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University of Colorado Law School

Energy and Utilities Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Structure Of U.S. Climate Policy, Michael Pappas Jan 2024

The Structure Of U.S. Climate Policy, Michael Pappas

Publications

Urgent emission reduction and community adaptation efforts are necessary to avert catastrophic climate-change harms. To assess our nation’s progress toward such efforts, this Article develops a comprehensive structural analysis of U.S. climate policy at the federal, state, and local levels. It observes that current climate policies reflect disparate federal, state, and local strategies around emissions regulation, emission reduction subsidies, adaptation, and liability approaches. The Article then analyzes the dynamics between federal, state, and local strategies in these policy areas.

This examination leads to some surprising conclusions. Under current policy alignments, further emission regulation measures do not appear to be realistic …


Carbon Pricing For A Just Transition, Jeff Todd Jan 2024

Carbon Pricing For A Just Transition, Jeff Todd

University of Colorado Law Review

The legal tools to avoid the potential disasters of climate change are already available, at least according to economists. Economists overwhelmingly prefer carbon pricing tools like carbon taxes and cap-and-trade programs to combat climate change and guide the energy transition. Carbon pricing is more cost effective at lowering carbon and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) than other legal options such as efficiency standards, renewable portfolio standards, subsidies, and tax credits and deductions. Unlike those other options, carbon pricing targets both the supply of and the demand for GHG-emitting products and services; moreover, it gives firms and consumers flexibility in how best …


Legal Asynchrony: Constitutional “Bridges” Inverting Elemental U.S. Technology, Steven Ferrey Jan 2024

Legal Asynchrony: Constitutional “Bridges” Inverting Elemental U.S. Technology, Steven Ferrey

University of Colorado Law Review

The 2022 Biden Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”) and the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”), together providing for an unprecedented $1.7 trillion in spending, were enacted to construct a sustainable legal U.S. exit ramp from what the Secretary-General of the United Nations recently described as a “highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.” This Article analyzes a critical legal missing link in these Acts that is now causing the U.S. economy to do the opposite of its intended climate change mitigation, given: • A necessary eight-fold increase in current renewable electric power, requiring adding the …


24/7 Clean Energy, Todd Aagaard Jan 2023

24/7 Clean Energy, Todd Aagaard

University of Colorado Law Review

In the face of the rapidly escalating climate crisis, the electricity sector is moving toward renewable energy. To date, policies and strategies have focused on increasing overall renewable energy generation, with little regard for timing and location. The result has been a misalignment of supply and demand in renewable energy markets. Renewable power projects produce energy when and where it is least expensive, leaving supply scarce at other times and places. Consumers, meanwhile, continue to use power when and where they need it. This mismatch increases the electricity grid’s dependence on fossil fuel–fired electricity to meet electricity demand at times …


The (Un)Just Use Of Transition Minerals: How Efforts To Achieve A Low-Carbon Economy Continue To Violate Indigenous Rights, Kathleen Finn, Christina A.W. Stanton Jan 2022

The (Un)Just Use Of Transition Minerals: How Efforts To Achieve A Low-Carbon Economy Continue To Violate Indigenous Rights, Kathleen Finn, Christina A.W. Stanton

Publications

No abstract provided.


Lumpy Social Goods In Energy Decarbonization: Why We Need More Than Just Markets For The Clean Energy Transition, Daniel E. Walters Jan 2022

Lumpy Social Goods In Energy Decarbonization: Why We Need More Than Just Markets For The Clean Energy Transition, Daniel E. Walters

University of Colorado Law Review

To avoid the worst consequences of global climate change, the United States must achieve daunting targets for decarbonizing its electric power sector on a very short timescale. Policy experts largely agree that achieving these goals will require massive investment in new infrastructure to facilitate the deep integration of renewable fuels into the electric grid, including a new national high-voltage electric transmission network and grid-scale electricity storage, such as batteries. However, spurring investment in these needed infrastructures has proven to be challenging, despite numerous attempts by regulators and policymakers to clear a path for market-driven investment. Unchecked, this problem threatens to …


Environmental Law, Disrupted By Covid-19, Rebecca Bratspies, Vanessa Casado Peréz, Robin Kundis Craig, Lissa Griffin, Sarah Krakoff, Keith Hirokawa, Katrina Kuh, Jessica Owley, Melissa Powers, Shannon Roesler, Jonathan Rosenbloom, J. B. Ruhl, Erin Ryan, David Takacs Jan 2021

