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Full-Text Articles in Law

Roles For State Energy Regulators In Climate Change Mitigation , Brandon Hofmeister Sep 2012

Roles For State Energy Regulators In Climate Change Mitigation , Brandon Hofmeister

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The construction of new power plants in the United States carries the risk of significantly contributing to global climate change. After concluding that the current federal regulatory response to climate change risks from power plants is inadequate, this Article examines three potential roles for state energy regulators to play as a bridge climate mitigation strategy until a cohesive federal policy is enacted. State energy regulators have received relatively little attention as potential climate change regulators, but they are well positioned to analyze and mitigate climate change risks from new power plants. The Article considers the advantages and drawbacks of state ...


Environmental Aesthetics And Free Speech: Toward A Consistent Content Neutrality Standard For Outdoor Sign Regulation , Brian J. Connolly Sep 2012

Environmental Aesthetics And Free Speech: Toward A Consistent Content Neutrality Standard For Outdoor Sign Regulation , Brian J. Connolly

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

First Amendment challenges by billboard companies and other sign owners to local sign regulations have become a frequent occurrence in the past thirty years. The stakes are high for both commercial sign owners and local governments. Sign control has emerged as an important front in the environmental protection movement, as it focuses on the visual or scenic quality of the environment. Courts have begun to recognize and accept local governments’ interest in controlling the proliferation of signage as part of their efforts to improve environmental quality, but courts have applied First Amendment doctrine in an inconsistent manner. The courts’ inconsistent ...


Rulemaking Vs. Democracy: Judging And Nudging Public Participation That Counts , Cynthia R. Farina, Mary Newhart, Josiah Heidt, Cornell Erulemaking Initiative Sep 2012

Rulemaking Vs. Democracy: Judging And Nudging Public Participation That Counts , Cynthia R. Farina, Mary Newhart, Josiah Heidt, Cornell Erulemaking Initiative

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

This Article considers how open government “magical thinking” around technology has infused efforts to increase public participation in rulemaking. We propose a framework for assessing the value of technology-enabled rulemaking participation and offer specific principles of participation-system design, which are based on conceptual work and practical experience in the Regulation Room project at Cornell University. An underlying assumption of open government enthusiasts is that more public participation will lead to better government policymaking: If we use technology to give people easier opportunities to participate in public policymaking, they will use these opportunities to participate effectively. However, experience thus far with ...


Judicial Limitation Of The Epa's Oversight Authority In Clean Water Act Permitting Of Mountaintop Mining Valley Fills , Christopher D. Eaton Sep 2012

Judicial Limitation Of The Epa's Oversight Authority In Clean Water Act Permitting Of Mountaintop Mining Valley Fills , Christopher D. Eaton

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Mountaintop removal mining operations in the Appalachian region have expanded significantly in recent decades. The practice decimates the mountain ecosystems by leveling forests, filling headwater streams, and producing significant runoff of heavy metals, sediment, and other pollutants that impair the aquatic environment of entire watersheds. Yet environmental permitting of the practice is relatively limited. A recent trend in litigation aimed at halting mining operations has involved challenging permits that authorize the discharge of mining overburden into headwater streams pursuant to the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Army Corps of Engineers has assumed jurisdiction over such discharges under section 404 of ...


The $1.75 Trillion Lie, Lisa Heinzerling, Frank Ackerman Jan 2012

The $1.75 Trillion Lie, Lisa Heinzerling, Frank Ackerman

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

A 2010 study commissioned by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration claims that federal regulations impose annual economic costs of $1.75 trillion. This estimate has been widely circulated, in everything from op-ed pages to Congressional testimony. But the estimate is not credible. For costs of economic regulations, the estimate reflects a calculation that rests on a misunderstanding of the definition of the relevant data, flunks an elementary question on the normal distribution, pads the analysis with several years of near-identical data, and fails to recognize the difference between correlation and causation. For costs of ...


Enhancing Public Access To Online Rulemaking Information, Cary Coglianese Jan 2012

Enhancing Public Access To Online Rulemaking Information, Cary Coglianese

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

One of the most significant powers exercised by federal agencies is their power to make rules. Given the importance of agency rulemaking, the process by which agencies develop rules has long been subject to procedural requirements aiming to advance democratic values of openness and public participation. With the advent of the digital age, government agencies have engaged in increasing efforts to make rulemaking information available online as well as to elicit public participation via electronic means of communication. How successful are these efforts? How might they be improved? In this article, I investigate agencies’ efforts to make rulemaking information available ...


