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In this piece, Michael B. Gerrard comments on an article by Thomas D. Peterson, Robert B. McKinstry Jr., and John C. Dernbach which held two central insights: (1) Any serious national effort to control emissions of greenhouse gases must continue to leave important roles to the states; and (2) It would be a mistake to put too many eggs in the cap-and-trade basket. Although Gerrard agrees with these insights, he has reservations about the authors' proposal to use the mechanism of national ambient air quality standards and state implementation plans as a way to give states the vital roles they deserve. In discussing alternative methods to this, Gerrard delves into the topics of state action, the national ambient air quality standards, state implementation plans, and lastly, alternative approaches to state roles.
In 2010, Jonathan Cannon, Michael Vandenbergh, and Michael B. Gerrard planned the conference entitled "Implementing Climate Change Policy" which was aimed at discussing the implementation challenges posed by several pathways to climate regulation. In preparation for this conference, Michael B. Gerrard outlines various implementation strategies for comprehensive climate change policy. In doing so, Gerrard points to four different paths forward for climate change regulation in the United States: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule-making; legislation; state and regional regulation; and litigation. Lastly, Gerrard point to the potential success of climate change policy if these four different pathways are combined and completed together.
The high point of congressional support for comprehensive climate change legislation came on June 26, 2009, when the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy Security Act by a vote of 219 to 212. For several years the proponents of climate regulation have pinned their hopes on Congress. Now, the principal action is shifting to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the courts and the states, though important questions will still be faced by Congress. This column surveys what is likely to happen with climate regulation without any congressional action. The author highlights the topics of renewable electricity, EPA action, state and regional action, litigation, and international agreements.
Litigation aiming to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases is coming to be dominated by battles over coal-fired power plants. Ten of the last 20 judicial or administrative decisions or case filings in matters aiming to reduce emissions of Greenhouse Gasses (GHGs) have concerned such plants. This column discusses the most recent legal developments concerning coal plants, including those on the regulatory and legislative fronts. Specifically, the author points to legal developments in the areas of air pollution litigation, regulatory activity, and congressional activity.
The courts decided 46 cases under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in 2018. However, the most important action under SEQRA was in the Legislature, followed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. This column analyzes these developments, specifically looking at legislative action, administrative action, and judicial action under SEQRA, as well as SEQRA's statutes of limitations.
Environmental impact statements (EISs) examine the effect of proposed action- typically a construction project, but sometimes a government policy or other activity- on the environment. However, increasing attention is now devoted to looking in the other direction- at how changes in the environment might affect a project. This article explores the protocols that various government agencies have issued for reverse environmental impact analysis. It then discusses one pending case on the issue involving the California Environmental Quality Act. Then, it reports on a survey that investigated whether and how reverse environmental impact analysis is being performed in recent EISs. And lastly, it summarizes this analysis in a number of EISs.
This publication is a part of a broader project to strengthen legal capacities in Mexico regarding climate mitigation and the transition to a low carbon economy. This publication presents a full English translation of Mexico's General Climate Change Law and sets the stage for deeper discussion on what the law requires and what it means moving forward. In addition to this, this piece provides a series of short legal commentaries that identify both the challenges and opportunities presented through the General Law on Climate Change. Lastly, this publication identifies a wide range of questions, concerns, and risks associated with the still uncertain framework laid out in the General Law on Climate Change, but it also highlights opportunities and optimism, and signifies an opportunity for bi-lateral collaboration around these topics.
This legal guide provides a practical cross-border insight into environment and climate change law oriented towards the international business community. It discusses a range of topics including, but not limited to, contaminated land, waste, liabilities, asbestos, and emissions trading.
In recent months, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has started a campaign to pass legislation that would give voters the chance to approve a $3 billion environmental bond act. The 'Restore Mother Nature Bond Act' is designed to complement New York's ambitious Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act by providing funds for the Department of Environmental Conservation and others, to support nature-based projects that mitigate flood risks, restore natural habitats and improve storm resiliency. In this column, the authors examine the background to, and purposes of, the nascent Restore Mother Nature Bond Act. In addition to this, they also discuss constitutional challenges and funding issues associated with the act.
To evaluate initial success of California's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund program in assisting underserved communities tackle climate change,, The Greenlining Institute examined 10 projects: nine already funded and one that is eligible for funding. These case studies provide an early snapshot of the Fund’s impact and suggest ways the program might be improved. These 10 projects alone will provide over 2,000 solar power systems for low- income families generating nearly six megawatts of clean power, plant 2,250 trees in disadvantaged communities, provide 252 homes permanently-affordable to lower income households, create over 400 jobs and replace 600 old, highly polluting cars and trucks with clean electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.