Posts tagged as:

climate change

Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on July 14, 2014

  • California resists idea of charging market-clearing rate for water — too much like economics — and instead encourages tattling on neighbors [New York Times, Coyote]
  • Academia smitten by notion of “climate reparations” [Peter Wood, Minding the Campus]
  • Costly market intervention: “Minnesota doubles down on nation’s top biodiesel law” [Watchdog]
  • Reusable grocery bags have their problems for sanitation and otherwise, but California contemplates banning the alternatives [Katherine Mangu-Ward, Steven Greenhut, Reason]
  • Coming: film about Kelo v. City of New London eminent domain case [Nick Gillespie, Ilya Somin]
  • 45 years later: the famous 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga became a fable for its age [Jonathan Adler on the Cuyahoga]
  • Should beachfront owners have to open their land to all comers? [NY Times "Room for Debate"]
  • Plus: “EPA has no business garnishing wages without due process” [Examiner editorial, earlier]

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In a complex decision yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down in part and upheld in part the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to regulate large emitters of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) [McClatchy/Federalist Society]. A key portion of the holding, writes Jonathan Adler at Volokh, is the finding that the EPA

is not permitted to rewrite the applicable statutory emission thresholds. The latter conclusion, in particular, is an important reaffirmation that agencies are not allowed to rewrite the statutes that they administer. But today’s decision was not a total loss for the EPA, however, as the Court also concluded that it was reasonable for the EPA to interpret the Act to allow for the regulation of GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions from sources already subject to regulation under the PSD and Title V [large stationary source] program. What this means is that large stationary sources (think big power plants and industrial boilers) that are already regulated as major stationary sources under these programs will have to control GHG emissions when they control other emissions. But sources that only emit large amounts of GHGs will not become subject to EPA’s regulatory authority under these provisions.

From my colleague Andrew Grossman at Cato:

At issue was one of the Obama Administration’s earliest efforts to skirt Congress and achieve its major policy goals unilaterally through aggressive executive action….

Autocrat tea bag
The Court, in a lead opinion by Justice Scalia, called it “patently unreasonable—not to say outrageous.” EPA, it held, must abide by the statute: “An agency has no power to ‘tailor’ legislation to bureaucratic policy goals by rewriting unambiguous statutory terms.” And if such tailoring is required to avoid a plainly “absurd result” at odds with congressional intentions, then obviously there is obviously something wrong with the agency’s interpretation of the statute. To hold otherwise, the Court recognized, “would deal a severe blow to the Constitution’s separation of powers” by allowing the executive to revise Congress’s handiwork. …

The Court’s decision may be a prelude of more to come. Since the Obama Administration issued its first round of greenhouse gas regulations, it has become even more aggressive in wielding executive power so as to circumvent the need to work with Congress on legislation. That includes recent actions on such issues as immigration, welfare reform, and drug enforcement.

Four liberal justices dissented, while Justices Alito and Thomas argued that the Scalia-led plurality were too accommodating of the EPA’s assertion of power.

If a thin-skinned academic sues a magazine for criticizing him too harshly, and you find yourself hoping the magazine will get sued into bankruptcy because you disagree with its views, you might not want to claim for yourself the honorable word liberal [Damon Linker/The Week, Stephen Carter/Bloomberg, Eugene Volokh on role of libel insurance, earlier here, here, etc.]

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International law roundup

by Walter Olson on January 6, 2014

A chance for left-right policy alliance might have been missed here ["David Hume," Secular Right; Coyote]

Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on June 13, 2013

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Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on May 8, 2013

  • Can EPA use subregulatory guidance to dodge judicial review of formal notice-and-comment rulemaking? Appeals court says no [Allison Wood, WLF]
  • “Outhouse blues: Salisbury Twp. tells 77-year-old to install $20,000 septic system he doesn’t want” [Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Online]
  • Denying attorney fee in oil spill case, Texas judge questions authenticity of client signature [ABA Journal, Chamber-backed Southeast Texas Record]
  • Why “climate justice” campaigns fail both the environment and the poor [Chris Foreman, The Breakthrough]
  • Does the Yale Alumni Magazine often side with plaintiffs who sue to muzzle critics? [Neela Banerjee on Michael Mann lawsuit against National Review, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Mark Steyn, etc.]
  • Anti-science, anti-humanity: Milan animal rights action trashes years of psychiatric research [Nature]
  • Parody Tom-Friedman-bot must be at it again: “best place to start” response to Boston attack “is with a carbon tax” [Tim Blair] Too darn hot: “Dems warn climate change could drive women to ‘transactional sex’” [The Hill]
  • Some California lawmakers seek to curb shakedown lawsuits under notorious Prop 65 chemical-labeling law [Sacramento Bee; Gov. Brown proposes reform]

Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on January 17, 2013

Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on November 30, 2012

  • As wildlife policy goes wrong, it’s guano on the rocks for La Jolla [Matt Welch, language]
  • Georgia-Pacific West vs. NEDC: “Millions of jobs at stake in logging case” [David Hampton, Wash. Times; Henry Miller, Forbes]
  • Ontario environment ministry won’t investigate complaint of noise from neighbor’s basketball play [National Post, earlier]
  • Maryland: Following state mandate, Howard County prepares to stifle farmland development without compensation [HoCoRising]
  • Role of local government structure: “New England vs. Midwest Culture” [George Mattei, Urbanophile]
  • More re: suits vs. utilities over Sandy outages [Bloomberg (Long Island), NJ.com] Pre-Sandy, NY pols kicked around Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) for decades [Nicole Gelinas/ NYP]
  • “Reckless Endangerment: Global Warming in the Courts” [Michael Greve, Liberty and Law] Various interest groups have already locked themselves into EPA’s jury-rigged scheme to limit carbon emissions [Greve]

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Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on October 29, 2012

  • Climate prof Michael Mann sues critics including National Review, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Mark Steyn, and Rand Simberg [Ken at Popehat, Scientific American, Ted Frank (noting Ars Technica's fair-weather disapproval of SLAPP suits), Adler and more]
  • California polls show once-massive support for Prop 37 ebbing away; is there any major newspaper in the state that likes the measure? [L.A. Times, San Jose Mercury News, San Diego U-T; earlier here, here, etc.] Views of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on the general question of genetic modification labeling [statement, PDF] Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution refutes predictably lame views of Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan (stance tactfully assessed as “mood affiliation”) and discusses the impact on pesticide use with Greg Conko; more from WLF. At least Prop 37 has Michelle Lerach, hmmm [No on 37]
  • “So the two technologies most reliably and stridently opposed by the environmental movement—genetic modification and fracking—have been the two technologies that most reliably cut carbon emissions.” [Matt Ridley, WSJ]
  • “Texas v. EPA Litigation Scorecard” [Josiah Neeley, Texas Public Policy Foundation, PDF]
  • High-visibility public chemophobe Nicholas Kristof turns his garish and buzzing searchlight on formaldehyde [Angela Logomasini, CEI]
  • Per its terms, new ordinance in Yellow Springs, Ohio, “recognizes the legally enforceable Rights of Nature to exist and flourish. Residents of the village shall possess legal standing to enforce those rights on behalf of natural communities and ecosystems.” [Wesley Smith, NRO]
  • How EPA regulates without rulemaking: sue-and-settle, guidance documents, emergency powers [Ryan Young and Wayne Crews, CEI]

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  • EPA continues crackdown on older-home renovation in the name of lead paint caution [Angela Logomasini, earlier, see also re: lab testing]
  • Solyndra’s many enablers: 127 in House GOP just backed federal energy loan guarantees [Tad DeHaven/Cato]
  • “In defense of genetically modified crops” [Mother Jones, no kidding] “How California’s GMO Labeling Law Could Limit Your Food Choices and Hurt the Poor” [Steve Sexton, Freakonomics]
  • “EPA fines oil refiners for failing to use nonexistent biofuel” [Howard Portnoy, Hot Air]
  • Consultant eyed in Chevron-Ecuador case [PoL] Radio campaign targets conservatives on behalf of trial lawyers’ side [Fowler/NRO] Lawyer suing Chevron: “We are delivering a bunch of checks to [NY Comptroller] DiNapoli today” [NYP]
  • Getting taxpayers off the hook: Congress might curb flood insurance subsidies [Mark Calabria/Cato]
  • “Lessons from British Columbia’s Carbon Tax” [Adler]

