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April 16, 2015 by Matthew Freeman

CPR Announces Appointment of New President: Robert R.M. Verchick

Rena Steinzor Steps Down after Seven Years at Helm, Succeeded by Loyola  University New Orleans College of Law Professor, Former EPA Official 

The board of directors of the Center for Progressive Reform today announced the appointment of Robert R.M. Verchick to be the organization’s third president, succeeding Rena Steinzor, who has served in the post for the past seven years.

Verchick holds the Gauthier~St. Martin Eminent Scholar Chair in Environmental Law at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, and is also the Faculty Director of Loyola’s Center for Environmental Law. In addition, he is a Senior Fellow in Disaster Resilience Leadership at Tulane University. He is an expert in climate change law, disaster law, and environmental regulation. In 2009 and 2010, he served as Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In that role he helped develop climate adaptation policy for the EPA and served on President Obama's Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. In the fall of 2012, he researched climate adaptation policies in India as a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, supported by a Fulbright Award.

Verchick succeeds Professor Rena Steinzor …

April 15, 2015 by James Goodwin
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This morning, the House Judiciary Committee is holding a markup on the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015, or REINS Act (H.R. 427).  Even among the many extreme antiregulatory bills that Congress has considered this session, the REINS Act still stands out for its breathtaking audacity.  If enacted, this bill would block the most important environmental, safety, and public health regulations from taking effect unless Congress affirmatively approves them within the extraordinarily short period of 70 session days or legislative days.  It is not a stretch to say that many regulations that are now benefitting millions of Americans—such as those limiting lead in gasoline or requiring air bags in automobiles—would never have seen the light of day had the REINS Act been in place.  Versions of this bill have been introduced in both chambers of Congress over the last …

April 14, 2015 by James Goodwin
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Background:  Tomorrow, the full House Judiciary Committee will be holding a markup of the H.R. 1759, the All Economic Regulations are Transparent Act of 2015 (ALERT Act), sponsored by Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.).  The House of Representatives considered a similar bill during its last session.  (The hearing is also noteworthy, because the committee will be marking up H.R. 427, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015, or REINS Act.  For more information on the REINS Act, see here.)

What the ALERT Act does:  The bill would impose a series of new burdensome reporting requirements on agencies and the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) regarding the progress and impacts of the agencies’ pending rulemakings.  Once a month, agencies would have to provide detailed information about any rules that they are working on, while OIRA would have to …

April 14, 2015 by Erin Kesler
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CPR Scholar and Georgetown University Law School professor William Buzbee testified at a House Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans Oversight hearing today entitled, Proposed Federal Water Grabs and Their Potential Impacts on States, Water, and Power Users, and Landowners.

The Hearing concerned the EPA and Army Corp of Engineers' proposed "Waters of The US," rule related to water pollution and agriculture.

According to his testimony:

The legal uncertainty of recent years about what are protected federal waters has benefitted no one. For those concerned about protection of America’s waters, regulatory uncertainty has led to regulatory forbearance, problematic or erroneous regulatory and judicial decisions, and increased regulatory costs. By now linking the “waters of the United States” question to peer reviewed science and clarifying which waters are subject to categorical or case-by-case protection and revealing the reasons for such judgments, the Corps and EPA have …

April 10, 2015 by Robert Glicksman
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As climate scientists have been telling us for years, and as all but the most obstinate climate deniers acknowledge, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels are contributing to climatic changes.  These changes have taken the form of melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, changes in wind and ocean current patterns, and increases in the frequency of severe weather events, to name but a few effects.  Rising temperatures linked to GHG emissions also exacerbate public health problems associated with the release of more conventional air pollutants, because temperature increases facilitate the formation of tropospheric ozone, which can cause breathing difficulties and cardiovascular problems.  It is not a stretch to characterize climate change as the most challenging environmental problem of our time.

Since taking office in 2009, the Obama Administration has taken important steps to reduce GHG emissions, both in the U.S. and through …

April 9, 2015 by Matt Shudtz
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Last year, the Center for Progressive Reform published Winning Safer Workplaces: A Manual for State & Local Policy Reform. The manual is intended as a tool for state and local advocates. It highlights successful local campaigns to adopt workplace safety policies, and offers a series of innovative proposals to help state and local advocates make headway even in the face of intense opposition from big-moneyed, anti-regulatory interests. We focused on cross-cutting ideas that will empower workers, ensure crime doesn’t pay, and strengthen the institutions that are meant to protect workers.

Our day-of-release blog post with more information is here.

Since its release, we’ve received positive feedback from many advocates about the manual. Among the suggestions that we heard was that the manual ought to be translated into Spanish. Today, we’re excited to announce that a Spanish-language version of the manual is available on our …

April 7, 2015 by Daniel Farber
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States will only lose out if they refuse to cooperate with the Clean Power Plan.

Mitch McConnell has urged states to refuse to submit plans if the Clean Power Plan is upheld by the Court.  He has been accused of inciting lawless behavior on the part of state governments.  Let me come to his defense on this.  (How often do I get to do that??) The states are under no legal obligation to submit plans.  The Clean Air Act does not require them to do so.  Coercing states to administer a federal regulatory program would violate the Constitution, at least as the current Court sees things.  So there’s nothing illegitimate about McConnell exercising his American right of free speech and advising them what to do.  The fact that he’s doing so presumably reflects his own inability as the leader of the Senate to do anything …

CPR HOMEPAGE
More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
April 29, 2015

The Horne Case and the Public Trust in Wildlife

April 27, 2015

The Merits of the Clean Power Plan Challenge: It all depends on Chevron

April 27, 2015

Workers Are Safer at Work, But Not as Safe as They Could and Should Be

April 23, 2015

Remember the Gulf Walrus! One Big Lesson from the BP Oil Spill

April 22, 2015

The First Earth Day and Current Political Gridlock

April 22, 2015

Urban Parks and the Public Trust Doctrine: A Pending New York Lawsuit and Its Implications

April 21, 2015

The Importance of the Murray Energy Case and Administrative Procedure