As I noted in my last post, 2019 brought a number of worrisome developments in regulatory policy. There were a few bright spots – most notably the positive attention public servants received for holding the Trump administration accountable. But, by and large, the most significant regulatory policy stories reflected the conservative movement’s successes in weakening the regulatory system. As a result, the threat to the future vitality of our system of safeguards – which we depend upon for our health and safety, the vitality of our economy, and the future of our planet – has never been greater. Here, in no particular order, are ten stories I will be following over the next year that could determine whether we will still have a regulatory system that is strong enough to promote fairness and accountability by preventing corporations from shifting the harmful effects of their activities onto innocent members of the public:
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” That pretty much sums up the ten years from January 2010 to January 2020.
As the decade began, Barrack Obama was in the White House and the Democrats controlled Congress but were one vote short of a filibuster-proof majority in the House. Under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, the Waxman-Markey bill had passed the House, but it never made it to a vote in the Senate. When the Democratic majority in the House was swept away in the 2010 elections, any possibility of federal climate legislation died for the rest of the decade.
The failure of climate legislation highlighted the importance of administrative action. In August 2012, following up on an early agreement with carmakers, the government issued a rule imposing an aggressive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles …
For many of us, the best way to characterize the past year in three words would be “too much news.” That sentiment certainly applies to the wonky backwater of the regulatory policy world. Today, that world looks much different than it did even just a year ago, and with still more rapid changes afoot, the cloud of uncertainty that now looms ominously over it doesn’t appear to be dissipating anytime soon. None of this is good for the health of our people, our democracy or our economy, and it’s certainly not good for the millions of working families struggling to keep their heads above water between paychecks.
Here, in no particular order, are 10 of the biggest developments from the past year that have contributed to this disquieting state of affairs.
Reposted by permission from the Environmental Law Prof Blog.
This morning E&E News reported that researchers from the Netherlands and the Environmental Defense Fund had quantified a massive natural gas leak at an Exxon-subsidiary-owned well in Ohio. According to the study, the well leaked around 60,000 tons of methane.
That made me wonder: what might the carbon tax bill for a leak like that be? The answer, of course, is $0, because neither the United States as a whole nor the state of Ohio has a carbon tax (or a cap-and-trade system that would also put a price on carbon). But what if we did, and what if the tax rate approached the social cost of carbon? How much would that one leak cost Exxon (and, of course, put into the United States treasury, for the benefit of the public)?
A rough answer is very simple …
Last week, my CPR colleagues and I were honored to be joined by dozens of fellow advocates and member of the press for a webinar that explored the recent CPR report, Regulation as Social Justice: A Crowdsourced Blueprint for Building a Progressive Regulatory System. Drawing on the ideas of more than 60 progressive advocates, this report provides a comprehensive, action-oriented agenda for building a progressive regulatory system. The webinar provided us with an opportunity to continue exploring these ideas, including the unique potential of the regulatory system as an institutional means for promoting a more just and equitable society.
Few organizations better illustrate this potential better than the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, so we were delighted to be joined at the top of the webinar by the organization's Founding Director, Anne Rolfes. Anne vividly described the work that the Louisiana Bucket Brigade is doing, empowering members of the …
Despite the efforts of the Trump administration, renewable energy has continued to thrive. Key states are imposing rigorous deadlines for reducing power generation from fossil fuels. Economic trends are also supporting renewables. In the first half of 2019, Texas produced more power from renewables than coal.
Texas may be content to rely on market forces, but other states are taking a more active hand in shaping their energy futures. Here are the new renewable energy mandates and targets of 2019: