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Applying Bentham's Theory Of Fallacies To Chief Justice Roberts' Reasoning In West Virginia V. Epa, Dana Neacsu Apr 2023

Applying Bentham's Theory Of Fallacies To Chief Justice Roberts' Reasoning In West Virginia V. Epa, Dana Neacsu

Law Faculty Publications

This essay summarizes the Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA. It also analyzes Chief Justice Robert’s reasoning and addresses the case’s flaws from two perspectives. It references the Court’s decision connecting it to the so-called New Deal Cases, because in both Panama Refining Co. v. Ryan, and West Virginia v. EPA, the Court accepted to review a lower court’s decision about a non-existent regulation. In 1935, the governmental kerfuffle was due to a lack of regulatory transparency; the Federal Register had yet to be established. This essay’s analysis incorporates Jeremy Bentham’s 1809 work on two classes of fallacies, authority …


Covid-19'S Impact On Renewable Energy, Joel B. Eisen Jan 2021

Covid-19'S Impact On Renewable Energy, Joel B. Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

"In keeping with this Symposium's focus on accelerating clean energy growth and nations' ability to meet climate goals, this Article examines recent trends during the COVID-19 pandemic that at least temporarily set back the pace of growth, although conditions have rebounded somewhat since a disastrous spring of 2020. This Article supports several near-term policy prescriptions aimed at promoting a speedier return to the upward trajectory renewable energy enjoyed before the pandemic. These include extending the tax policies that support renewables beyond their short-term extensions in pandemic relieflegislation and establishing robust programs to help workers in renewable energy industries who have …


Toxic Floodwaters: Strengthening The Chemical Safety Regime In The Climate Change Era, Noah M. Sachs Jan 2020

Toxic Floodwaters: Strengthening The Chemical Safety Regime In The Climate Change Era, Noah M. Sachs

Law Faculty Publications

Extreme flooding linked to climate change has caused toxic chemical spills across the United States, yet policymakers are not prioritizing industrial chemical safety in planning for climate change. Many scholars and industry executives have argued that existing private law mechanisms, such as insurance and tort-based deterrence, can adequately manage the risk of flood-induced chemical releases from industrial sites. But private law mechanisms have failed to prevent past incidents of mass contamination, and there is little evidence that tort law deters industrial firms from the practices that put communities at risk. In this Article, I engage in a comparative analysis of …


Clean Energy Justice: Charting An Emerging Agenda, Joel B. Eisen, Shelley Welton Jan 2019

Clean Energy Justice: Charting An Emerging Agenda, Joel B. Eisen, Shelley Welton

Law Faculty Publications

The rapid transition to clean energy is fraught with potential inequities. As clean energy policies ramp up in scale and ambition, they confront challenging new questions: Who should pay for the transition? Who should live next to the industrial-scale wind and solar farms these policies promote? Will the new “green” economy be a fairer one, with more widespread opportunity, than the fossil fuel economy it is replacing? Who gets to decide what kinds of resources power our decarbonized world? In this article, we frame these challenges as part of an emerging agenda of “clean energy justice.” Mapping this agenda highlights …


The New(Clear?) Electricity Federalism: Federal Preemption Of States’ “Zero Emissions Credit” Programs, Joel Eisen Jan 2018

The New(Clear?) Electricity Federalism: Federal Preemption Of States’ “Zero Emissions Credit” Programs, Joel Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

This Article proposes and applies a “conscious disregard” test for resolving the upcoming appellate litigation that involves the conflict between federal authority over the electric grid and state laws providing subsidies to nuclear power plants in the form of “zero emissions credits” (ZECs). This test draws upon principles of conflict preemption, as elaborated in three recent Supreme Court decisions on the intersection of state and federal jurisdiction over the electric grid under the Federal Power Act. It provides that if a state law explicitly aims to directly affect wholesale electricity market prices, terms or conditions, its subsidy program is impermissible …