Environmental Law, Disrupted By Covid-19, Rebecca Bratspies, Vanessa Casado Peréz, Robin Kundis Craig, Lissa Griffin, Sarah Krakoff, Keith Hirokawa, Katrina Kuh, Jessica Owley, Melissa Powers, Shannon Roesler, Jonathan Rosenbloom, J. B. Ruhl, Erin Ryan, David Takacs

Publications

For over a year, the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about systemic racial injustice have highlighted the conflicts and opportunities currently faced by environmental law. Scientists uniformly predict that environmental degradation, notably climate change, will cause a rise in diseases, disproportionate suffering among communities already facing discrimination, and significant economic losses. In this Article, members of the Environmental Law Collaborative examine the legal system’s responses to these crises, with the goal of framing opportunities to reimagine environmental law. The Article is excerpted from their book Environmental Law, Disrupted, to be published by ELI Press later this year.


Agency Genesis And The Energy Transition, Sharon B. Jacobs Jan 2021

Agency Genesis And The Energy Transition, Sharon B. Jacobs

Publications

Commentators and policymakers frequently propose new government agencies in response to novel or intractable problems. New agencies can refocus public attention on the problems they regulate. They can attract new talent and bypass calcified or captured channels. But they are also costly, and there is no guarantee that they will be more successful than their predecessors.

This Article examines agency genesis at the state level. In the process, it expands recent thinking about the administrative separation of powers to the states. At the federal level, setting up agency rivalries within the executive branch can be an effective tool for mitigating …


Streamlining Or Steamrolling: Oil And Gas Leasing Reform On Federal Public Lands In The Trump Administration, Marcilynn A. Burke Jan 2020

Streamlining Or Steamrolling: Oil And Gas Leasing Reform On Federal Public Lands In The Trump Administration, Marcilynn A. Burke

University of Colorado Law Review

No abstract provided.


Global Energy Poverty: The Relevance Of Faith And Reason, Lakshman Guruswamy Jan 2020

Global Energy Poverty: The Relevance Of Faith And Reason, Lakshman Guruswamy

Publications

The challenge of energy poverty (EP) primarily confronts the least developed countries (LDCs) of the world, located in Africa and Asia, but is also prevalent within segments of more advanced developing countries in Asia. This article will first delineate the nature of global energy poverty that results in the premature deaths of millions of people and leads to pervasive sickness among many more millions. The article will next sketch the legal and political responses to this problem that have generally applied principles of sustainable development (SD) and the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2015 adopted by the General Assembly …


Sustainable Development: Energy, Justice, And Women, Lakshman Guruswamy Jan 2019

Sustainable Development: Energy, Justice, And Women, Lakshman Guruswamy

Publications

This article will first offer a functional synopsis relevant to its remit, of the concept of sustainable development (SD) embodied in international law and policy that reflects a tension between economic and social claims as contrasted with environmental protection. While the dominant place acquired by the economic and social dimensions of SD will be recognized, it will argue consistent with the predicate of justice discussed in the article, that the protection of the human environment encompasses the plight of the energy poor and their women and children. Second, the article will delineate the contours of one of the great developmental …


Electricity Competition And The Public Good: Rethinking Markets And Monopolies, Jonas J. Monast Jan 2019

Electricity Competition And The Public Good: Rethinking Markets And Monopolies, Jonas J. Monast

University of Colorado Law Review

The United States electricity sector is engaged in a long-term experiment regarding the proper role of market competition. Many states that transitioned to competitive electricity markets in the early 2000s are again reconsidering the relationship between market competition and public policy goals. Low natural gas prices, falling costs of renewable energy and energy storage, and improvements in efficiency are causing early retirements of coal and nuclear power plants and thus affecting environmental policy goals and economic interests. States that continue to rely on monopoly utilities for electricity are also reconsidering the role of competition, but from a different angle. Rather …


The Statutory Separation Of Powers, Sharon B. Jacobs Jan 2019

The Statutory Separation Of Powers, Sharon B. Jacobs

Publications

Separation of powers forms the backbone of our constitutional democracy. But it also operates as an underappreciated structural principle in subconstitutional domains. This Article argues that Congress constructs statutory schemes of separation, checks, and balances through its delegations to administrative agencies. Like its constitutional counterpart, the “statutory separation of powers” seeks to prevent the dominance of factions and ensure policy stability. But separating and balancing statutory authority is a delicate business: the optimal balance is difficult to calibrate ex ante, the balance is unstable, and there are risks that executive agencies in particular might seek expansion of their authority vis-à-vis …


Standing Rock, The Sioux Treaties, And The Limits Of The Supremacy Clause, Carla F. Fredericks, Jesse D. Heibel Jan 2018

Standing Rock, The Sioux Treaties, And The Limits Of The Supremacy Clause, Carla F. Fredericks, Jesse D. Heibel

Publications

The controversy surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline (“DAPL”) has put the peaceful plains of North Dakota in the national and international spotlight, drawing thousands of people to the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball Rivers outside of Standing Rock Sioux Reservation for prayer and peaceful protest in defense of the Sioux Tribes’ treaties, lands, cultural property, and waters. Spanning over 7 months, including the harsh North Dakota winter, the gathering was visited by indigenous leaders and communities from around the world and represents arguably the largest gathering of indigenous peoples in the United States in more than 100 years.

