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The New York State Energy Plan, announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2015, calls for a doubling to 50 percent of the portion of the electricity used in the state that comes from renewable sources by 2030. This would lower greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, and reduce the use of fossil fuels, especially natural gas. Much of this new renewable energy would be generated by wind and solar projects. Some of it would be from wind facilities to be built offshore in the Atlantic Ocean; the rest would be on the land. Various federal and state incentives and mandates, as well as declining costs, have induced private developers to propose large onshore wind and solar farms. However, a number of upstate and Long Island municipalities have adopted or are considering local laws that would inhibit this construction and thus make it more difficult for the state to meet its renewable energy goals. As state statute, Article X of the Public Service Law, allows the state to override these local laws. This column discusses the history and contents of Article X, the case law under it and its predecessors, and how it can be used to help the construction of renewable energy facilities.
On June 20, 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in "American Electric Power v. Connecticut." This is the second climate change case to be decided by that court and the first to concern common law claims, where the plaintiffs claimed that the greenhouse gases from power plants constitute a common law nuisance, and asked the court to issue an injunction requiring the plants to reduce their emissions. The Supreme Court ruled that these kinds of disputes do not belong in the courts, and that the problems of climate change are so diffuse and nonspecific that no one has standing to go to court to challenge any governmental failure to act. This decision resolves a few issues but left many others open including: 1) whether the Supreme Court's decision bars all federal common law nuisance claims, or only those that sought injunctive relief and 2) whether the Clean Air Act preempts state public nuisance litigation over GHGs. The Supreme Court ruling along with the ensuing climate change litigations, such as challenges to federal regulations, state regulations, coal plants, and environmental impact reviews, are the subject of this report.
There have been numerous reports of Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") arresting people across the United States.
On August 28, 2017, low-wage workers in St. Louis, Missouri, became the latest victims of state preemption laws. "Preemption" in this context refers to a situation in which a state law is enacted to block a local ordinance from taking effect - or dismantle an existing ordinance. In this case, St. Louis had raised its minimum wage above the state minimum - but was then forced to lower it back down when the Missouri state legislature preempted the local ordinance. Ironically, state preemption of labor standards has historically been used for good: to ensure that minimum labor standards are applied statewide. It is only in recent years that it has been so frequently used to take earnings and protections away from workers. This report looks at the rising use of preemption by state legislatures to undercut local labor standards.
This is a case study of the Localism Act of 2011 in England, which affords a series of community rights to localities that self-organize. Rights include formulation of a separate development plan and building community facilities outside of the mandate of the federal government. This creates opportunities for locally led initiatives rather than top down edicts. The document provides details of different types of initiatives and some of the barriers that the initiatives have faced in England. Authors hypothesize that US communities with existing infrastructure may be better able to implement Localism.
Lean Urbanism uses Pilot Projects to improve communities through incremental, reflexive processes that utilize Lean Urbanism tools to identify existing underutilized assets. Pilot projects can provide valuable information to refine and adjust tools, and to identify common obstacles and barriers to development. These projects can help build a roadmap for other communities wishing to use lean urbanism principles to improve their neighborhoods.
Our nation’s local elected leaders work tirelessly every day to reflect their city’s values and represent community members. These leaders represent the level of government closest to the people they govern, and they focus on the critical issues that matter to the people of this great nation. In this updated 2018 edition of City Rights in an Era of Preemption we are continuing to observe aggressive moves by state legislatures nationwide to usurp local authority. Ultimately, people who live in cities want control over their own destinies. But when states seek blanket policies that run counter to the values of its cities, local leaders do not stand down.
The power of local governments to pass laws that protect the health, safety and welfare of their citizens is waning and under increasing attack. Over the past four years, a historic number of local interference (preemption) bills have been filed and passed in state capitals across the country. Over time, these bills, crafted to strip local governments of their power to act on everything from fracking bans to anti-discrimination measures, have become wider in scope and more hostile to home rule. More industries and special interest groups now consider preemption a legislative imperative, including the oil and gas industry and groups opposing LGBTQ rights.
Coordinated messaging from industry lobbyists and state legislators who support preemption is similar or identical across issues and states. This document lays out a number of predictable pro-preemption statements or messages, followed by accurate messages you can use to refute them, or to counter them in advance.
Many policies that help make healthier foods available to families start locally. But what if your state lawmakers suddenly passed legislation that took away the ability of community members, city councils, school districts, and counties to help prevent heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes? Some states have already passed laws that stop, limit, or discourage local communities from enacting commonsense policy solutions that help create environments where families have increased access to healthy foods; positive changes for communities that are proven to help all kids grow up at a healthy weight and prevent disease.