Free Trade In Electric Power, Joel Eisen Jan 2018

Free Trade In Electric Power, Joel Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

This Article develops the core legal framework of a new electricity-trading ecosystem in which anyone, anytime, anywhere, can trade electricity in any amount with anyone else. The proliferation of solar and other distributed energy resources, business model innovation in the sharing economy, and climate change present enormous challenges — and opportunities — for America’s energy economy. But the electricity industry is ill equipped to adapt to and benefit from these transformative forces, with much of its physical infrastructure, regulatory institutions, and business models a relic of the early days of electrification. We suggest a systematic rethinking to usher in a …


Dual Electricity Federalism Is Dead, But How Dead And What Replaces It?, Joel B. Eisen Jan 2017

Dual Electricity Federalism Is Dead, But How Dead And What Replaces It?, Joel B. Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

The Supreme Court decided three cases in the past year involving the split of jurisdiction between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the states in the energy sector: FERC v. Electric Power Supply Association, Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing and ONEOK v. Learjet. This Article concludes that these watershed decisions herald a new approach to governing the rapid evolution of the modern electric grid. Discussing the decisions, the analysis demonstrates that they mark the end of “dual federalism” in electricity law that treated federal and state regulators as operating within separate and distinct spheres of authority, and proposes that …


Demand Response’S Three Generations: Market Pathways And Challenges In The Modern Electric Grid, Joel Eisen Jan 2017

Demand Response’S Three Generations: Market Pathways And Challenges In The Modern Electric Grid, Joel Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

Through a historical analysis spanning nearly five decades, this Article provides a comprehensive discussion of how demand response (reductions in electricity consumption in response to grid emergencies or price signals) has become both a growing resource on the electric grid and a policy trailblazer in the grid’s ongoing transformation. The discussion centers on three separate generations of efforts to promote demand-side measures in the electric grid, dating to the 1960s and oriented chronologically around important events in the electric power industry.

Demand response has been a test bed of important regulatory principles like frameworks for interactivity with the grid, the …


Book Review, The Electric Battery: Charging Forward To A Low-Carbon Future, Joel Eisen Jan 2017

Book Review, The Electric Battery: Charging Forward To A Low-Carbon Future, Joel Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

The Electric Battery is the product of a Vermont Law School team led by Kevin Jones, the school’s Director of the Institute for Energy and the Environment. It is an essential resource for scholars, policymakers and others interested in the future for storage technologies in transportation and electricity, the sectors of the economy that produce the most greenhouse gases. Professor Jones brings considerable expertise to the project, having produced well-regarded reports on smart grid issues, and some projects mentioned in the book – such as the partnership between Tesla and Green Mountain Power – are located in the authors’ home …


The Supreme Court’S New Electricity Federalism, Joel B. Eisen May 2016

The Supreme Court’S New Electricity Federalism, Joel B. Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

This Insights piece is excerpted from the article, Dual Electricity Federalism Is Dead: But How Dead And What Replaces It?, in the George Washington Journal of Energy and Environmental Law.

In a remarkable burst of activity, the U.S. Supreme Court decided three cases in the past year involving the split of jurisdiction between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the states in the energy sector. FERC v. Electric Power Supply Association and Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing dealt with the relationship between FERC and the states in governing the electric grid under the Federal Power Act (FPA). ONEOK …


Should The United States Create Trading Markets For Energy Efficiency?, Noah M. Sachs Jan 2016

Should The United States Create Trading Markets For Energy Efficiency?, Noah M. Sachs

Law Faculty Publications

This Comment examines whether the vision for energy efficiency markets matches the reality. It explains how energy efficiency markets work, examines the handful of energy efficiency markets that have been established to date, and explores the policy challenges inherent in commodifying energy efficiency and making it a tradable good.