Deruglatory Riders Redux, Thomas O, Mcgarity Jan 2012

Deruglatory Riders Redux, Thomas O, Mcgarity

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Soon after the 2010 elections placed the Republican Party in control of the House of Representatives, the House took up a number of deregulatory bills. Recognizing that deregulatory legislation had little chance of passing the Senate, which remained under the control of the Democratic Party, or of being signed by President Obama, the House leadership reprised a strategy adopted by the Republican leaders during the 104th Congress in the 1990s. The deregulatory provisions were attached as riders to much-needed legislation in an attempt to force the Senate and the President to accept the deregulatory riders to avoid the adverse consequences ...


The Case For Abolishing Centralized White House Regulatory Review , Rena Steinzor Jan 2012

The Case For Abolishing Centralized White House Regulatory Review , Rena Steinzor

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

A series of catastrophic regulatory failures have focused attention on the weakened condition of regulatory agencies assigned to protect public health, worker and consumer safety, and the environment. The destructive convergence of funding shortfalls, political attacks, and outmoded legal authority have set the stage for ineffective enforcement, unsupervised industry self-regulation, and a slew of devastating and preventable catastrophes. From the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the worst mining disaster in forty years at the Big Branch mine in West Virginia, the signs of regulatory dysfunction abound. Many stakeholders expected that President Barack Obama would recognize and ...


What The Return Of The Administrative Conference Of The United States Means For Administrative Law, Paul R. Verkuil Jan 2012

What The Return Of The Administrative Conference Of The United States Means For Administrative Law, Paul R. Verkuil

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Administrative law, writ large, is about the way agencies behave, and how other institutions and the public react to that behavior. By promulgating rules, adjudicating cases and claims, enforcing statutes, providing guidance, collaborating with interest groups, exercising discretion, and so forth, agencies manage and implement the business of government.1 They do this under the auspices of the Executive Branch, but the other branches assert authority over the agencies as well. Congress does so by legislating, budgeting, and overseeing, while the courts do so by interpreting statutes and requiring rational behavior from agencies. These important and essential activities fill many ...


A Functional Approach To Risks And Uncertainties Under Nepa , Todd S. Aagaard Jan 2012

A Functional Approach To Risks And Uncertainties Under Nepa , Todd S. Aagaard

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) mandates that federal agencies evaluate the environmental impacts of their proposed actions. This requires agencies to make ex ante predictions about environmental consequences that often involve a significant degree of factual risk or uncertainty. Considerable controversy exists regarding how agencies should address such risks and uncertainties. Current NEPA law adopts a largely ad hoc approach that lacks coherence and analytical rigor. Some environmentalists and legal scholars have called for a greater emphasis on worst-case analysis in environmental planning, especially after the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the meltdowns ...


Is A Substantive, Non-Positivist United States Environmental Law Possible?, Dan Tarlock Jan 2012

Is A Substantive, Non-Positivist United States Environmental Law Possible?, Dan Tarlock

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

U.S. environmental law is almost exclusively positive and procedural. The foundation is the pollution control and biodiversity conservation statutes enacted primarily between 1969–1980 and judicial decisions interpreting them. This law has created detailed processes for making decisions but has produced few substantive constraints on private and public decisions which impair the environment. Several substantive candidates have been proposed, such as the common law, a constitutional right to a healthy environment, the public trust, and the extension of rights to fauna and flora. However, these candidates have not produced the hoped for substantive law. Many argue that a substantive ...


Text(Plus-Other-Stuff)Ualism:Textualists' Perplexing Use Of The Attorney General's Manual On The Administrative Procedure Act, K. M. Lewis Jan 2012

Text(Plus-Other-Stuff)Ualism:Textualists' Perplexing Use Of The Attorney General's Manual On The Administrative Procedure Act, K. M. Lewis

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Textualist judges, such as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, are well known for their outspoken, adamant refusal to consult legislative history and its analogues when interpreting ambiguous provisions of statutory terms. Nevertheless, in administrative law cases, textualist judges regularly quote the Attorney General’s Manual on the Administrative Procedure Act, an unenacted Department of Justice document that shares all the characteristics of legislative history that textualists find odious: unreliability, bias, and failure to pass through the bicameralism and presentment processes mandated by the U.S. Constitution. As a result, judges that rely on the Manual in administrative law ...