At …


Getches-Wilkinson Center Newsletter, Fall 2017, University Of Colorado Boulder. Getches-Wilkinson Center For Natural Resources, Energy, And The Environment Oct 2017

Getches-Wilkinson Center Newsletter, Fall 2017, University Of Colorado Boulder. Getches-Wilkinson Center For Natural Resources, Energy, And The Environment

Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment Newsletter (2013-)

No abstract provided.


Operationalizing Free, Prior, And Informed Consent, Carla F. Fredericks Jan 2017

Operationalizing Free, Prior, And Informed Consent, Carla F. Fredericks

Publications

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) has acknowledged varying ways in which international actors can protect, respect and remedy the rights of indigenous peoples. One of these methods is the concept of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) as described in Articles 10, 19, 28 and 29. There has been much debate in the international community over the legal status of the UNDRIP, and member states have done little to implement it. In applied contexts, many entities like extractive industries and conservation groups are aware of risks inherent in not soliciting FPIC and have endeavored to …


Administrative Dissents, Sharon B. Jacobs Jan 2017

Administrative Dissents, Sharon B. Jacobs

Publications

Commissioners, like judges, dissent. They do so at length, with vigor, and with persistence. Yet while separate judicial decisions are the subject of a rich literature, their administrative counterparts have long languished in obscurity. A closer look is warranted, however, because studying administrative dissent can enhance our understanding of internal agency operations as well as the relationships between agencies and other actors. This Article presents the results of an original review of separate statements at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission dating back four decades. It uses these findings to move beyond two common generalizations about …


Agency Innovation In Vermont Yankee's White Space, Emily S. Bremer, Sharon B. Jacobs Jan 2017

Agency Innovation In Vermont Yankee's White Space, Emily S. Bremer, Sharon B. Jacobs

Publications

The literature on “agency discretion” has, with a few notable exceptions, largely focused on substantive policy discretion, not procedural discretion. In this essay, we seek to refocus debate on the latter, which we argue is no less worthy of attention. We do so by defining the parameters of what we call Vermont Yankee’s “white space” — the scope of agency discretion to experiment with procedures within the boundaries established by law (and thus beyond the reach of the courts). Our goal is to begin a conversation about the dimensions of this procedural negative space, in which agencies are free …


Clean Electrification, Shelley Welton Jan 2017

Clean Electrification, Shelley Welton

University of Colorado Law Review

To combat climate change, many leading states have adopted the aim of creating a "participatory"g rid. In this new model, electricity is priced based on time of consumption and carbon content, and consumers are encouraged to adjust their behavior and adopt new technologies to maintain affordable electricity. Although a more participatory grid is an important component of lowering greenhouse gas emissions, it also raises a new problem of clean energy justice: utilities and consumer advocates claim that such policies unjustly benefit the rich at the expense of the poor, given the type of consumer best able to participate in the …


Agenda: Flpma Turns 40, University Of Colorado Boulder. Getches-Wilkinson Center For Natural Resources, Energy, And The Environment Oct 2016

Agenda: Flpma Turns 40, University Of Colorado Boulder. Getches-Wilkinson Center For Natural Resources, Energy, And The Environment

FLPMA Turns 40 (October 21)

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administers approximately 245 million acres of our public lands and yet, for most of our nation's history, these lands seemed largely destined to end up in private hands. Even when the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 ushered in an important era of better managing public grazing districts and "promoting the highest use of the public lands," such use of our public lands still was plainly considered temporary, "pending its final disposal." It was not until 1976 with the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) that congress adopted a policy that …


Agenda: Winter, Wilderness & Climate: Threats & Solutions, University Of Colorado Boulder. Getches-Wilkinson Center For Natural Resources, Energy, And The Environment, The Wilderness Society, Protect Our Winters Oct 2016

Agenda: Winter, Wilderness & Climate: Threats & Solutions, University Of Colorado Boulder. Getches-Wilkinson Center For Natural Resources, Energy, And The Environment, The Wilderness Society, Protect Our Winters

Winter, Wilderness, and Climate--Threats and Solutions (October 12)

In partnership with the Getches-Wilkinson Center, join The Wilderness Society and Protect Our Winters for an interactive presentation about energy development and climate impacts on public lands.