Ferc’S Expansive Authority To Transform The Electric Grid, Joel B. Eisen Jan 2016

Ferc’S Expansive Authority To Transform The Electric Grid, Joel B. Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

Using an unprecedented historical analysis of over 100 years of law dating to the Progressive Era, this Article concludes that the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) v. Electric Power Supply Association properly asserted that FERC has ample authority to pursue broad environmental and energy goals in transforming the electric grid. Building on the Court’s finding that FERC may regulate “practices” that “directly affect” rates in wholesale electricity markets, the analysis develops a detailed standard that is consistent with interpretation of regulatory statutes in each of three distinct eras: the Progressive Era, the era of regulation …


Ferc V. Epsa And The Path To A Cleaner Electricity Sector, Joel B. Eisen Jan 2016

Ferc V. Epsa And The Path To A Cleaner Electricity Sector, Joel B. Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

This article analyzes the impact of FERC v. Electric Power Supply Association, in which the Supreme Court upheld FERC’s demand response rule (Order 745) and confirmed FERC’s authority over “practices” “directly affecting” wholesale rates for electricity. It contends that the Supreme Court made a definitive pronouncement on FERC’s authority over end users of electricity who also provide resources back to the electric grid. It also contends that FERC v. EPSA marks the end of “dual federalism” in electricity law that treated federal and state jurisdiction as separate and distinct spheres of authority. Instead, it posits a new era of concurrent …


Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Measures In The United States Electric Power Industry, Joel B. Eisen Jan 2015

Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Measures In The United States Electric Power Industry, Joel B. Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

This chapter addresses greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation measures in the US energy sector, and, specifically, those applying to the US electric power industry. The focus is on the systems of federal, state, regional, and local regulation of GHG emissions associated with electricity generation, transmission and distribution, concentrating on the regulatory trends likely to have the largest impacts on mitigating GHG emissions. In addition, this section will discuss the extent to which these systems of regulating GHG emissions have evolved over the past decade.


Time To Upgrade Drinking Water Protections, Noah M. Sachs Jan 2015

Time To Upgrade Drinking Water Protections, Noah M. Sachs

Law Faculty Publications

A year ago, residents of Charleston, W.Va., learned that their entire drinking water supply had become contaminated by MCHM, a toxic chemical used to wash coal. Ten thousand gallons of MCHM had spilled from a corroding storage tank by the Elk River, located a mile upstream of the city’s drinking water intake pipes. As a result of the chemical spill, 300,000 citizens lost their water for more than a week, and hundreds sought emergency care.

That accident alone should have been a wake-up call for Virginians about the need to protect our water supply from chemical spills. But a year …


Stigmatized Sites And Urban Brownfield Redevelopment, Joel B. Eisen Jan 2015

Stigmatized Sites And Urban Brownfield Redevelopment, Joel B. Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

This chapter addresses the "stigmatized sites" located in urban areas in the United States and Europe and the "brownfields" redevelopment programs aimed at removing the stigma and promoting remediation and reuse of these sites. Although the European Union has put regulatory frameworks in place, the United States has led the global effort to address brown fields redevelopment, and the discussion in this chapter will focus on American models for brown fields remediation and reuse.


An Open Access Distribution Tariff: Removing Barriers To Innovation On The Smart Grid, Joel B. Eisen Aug 2014

An Open Access Distribution Tariff: Removing Barriers To Innovation On The Smart Grid, Joel B. Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

This Article proposes that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) consider promulgating an Open Access Distribution Tariff (OADT) to open the nation's electric grid to new products and services at the consumer (distribution) level. Design of the OADT would be comparable to the Open Access Transmission Tariff that the FERC has used previously to open the nation's transmission wires. This Article argues that an OADT is necessary to create a smart electricity network that would be national, multimodal, and interactive. There is no smart electricity network at present, and there are numerous barriers to the development of open networking, such …


Tackling Climate Change: Don't Forget Energy Efficency, Joel B. Eisen Jul 2014

Tackling Climate Change: Don't Forget Energy Efficency, Joel B. Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

Todd S. Aagaard and Joel B. Eisen write that one option available for states under the EPA's high-profile Clean Power Plan is relying on greater efficiency in energy usage and other demand-side strategies such as "demand response," which involves programs to reduce consumption at specific times of high electricity demand. However, a federal court recently cast a cloud over demand response's future.


