Clean Power Planning: Unlike with Obamacare, States are Preparing for Clean Power Plan Compliance Even as they Fight it in the Courts
By Jennifer Golinsky
Jennifer Golinsky is a student at Georgetown University Law Center, where she is staff contributor to the Georgetown Environmental Law Review. This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. Click here to see the original post and leave a comment.
When the EPA released its draft of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) in June 2014, commentators were quick to draw comparisons to Obamacare (i.e., the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, hereinafter the ACA). One journalist even dubbed the CPP “Obamacare for the Air” because the Clean Power Plan and the healthcare reform law are both “intensely polarizing” and “numbingly complex in an effort to ensure flexibility and fairness, based on a market system . . . likely to transform a key sector of the economy for decades to come.”
By David Williams
David Williams is a 3L at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he is an Editor with the Virginia Environmental Law Journal.
In the wake of Massachusetts v. EPA, the EPA fashioned new regulations to cover greenhouse gasses. As part of the new suite of regulations, the agency promulgated a “Tailoring Rule” that departed from the plain text of the Clean Air Act (“CAA”). The EPA justified this rule with reference to two canons of interpretation: absurd results and administrative necessity. The EPA describes the canon of administrative necessity as a three part test:
The way the agency describes and applies the administrative necessity doctrine suggests that it is a well-established, clearly defined doctrine that has been used often to justify agency departures from statutory requirements. I argue to the contrary. The doctrine of administrative necessity is actually a recently assembled collection of disparate statements from a small handful of D.C. Circuit cases. Never has a regulatory scheme that departs from statutory requirements been justified by administrative necessity. Such a piecemeal rule is inadequate to justify the EPA’s regulatory departure from the Clean Air Act.
By Malia McPherson
Malia McPherson is a 3L at Stanford Law School.
On November 4, 2014, the voters of San Benito County passed Measure J, a voter initiative banning hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) and all other high-intensity petroleum operations within county lines. Under California law, only a subsequent voter initiative can overrule this fracking ban. While it is not the first county or city within California to take a stand against fracking, San Benito’s path to a successful ballot initiative was unique. Despite being dramatically outspent in the run-up to the election, the San Benito anti-fracking coalition San Benito Rising defeated industry interests through a simple strategy of basic grassroots organization. The movement was largely leaderless, it was community focused, and it represented both minority and majority interests. How did it succeed? Given the potential risks posed by fracking, and the legal context that left a regulatory ‘gap’ for Measure J to fill, the San Benito experience shows that it is indeed possible for community-centered lawyering and the voter initiative process to protect community environmental integrity on a precautionary basis against encroachment from outside interests.
By Luke Grunbaum
Luke Grunbaum is a 3L at the UCLA School of Law, where he is Editor-in-Chief of the UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy. Click here to see the original post and leave a comment.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) establishes the basic principles and goals for future international agreements on climate change. However, incorporating the ambitious policies and provisions of the UNFCCC into a binding global agreement has proven incredibly challenging. Previous attempts to create a comprehensive international climate agreement (most notably the Kyoto Protocol) have been largely unsuccessful, and many believe that the top-down approach of prior eras must either be updated or completely abandoned. This article will briefly explain some of the inadequacies of prior top-down regimes, examine the shift towards a more bottom-up approach in UNFCCC negotiations, and elaborate on some of the strengths and weaknesses of this new approach.
A Leading Cause of Everything: One Industry That Is Destroying Our Planet and Our Ability to Thrive on It
By Christopher Hyner
Christopher Hyner is a 3L at Georgetown University Law Center, where he is a Managing Editor for the Georgetown Environmental Law Review. This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. Click here to see the original post and leave a comment.
Climate change. Ocean dead zones. Fisheries depletion. Species extinction. Deforestation. World hunger. Food safety. Heart disease. Obesity. Diabetes. The list goes on. There is one issue at the heart of all these global problems that is too often overlooked by private individuals and policy makers alike—our demand for and reliance on animal products. We can take a substantial step towards addressing all these problems simultaneously through reducing or eliminating our reliance on meat and dairy products. This begs the question — what are the United States’ major governmental environmental policy enforcers doing to address animal agriculture’s contribution to climate change, if anything? This piece briefly highlights two things: (1) animal agriculture is a leading cause of many major environmental problems we face globally and domestically—most importantly, climate change; and (2) animal agriculture is too often left out of the policy discussion.
About the ELRS:
The Environmental Law Review Syndicate (ELRS) is a collaborative effort of the nation’s leading environmental law journals that provides an outlet for student scholarship and fosters academic. ELRS operates as a cooperative syndicate: each week a different student submission is selected for publication on the websites of all member law reviews.