Blog Profile / Legal Planet: Environmental Law and Policy

Filed Under:Issues & Causes / Environmentalism
Posts on Regator:2482
Posts / Week:6
Archived Since:April 19, 2010

Blog Post Archive

Sand Trap

You already know about the climate crisis,  fisheries collapse, ocean acidification, and the biodiversity crisis.  Now you can add a fifth one: the global sand crisis. The demand for sand is exploding due to burgeoning construction in China and other developing countries. The result: water bodies are being devastated by massive dredging operations. Lake Poyang […]

The Disagreeable Mr. Pruitt

I’m sure that Scott Pruitt has his good side. Probably he loves dogs. But his bad traits are, well, pretty hard to overlook. Here are some of the main characteristics of the man who is now charged by statute with protecting our environment: Paranoia. As Grist says, “in just his first year, he has reportedly […]

CLEE Launches California Climate Policy Dashboard

The Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) at UC Berkeley School of Law has launched the California Climate Policy Dashboard, a new web resource offering an overview of the key laws, programs and agencies driving California’s pioneering effort to tackle climate change, including: The landmark greenhouse gas emission reduction laws, AB 32 and […]

Contentious California Beach Access Case Heads to U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018-19 Term is already shaping up as a big one for environmental law in general and the longstanding tension between private property rights and environmental regulation in particular.  The Court has already agreed to hear and decide two cases next Term raising the latter set of issues: one involves the question […]

Actual True Story: Trump Admin. Proposes Bold New Regulation

On Thursday, the FDA made a stunning announcement about a new regulation for cigarettes.   Given that this is the Trump Administration, you might have thought they were going to require school lunch programs to hand out cigarettes or something. But no. FDA is proposing — or more accurately, is proposing to issue a proposal — […]

Will Pruitt join Sessions In Expanding the Federal Government’s Attack on California?

It’s no secret that the Trump Administration has it out for California.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions just sued the state for its refusal to aid Immigration and Customs Enforcement in detaining undocumented immigrants.  Donald Trump just claimed that highly popular Governor Jerry Brown is doing a terrible job, despite Brown leading California out of a […]

Global market for ecosystem services surges to $36 billion in annual transactions

In the early 1990s, New York City began paying for land management in the Catskills watershed to ensure safe drinking water for the city, avoiding the cost of building an expensive water treatment plant. New York City provides just one example of a growing number of programs – called payments for ecosystem services (PES) – […]

Going Private

Beyond Politics: The Private Governance Response to Climate Change, by Michael Vandenbergh and Jonathan Gilligan, is an ambitious effort to demonstrate the promise of non-governmental efforts to reduce emissions. They argue it is a mistake to pin all our hopes to one climate strategy like a national cap-and-trade system. For this reason, they argue that […]

Guest Blogger Ken Alex: Political Will to Address Greenhouse Gas Emissions

[This is the ninth post in a series expressing my view of why California’s actions on climate change are so important and how they will change the world. The introductory post provides an overview and some general context.] I said at the outset of these blog posts that political will and the issue of scale are bigger […]

Red-State Utilities Go Green

Even in Republican states, there has been a regulatory movement to expand the use of renewables. (see this report for more.) Perhaps even more surprisingly, some utilities and generating companies that now use a lot of coal are voluntarily turning to renewables. Here are some recent examples: Ohio. In February, AEP explained that “Our customers […]

Supreme Court to Decide Another Major Property Rights Case

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018-19 Term is shaping up as a most consequential one when it comes to the intersection of environmental regulation and constitutionally-protected property rights. Today the Court agreed to hear and decide an important “regulatory takings” case: Knick v. Show More Summary

Guest Blogger Ken Alex: Reducing Emissions is Not Enough

[This is the eighth post in a series expressing my view of why California’s actions on climate change are so important and how they will change the world. The introductory post provides an overview and some general context.] Under the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2°C […]

Nov. 2018: Senate Races

The odds are that the Republicans will continue to control the Senate in 2018. The electoral map is very unfavorable to the Democrats, with many vulnerable Democrats up for reelection and only two such Republicans. But even if the GOP keeps control, their victory margin matters. It will determine how much maneuvering room that McConnell […]

Privatizing Paris

Many major corporations bemoaned Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and pledged to continue their own environmental efforts. Why stop with acting solo? Why not band together? There’s power in joint action. Here are four options, from simplest to most ambitious. Taking the Paris Agreement Private. Under the Paris Agreement, nations agree to engage in […]

The Return of Federal Common Law

I’m traveling but wanted to get in a few quick words about Judge Alsup’s decision today in the California climate change litigation. This is a really complex issue, and I wanted to try to unpack it a bit. In general, except where a federal statute or constitutional provision is the basis for an action, legal […]

Progress on California water data

Water data has become quite a hot topic in California, and rightly so: throughout the state, decision-makers desperately need better information to guide their efforts to better manage this resource. Recent legislation has gotten us to the starting line, but how well new data platforms ultimately serve water management will depend on clear thinking and […]

Ensuring Public Access to California Waterways–In Plain Language

California residents are passionate about their coastal and inland waterways–and especially their ability to access and enjoy these natural resources.  It was concern over being “walled off from the coast” by private development that...Show More Summary

Public Lands Watch: BLM Methane Rule (Again)

Tom Schumann drafted this blog post. As previously announced, the Interior Department has published its proposal to roll back an Obama-era regulation aimed at reducing climate change-causing methane releases from oil and gas operations on federal lands. Show More Summary

The Carbon Tax — More Attractive Than Ever

Sooner or later,  the Democrats will take control of Congress and the White House, just like the Republicans right now. That’s not a political prediction so much as a recognition that the wheel is bound to turn around at some point.  At that point, they should give very serious consideration to the possibility of a […]

The Social Cost of Carbon – Revisited

The estimated harm done by a single ton of carbon in the atmosphere – the “social cost of carbon” — is a key factor in setting climate policy. The Trump Administration is trying to get its estimate as close to zero as possible. A key part of this effort is to exclude from consideration the […]

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