Garbage Everywhere What Refuse In India's Streets Reveals About America's Hidden Trash Problem, Noah M. Sachs Jun 2014

Garbage Everywhere What Refuse In India's Streets Reveals About America's Hidden Trash Problem, Noah M. Sachs

Law Faculty Publications

In early 2014, I arrived in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, which just two years before had been paralyzed by a garbage-worker strike and a severe shortage of landfill space. The municipal government had responded to public anger over uncollected trash with decrees on waste segregation and composting that went unenforced, and by the time I showed up, not much had changed. In the city that bills itself as India’s Silicon Valley, there are still putrid piles of garbage all around town. Bangaloreans accept open dumps in their neighborhoods as a fixture of the landscape, to be seen but …


A Strategy To Protect Virginians From Toxic Chemicals, Noah M. Sachs Jan 2014

A Strategy To Protect Virginians From Toxic Chemicals, Noah M. Sachs

Law Faculty Publications

This report is divided into two main parts. Part I of this report details the major sources of toxic chemical releases in Virginia. Part II then discusses our recommendations in more detail, outlining a series of reforms that would help the Commonwealth police and reduce the risks from toxic chemicals.


Climate Change Triage, Noah M. Sachs Jan 2014

Climate Change Triage, Noah M. Sachs

Law Faculty Publications

Climate change is the first global triage crisis. It is caused by the overuse of a severely limited natural resource—the atmosphere’s capacity to absorb greenhouse gases—and millions of lives depend on how international law allocates this resource among nations.

This Article is the first to explore solutions for climate change mitigation through the lens of triage ethics, drawing on law, philosophy, moral theory, and economics. The literature on triage ethics—developed in contexts such as battlefield trauma, organ donation, emergency medicine, and distribution of food and shelter—has direct implications for climate change policy and law, yet it has been overlooked by …


Energy And Environmental Law, Joel B. Eisen Jan 2013

Energy And Environmental Law, Joel B. Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

This chapter covers energy law, which focuses on the production, distribution, conservation, and development of energy resources. State and federal energy laws and regulations are designed to keep prices to consumers down (particularly in certain energy industries which state and federal governments monitor to keep markets as competitive as possible) and to address economic, environmental, and national security issues.


Can We Regulate Our Way To Energy Efficiency? Product Standards As Climate Policy, Noah M. Sachs Jan 2012

Can We Regulate Our Way To Energy Efficiency? Product Standards As Climate Policy, Noah M. Sachs

Law Faculty Publications

In this Article, I demonstrate that the regulatory strategy for energy efficiency is working. Although information disclosure, financial incentives, and other softer alternatives to regulation play a vital role in reducing energy demand, these should be viewed as complements to efficiency regulation, rather than replacements. The regulatory approach has led to substantial cost and energy savings in the past, it has enjoyed bipartisan political support, and it targets products and behaviors that are difficult to address through other policy tools. Given the politics of climate change in the United States, which make federal carbon taxes or a cap-and-trade system infeasible, …


Protecting The Public From Bpa: An Action Plan For Federal Agencies, Noah M. Sachs Jan 2012

Protecting The Public From Bpa: An Action Plan For Federal Agencies, Noah M. Sachs

Law Faculty Publications

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a ubiquitous industrial chemical found in everything from baby bottles to cash register receipts. From its inauspicious creation in the laboratory by a group of scientists trying to synthesize an estrogenic compound for the pharmaceutical industry, it has become a fundamental building block of the multi-billion dollar plastics industry. Unfortunately, ever since anomalous results appeared in two research labs using BPA containing plastic equipment in the 1980s, evidence of the chemical’s toxicological risks has continued to mount. The chemical is an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it interferes with the body’s hormone system, and BPA’s health risks include, …


