplayed scientific conclusions that methyl-mercury exposure causes brain damage in children.
Writing on AlterNet, Catherine O'Neill observes that " Scant attention has been given to the Bush administration's embrace of risk avoidance as the supposed 'solution' to public health hazards and environmental contamination." She makes the case that the burden to avoid unhealthy exposure to pollution should not fall on individuals, but rather on polluters -- but someone needs to explain that to the Bush administration.
Clifford Rechtschaffen, writing on the Center for American Progress website: "The federal government relies in great measure on state agencies to enforce many of the key provisions of the Clean Water Act, including the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), a system by which polluters are issued permits to emit specific quantities of pollution into waterways. The sorry truth is that the system doesn't work very well, and enforcement of NPDES provisions is inadequate. That's the conclusion I'm forced to draw from a survey of state environmental protection agencies I conducted earlier this year."
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."
In comments to the EPA on its proposed 'Censored Science' rule, CPR's Goodwin and Minovi write, "EPA’s rulemaking rejects widely accepted scientific standards and will allow the agency to cherry-pick studies that align with the administration’s agenda ... [and] will be prohibitively costly to the agency, both in terms of taxpayer dollars and the unnecessary and avoidable harms to public health and the environment. Furthermore, the EPA has incorrectly identified ... the legal authority for this rulemaking."
Writing for Just Security Rebecca Bratspies discusses efforts by Senate Republicans to amend the law to allow lawsuits against China related to the spread of the coronavirus, noting that conservatives have in the past been generally hostile to tort litigation in the past. She goes on to discuss the implications of the Trail Smelter Arbitration between Canada and the United States as it relates to coronavirus disputes.
CPR joined with other members of the Chespeake Accountability Project, urging the Maryland Department of the Environment to gather and share information about polluters' alleged inability to comply with permit requirements because of the coronavirus pandemic, and to ensure strong whistleblower protections.
In the Regulatory Review, Robert Glicksman and Alejandro Camacho write that, the Trump administration's anti-environmental and anti-democratic practices converged in [its] recent revisions to the Council on Environmental Quality’s regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act.
The Trump administration dedicated itself to deregulation with unprecedented fervor. It rolled back scores of regulations across government agencies, including more than 80 environmental rules. The Biden administration can reverse some of those actions quickly – for instance, as president, Joe Biden can undo Donald Trump’s executive orders with a stroke of the pen. He plans to restore U.S. involvement in the Paris climate agreement that way on his first day in office. Undoing most regulatory rollbacks, however, will require a review process that can take years, often followed by further delays during litigation. There is an alternative, but it comes with risks.
Joe Biden got a big judicial win for his climate agenda just hours before his inauguration as U.S. president. The case involved federal plans for cutting power plant emissions and a big gamble by the Trump administration.