This event was held on Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., in the University of Colorado Law School, Wolf Law Building, Wittemyer Courtroom.


Slides: Winter, Wilderness & Climate: Threats & Solutions, Jim Ramey, Lindsay Bourgoine Oct 2016

Slides: Winter, Wilderness & Climate: Threats & Solutions, Jim Ramey, Lindsay Bourgoine

Winter, Wilderness, and Climate--Threats and Solutions (October 12)

Presenters:

Jim Ramey, The Wilderness Society

Lindsay Bourgoine, Protect Our Winters

56 slides


Getches-Wilkinson Center Newsletter, Fall 2016, University Of Colorado Boulder. Getches-Wilkinson Center For Natural Resources, Energy, And The Environment Oct 2016

Getches-Wilkinson Center Newsletter, Fall 2016, University Of Colorado Boulder. Getches-Wilkinson Center For Natural Resources, Energy, And The Environment

Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment Newsletter (2013-)

No abstract provided.


Getches-Wilkinson Center Newsletter, Spring 2016, University Of Colorado Boulder. Getches-Wilkinson Center For Natural Resources, Energy, And The Environment Apr 2016

Getches-Wilkinson Center Newsletter, Spring 2016, University Of Colorado Boulder. Getches-Wilkinson Center For Natural Resources, Energy, And The Environment

Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment Newsletter (2013-)

No abstract provided.


Model Law On Lighting For Developing Countries, Lakshman Guruswamy, Audrey M. Huang, Mahir Haque, Ugyen Tshering Jan 2016

Model Law On Lighting For Developing Countries, Lakshman Guruswamy, Audrey M. Huang, Mahir Haque, Ugyen Tshering

Publications

No abstract provided.


Energy Deference, Sharon B. Jacobs Jan 2016

Energy Deference, Sharon B. Jacobs

Publications

Electricity law is complex, and the Supreme Court knows it. Lawyers are familiar with the adage that generalist courts tend to defer to agency decisions where the subject matter is complex or technical. But what features of a case make the Court more or less likely to defer to the agency's judgment? And how exactly do deference regimes work in the presence of complexity? This essay offers insights gleaned from Court's opinion in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Ass’n (“EPSA”). It explains, first, that Courts are highly deferential in energy cases due to both the complexity of …


Accidents Of Federalism: Ratemaking And Policy Innovation In Public Utility Law, William Boyd, Ann E. Carlson Jan 2016

Accidents Of Federalism: Ratemaking And Policy Innovation In Public Utility Law, William Boyd, Ann E. Carlson

Publications

Decarbonizing the electric power sector will be central to any serious effort to fight climate change. Many observers have suggested that the congressional failure to enact a uniform system of electricity regulation could stifle the transition to a low-carbon electricity grid. This Article contends that the critique is overstated. In fact, innovation is occurring across different aspects of the electricity system and across different types of states in ways one would not expect to see under a single, national approach. As the Article demonstrates, this innovation stems in part from Congress’s failure to enact a single, national approach to electricity …


The Energy Prosumer, Sharon B. Jacobs Jan 2016

The Energy Prosumer, Sharon B. Jacobs

Publications

Decentralization is becoming a dominant trend in many industries, and the electricity industry is no exception. Increasing numbers of energy consumers generate their own electricity and/or provide essential grid services such as storage, efficiency, and demand response. This Article offers a positive account of the emergence of these new energy actors, which it calls "energy prosumers. " It then frames several doctrinal and procedural puzzles that prosumers create, including jurisdictional puzzles, distributional concerns, and democratic challenges. Ultimately, it concludes that prosumers can be a positive disruptive force in the electricity industry if courts and regulators can manage these challenges effectively. …


Introduction To Model Laws On Lighting, Lakshman Guruswamy Jan 2016

Introduction To Model Laws On Lighting, Lakshman Guruswamy

Publications

No abstract provided.


Model Law On Lighting For Developed Countries, Lakshman Guruswamy, Jason Aamodt, Anne Aguirre, Yazan Fattaleh, Gianna Fitzsimmons, Teresa Milligan, Giedre Stasiunaite Jan 2016

Model Law On Lighting For Developed Countries, Lakshman Guruswamy, Jason Aamodt, Anne Aguirre, Yazan Fattaleh, Gianna Fitzsimmons, Teresa Milligan, Giedre Stasiunaite

Publications