Distributed Energy Resources, "Virtual Power Plants," And The Smart Grid, Joel B. Eisen Jan 2012

Distributed Energy Resources, "Virtual Power Plants," And The Smart Grid, Joel B. Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

The specific focus of this Article is on the "virtual power plant" (VPP) concept, an intriguing idea that involves an aggregation of DERs to provide a "fleet" of resources that can serve as the functional equivalent of a traditional power plant. As the name suggests, this fleet of DERs can add up in the aggregate to the equivalent of a significant resource. Under certain conditions, this resource can be used on the grid (i.e., dispatched) much as a conventional power plant would be. This could reduce demand for fossil fuel-fired plants by enabling a utility to avoid generating electricity or …


Finality In Brownfields Remediation And Reuse, Joel B. Eisen Jan 2012

Finality In Brownfields Remediation And Reuse, Joel B. Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

The intersection of brownfields redevelopment and these broader concerns presents a host of issues. Does redevelopment of brownfields connect to a larger vision for the city that links with "smart growth" and climate action goals? Retooling the original developer-centered vision of VCPs to promote broader goals is an ongoing challenge. Has the affected community been involved in planning for brownfields remediation, or has the developer controlled the process? The latter narrows the ability to view the project as part of a community-wide plan, and undermines its legitimacy. Finally, if brownfields redevelopment yields benefits, how can we measure success over the …


Reclaiming Global Environmental Leadership: Why The United States Should Ratify Ten Pending Environmental Treaties, Noah M. Sachs Jan 2012

Reclaiming Global Environmental Leadership: Why The United States Should Ratify Ten Pending Environmental Treaties, Noah M. Sachs

Law Faculty Publications

For more than a century, the United States has taken the lead in organizing international responses to international environmental problems. The long list of environmental agreements spearheaded by the United States extends from early treaties with Canada and Mexico on boundary waters and migratory birds to global agreements restricting trade in endangered species and protecting against ozone depletion.

In the last two decades, however, U.S. environmental leadership has faltered. The best known example is the lack of an effective response to climate change, underscored by the U.S. decision not to join the Kyoto Protocol. But that is not the only …


The Logic And Limits Of Environmental Criminal Law In The Global Setting: Brazil And The United States--Comparisons, Contrasts, And Questions In Search Of A Robust Theory, Robert F. Blomquist Jan 2011

The Logic And Limits Of Environmental Criminal Law In The Global Setting: Brazil And The United States--Comparisons, Contrasts, And Questions In Search Of A Robust Theory, Robert F. Blomquist

Law Faculty Publications

Strict but arguably unfair and counterproductive systems of criminal environmental law and enforcement exist in both the United States and Brazll in the twenty-first century. In order to create a sovereignty dividend encompassing the rule of law and evenhanded administrative control in the competitive global setting, both countries should rethink and reform their respective systems of environmental criminal law by seeking answers to several questions of legal philosophy in search of a robust theory.


Saving Some Green: Free Resources On Environmental Law, Suzanne B. Corriell Jan 2011

Saving Some Green: Free Resources On Environmental Law, Suzanne B. Corriell

Law Faculty Publications

Environmental legal research often requires examining federal, state, and local laws, in addition to understanding science and technology. While there are many print and subscription-based resources available for a fee, websites also can help you navigate the laws and stay current with environmental news, and legal and scientific developments.


China's Greentech Programs And The Ustr Investigation, Joel B. Eisen Jan 2011

China's Greentech Programs And The Ustr Investigation, Joel B. Eisen

Law Faculty Publications

The issue of China's support for renewables has taken center stage in a United States Trade Representative ("USTR") complaint alleging that China unfairly subsidizes its greentech industries, in violation of its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization ("WT0"). Well before that investigation began, numerous Americans believed the United States was less engaged in greentech promotion than China, and many feel the United States is falling behind. New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman has been perhaps the most active proponent of this view, but he has plenty of company. If recent reports are to be believed, China …