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Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on June 20, 2012

  • Nebraska Sen. Johanns proposes bill to curb EPA surveillance overflights (which, contrary to some erroneous reports going around, are manned flights) [Daily Caller, earlier]
  • “Time to Discard the Precautionary Principle at the CPSC” [Nancy Nord]
  • Victimology beats science with 9/11 dust fund [Point of Law, ACSH] Two NYC plaintiff’s firms fight over $50 million in 9/11-responder fees [Reuters]
  • “Court dismisses climate change ‘public trust’ suit” [Katie Owens, WLF]
  • Erin Brockovich promotes Fridley, Minnesota cancer cluster, local man “eager to hear” her spiel [StarTrib, earlier]
  • Jonathan Adler guestblogs on environmental policy at The Atlantic [Volokh]
  • Businesses’ donations on environmental advocacy? Never trust content from “Union of Concerned Scientists” [Ron Bailey]
  • Talking back to “Gasland,” the anti-fracking advocacy flick [Ron Bailey and more, Mark Perry, Business Week on local economic impact]

February 24 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 24, 2012

  • Melissa Kite, columnist with Britain’s Spectator, writes about her low-speed car crash and its aftermath [first, second, third, fourth]
  • NYT’s Nocera lauds Keystone pipeline, gets called “global warming denier” [NYTimes] More about foundations’ campaign to throttle Alberta tar sands [Coyote] Regulations mandating insurance “disclosures” provide another way for climate change activists to stir the pot [Insurance and Technology]
  • “Cop spends weeks to trick an 18-year-old into possession and sale of a gram of pot” [Frauenfelder, BB]
  • Federal Circuit model order, pilot program could show way to rein in patent e-discovery [Inside Counsel, Corporate Counsel] December Congressional hearing on discovery costs [Lawyers for Civil Justice]
  • Trial lawyer group working with Senate campaigns in North Dakota, Nevada, Wisconsin, Hawaii [Rob Port via LNL] President of Houston Trial Lawyers Association makes U.S. Senate bid [Chron]
  • Panel selection: “Jury strikes matter” [Ron Miller, Maryland Injury]
  • Law-world summaries/Seventeen syllables long/@legal_haiku (& for a similar treatment of high court cases, check out @SupremeHaiku)

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January 26 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 26, 2012

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The official Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is menacing businesses with audits, “substantiation notices” and potentially stiff fines if they tell customers — even over the phone or in emails — that future price hikes on goods or services are the result of the nation’s newly adopted carbon tax. I discuss at Cato at Liberty (& Mark Hemingway, Weekly Standard).

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August 3 roundup

by Walter Olson on August 3, 2011

  • Central Falls, R.I. lands in bankruptcy court [NYT; my Cato take]
  • Less efficient patdowns? Man with one arm files complaint after being turned down as TSA inspector [MSNBC via Hyman]
  • Don’t join the Mommy Mob [Ken at Popehat]
  • Montana high court upholds failure-to-warn verdict against maker of aluminum baseball bat [PoL link roundup, Russell Jackson; earlier here and here]
  • Finally some good news from Connecticut: state enacts law protecting municipalities from lawsuits over recreational land use [BikeRag; earlier here, etc.]
  • Claim: climate-change tort suits will require radical changes in tort law and that’s a good thing [Douglas Kysar (Yale), SSRN]
  • Attorney keen to go on TV, will take any case, either side [Balko]

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July 7 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 7, 2011

  • Correct result, yet potential for mischief in latest SCOTUS climate ruling [Ilya Shapiro/Cato, my earlier take]
  • Wouldn’t even want to guess: how the Howard Stern show handles sexual harassment training [Hyman]
  • Philadelphia: $21 million award against emergency room handling noncompliant patient [Kennerly]
  • Antitrust assault on Google seems geared to protect competitors more than consumers [Josh Wright]
  • “They knew there was a risk!” Curb your indignation please [Coyote]
  • Theme issue of Reason magazine on failures of criminal justice system is now online;
  • “Why Your New Car Doesn’t Have a Spare Tire” [Sam Kazman, WSJ]

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May 20 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 20, 2011

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