Recentering Environmental Law: A Thought Experiment
Legal Planet
by Dan Farber
2d ago
In 1965, scientists sent LBJ a memo mentioning the risks of climate change. Imagine if history had been a little different. Suppose it had been this memo and a follow-up report, rather than Rachel Carson’s attack on pesticides, that sparked the environmental movement. How would environmental law look different and how might we be thinking about it differently? First of all, we would have had a very different understanding of the air pollution problem. We thought that the key to reducing air pollution was to require better pollution control devices. Instead, we would have understood that ..read more
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New Bill Targets Carbon Dioxide Pipeline Leaks
Legal Planet
by Guest Contributor
4d ago
Guest contributor Jennifer Imm is a J.D. Candidate at UCLA Law (2L) Last week, Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula introduced AB 2623, a bill designed to guard California communities against the dangers of transporting carbon dioxide in pipelines. These risks aren’t hypothetical: A leak from a carbon dioxide pipeline already caused serious health harms in Satartia, Mississippi, where 45 people were hospitalized following a pipeline rupture in early 2020. Firsthand accounts of that mass poisoning described a white cloud shooting into the sky, hundreds of people evacuated, and unprepared first ..read more
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Delivering Workforce Benefits in an Emerging Industry
Legal Planet
by Malcolm Johnson
4d ago
California’s offshore wind (OSW) industry is transitioning from planning to implementation in a statewide effort to deliver 2-5 GW clean energy by 2030. In support of this goal, the California Energy Commission (CEC) released a draft of its Assembly Bill 525 Offshore Wind Strategic Plan (the Plan). In a nascent industry with complex community interests at play, the need to monitor and optimize OSW’s local impacts is paramount. Among the range of benefits that OSW can deliver to state residents, the workforce development spurred by offshore wind and supply chain activities could emerge as the ..read more
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California Water Law Symposium is this Saturday in San Francisco
Legal Planet
by Nell Green Nylen
4d ago
If you’re interested in California water, the 20th Annual California Water Law Symposium is a great way to spend this Saturday! The symposium is a collaborative student-run event that consistently brings together leading minds in water law and policy to discuss California’s critical water issues.  Students from 7 northern California law schools—led by a stellar 4-member team from this year’s host school, the University of San Francisco School of Law—have worked together to organize the 2024 symposium.  This year’s theme is “1913 to Now: Diversifying Solutions to Water Governance in ..read more
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Ranking Presidents on Climate Change
Legal Planet
by Dan Farber
6d ago
Although a 1977 memo alerted Jimmy Carter to the problem of climate change, the first tentative responses to climate change didn’t emerge until he left the White House. Since then, there have been seven very different men in the White House.  You may find the rankings surprising. Here’s how I would rank them, from best to worst: Joe Biden, Barack Obama George H.W. Bush & Bill Clinton (tie) Ronald Reagan George W. Bush Donald Trump If you wonder about some these rankings — like where the Bushes and Regan rank — keep reading to find out my reasons. Ronald Reagan & George H.W. Bus ..read more
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We Crossed 1.5 C. Did We Breach the Paris Agreement?
Legal Planet
by Evan George
1w ago
If you’re not a climate scientist—and maybe even if you are—reading news headlines this month has been confounding and a little scary. “In First, Earth’s Temperature Breached Key Threshold Over a 12 Month Period” is how the Wall Street Journal put it. “Earth Just Experienced 12 Months Of Global Temperatures Above Critical 1.5C Climate Threshold,” was the version at Forbes. And the Washington Post went with “Earth Breached a Feared Level of Warming Over the Past Year. Are We Doomed?”  Oof, we get the picture. If that weren’t enough, new research on sea sponges made for a second wave of s ..read more
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I ♥ IRA
Legal Planet
by Dan Farber
1w ago
Call me eccentric, but this is my Valentine to a federal statute, the Inflation Reduction Act, better known as the IRA. No one really expected IRA to pass. A version of the Green New Deal had passed the House. But the Democrats had only a one-vote margin in the Senate, and that one vote was Joe Manchin.  Manchin was (and is) the least liberal Democrat in the Senate. On top of that, he represented West Virginia.  That’s a place where coal is still King  and Trump beat Biden by forty points in 2020. Biden didn’t come close to carrying even a single county, that’s how Red the stat ..read more
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The New Particulate Standard and the Courts
Legal Planet
by Dan Farber
1w ago
EPA has just issued a rule tightening the air quality standard for PM2.5 — the tiny particles most dangerous to health — from an annual average of 12 μg/m³  (micrograms per cubic meter) down to 9 μg/m³. EPA estimates that, by the time the rule goes into effect in 2032, it will avoid 4500 premature deaths, 800,000  asthma attacks, and 290,000 lost workdays. Most likely, by the time this post goes up, someone will have filed a lawsuit to overturn the EPA rule. What legal arguments will challengers raise, and what are their chances of winning?  Let’s consider the possible challenge ..read more
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A New Strategic Plan for California Offshore Wind
Legal Planet
by Katherine Hoff
1w ago
For those following offshore wind development in California, January 19, 2024, marked an important moment—the release of the long-awaited Draft Assembly Bill 525 Offshore Wind Strategic Plan from the California Energy Commission (CEC). Some important foundations for offshore wind, a new but growing industry in California, had already been laid. Assembly Bill 525 (AB 525, Chiu, Chapter 231, Statutes of 2021) lent momentum to the development of offshore wind in the state by identifying important next steps that the CEC should take in coordination with other agencies. After AB 525 was signed int ..read more
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Climate Election 2024: “Drill, Baby, Drill” but Then What?
Legal Planet
by Evan George
2w ago
If you’ve missed the sound of a crowd shouting “Drill, Baby, Drill” you’re in luck. That chant is back in vogue, as the general election heats up. The 2008-era slogan is shorthand for the Trump campaign’s energy policy, but we know much more about current conservative thinking on the subject thanks to Project 2025, the 920-page transition plan for the next administration by policy strategists from the Heritage Foundation. The right-wing approach to energy in this critical 2024 election is straightforward: The U.S. should prop up fossil fuels, constrain renewables wherever possible, and claw ..read more
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