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Equitable Electrification: Could City and State Policies Aggravate Energy Insecurity?

Progressive cities and states have begun enacting policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, one of the leading sources of such emissions in the United States. The same jurisdictions have also generally committed to pursuing decarbonization equitably, without exacerbating the disadvantages faced by historically marginalized communities. Electrification is currently a favored policy for decarbonizing buildings. This Article examines the potential for building electrification to impact tenant energy costs through a case study of New York City.

Financially Equivalent but Behaviorally Distinct? Pollution Tax and Cap-and-Trade Negotiations

Economic theory suggests that pollution tax and cap-and-trade regulations can be functionally equivalent. Environmentalists tend to prefer the firm emissions cap in cap-and-trade programs, while economists and business interests tend to prefer the price certainty of tax programs. But both may be overlooking behavioral distinctions between the two policies. Using a novel randomized case experiment, this Article tests whether the framing changes negotiated policies.

Achieving “Some” Upfront Certainty and Resolve in Superfund Settlements

Superfund practitioners are waiting to see whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will designate perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate, two chemicals in the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) group, as CERCLA hazardous substances. Such a designation may lead to selected remedies being modified and further work being required at Superfund sites where remedies were believed to be complete. This Article explores potential future liability by reviewing provisions of the 2021 Remedial Design/Remedial Action (RD/RA) Model Consent Decree.

Beyond Bake Sales: Environmental Justice Through Superfund Removal Actions

This Comment provides a basic introduction to the Superfund removal program, a program through which millions of dollars are allocated through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 10 regional offices each year for cleaning up contaminated sites that are not designated “Superfund” sites, and particularly encourages consideration of Superfund removals to address growing concerns for environmental justice.

The Acceleration of Climate Creep: The Court Crashes, Congress Surges

This Comment takes up two recent conflicting developments: the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, which was designed to undercut present and future federal climate action, and Congress’ surprising countermove passing climate legislation in the form of the Inflation Reduction Act, which has dramatically accelerated development of the rule of law around climate change in the United States.

Analyzing West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency

On the final day of the 2021-2022 term, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. The majority (6-3) opinion limited the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants under Clean Air Act §111(d), in part by invoking the “major questions doctrine.” The decision has implications for EPA’s authority both to regulate emissions from stationary sources and to regulate greenhouse gases more broadly.

Washington: Climate Change

The Department of Ecology proposed to adopt California’s Advanced Clean Cars II rule to increase the sales of zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) in the state; adopt California's heavy-duty engine and vehicle omnibus rules; establish a credit system for ZEV sales; and institute a one-time fleet reporting requirement. A hearing will be held October 12, 2022. Comments are due October 19, 2022. See https://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/law/wsr/2022/18/22-18-103.htm.

Ohio: Waste

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency proposed to adopt regulations concerning solid waste incinerators and solid waste energy recovery facilities. The regulations would provide procedures for the construction, operation, and closure of solid waste incinerators and solid waste energy recovery facilities. A hearing will be held October 26, 2022. Comments are due the same date. See https://www.registerofohio.state.oh.us/hearings/hearingsSearch/results/809642/340424.

Massachusetts: Toxic Substances

The Department of Environmental Protection proposed to adopt 310 Mass. Code Regs. 78.00. The proposed regulation would prohibit the sale, distribution, and importation into Massachusetts of products containing certain chemical flame retardants. A hearing will be held October 11, 2022. Comments are due October 25, 2022. See https://www.sec.state.ma.us/spr/sprpub/091622b.pdf.

Massachusetts: Climate Change

The Department of Environmental Protection proposed to adopt 310 Mass. Code Regs. 7.41. The proposed regulation would require certain owners of medium- and heavy-duty (MHD) vehicle fleets to submit a one-time report, enabling the Department to assess the best way to develop electric vehicle charging infrastructure to accelerate the MHD zero emission vehicle market in Massachusetts. A hearing will be held October 4, 2022. Comments are due October 14, 2022. See https://www.sec.state.ma.us/spr/sprpub/091622a.pdf.