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Regulation

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Environmental Law

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What A Difference A State Makes: California’S Authority To Regulate Motor Vehicle Emissions Under The Clean Air Act And The Future Of State Autonomy, Chiara Pappalardo Sep 2020

What A Difference A State Makes: California’S Authority To Regulate Motor Vehicle Emissions Under The Clean Air Act And The Future Of State Autonomy, Chiara Pappalardo

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Air pollutants from motor vehicles constitute one of the leading sources of local and global air degradation with serious consequences for human health and the overall stability of Earth’s climate. Under the Clean Air Act (“CAA”), for over fifty years, the state of California has served as a national “laboratory” for the testing of technological solutions and regulatory approaches to improve air quality. On September 19, 2019, the Trump Administration revoked California’s authority to set more stringent pollution emission standards. The revocation of California’s authority frustrates ambitious initiatives undertaken in California and in other states to reduce local air pollution …


Look To Windward: The Michigan Environmental Protection Act And The Case For Atmospheric Trust Litigation In The Mitten State, Jonathan M. Coumes Sep 2020

Look To Windward: The Michigan Environmental Protection Act And The Case For Atmospheric Trust Litigation In The Mitten State, Jonathan M. Coumes

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Failure to address climate change or even slow the growth of carbon emissions has led to innovation in the methods activists are using to push decisionmakers away from disaster. In the United States, climate activists frustrated by decades of legislative and executive inaction have turned to the courts to force the hand of the state. In their most recent iteration, climate cases have focused on the public trust doctrine, the notion that governments hold their jurisdictions’ natural resources in trust for the public. Plaintiffs have argued that the atmosphere is part of the public trust and that governments have a …


Implementing Nepa In The Age Of Climate Change, Jayni Foley Hein, Natalie Jacewicz Sep 2020

Implementing Nepa In The Age Of Climate Change, Jayni Foley Hein, Natalie Jacewicz

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The national government has a crucial role to play in combating climate change, yet federal projects continue to constitute a major source of United States greenhouse gas emissions. Under the National Environmental Policy Act, agencies must consider the environmental impacts of major federal actions before they can move forward. But agencies frequently downplay or ignore the climate change impacts of their projects in NEPA analyses, citing a slew of technical difficulties and uncertainties. This Article analyzes a suite of the most common analytical failures on the part of agencies with respect to climate change: failure to account for a project’s …


The Rise And Fall Of Clean Air Act Climate Policy, Nathan Richardson Sep 2020

The Rise And Fall Of Clean Air Act Climate Policy, Nathan Richardson

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The Clean Air Act has proven to be one of the most successful and durable statutes in American law. After the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, there was great hope that the Act could be brought to bear on climate change, the most pressing current environmental challenge of our time. Massachusetts was fêted as the most important environmental case ever decided, and, upon it, the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama built a sweeping program of greenhouse gas regulations, aimed first at emissions from road vehicles, and later at fossil fuel power plants. It was the most …


Abandoned But Not Forgotten: Improperly Plugged And Orphaned Wells May Pose Serious Concerns For Shale Development, Bret Wells, Tracy Hester Oct 2018

Abandoned But Not Forgotten: Improperly Plugged And Orphaned Wells May Pose Serious Concerns For Shale Development, Bret Wells, Tracy Hester

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

This Article addresses the intersection of oil and gas law and environmental law on a topic that has profound significance for the nation’s oil industry and for the environment. In this regard, the Permian Basin is experiencing a renaissance that has fundamentally impacted oil production in the United States. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing now allow the industry to produce in the Permian Basin’s unconventional shale formations in ways that were unimaginable a decade ago. But, the hot shale plays within the Permian Basin exist above conventional fields that are littered with a century’s worth of abandoned wells. Fracturing new …


Tiny Things With A Huge Impact: The International Regulation Of Nanomaterials, Dario Picecchi May 2018

Tiny Things With A Huge Impact: The International Regulation Of Nanomaterials, Dario Picecchi

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Mounting evidence demonstrates that nanotechnology and nanomaterials impose severe environmental risks. To minimize these risks, the usage and handling of certain nanomaterials could be addressed under existing treaties such as the Rotterdam Convention, the Stockholm Convention, and the Basel Convention. However, even if existing treaties govern the handling of certain nanomaterials, no treaty effectively regulates all the specific challenges that nanomaterials pose to the global environment. Consequently, a completely new regulatory instrument is required. An international organization could take responsibility for developing and promoting such a nanospecific international legal framework. By incorporating the precautionary principle, a technology transfer, research cooperation, …


Lamarck Revisited: The Implications Of Epigenetics For Environmental Law, Michael P. Vandenbergh, David J. Vandenbergh, John G. Vandenbergh Nov 2017

Lamarck Revisited: The Implications Of Epigenetics For Environmental Law, Michael P. Vandenbergh, David J. Vandenbergh, John G. Vandenbergh

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

For generations, a bedrock concept of biology was that genetic mutations are necessary to pass traits from one generation to the next, but new developments in genetics are challenging this fundamental assumption. A growing body of scientific evidence demonstrates that chemical alteration of the way a gene functions, whether through exposure to chemicals, foods or even traumatic experiences, may not only affect the exposed individual, but also the individual’s offspring for two generations or more. This interaction between genes and the environment, known as epigenetics, has revolutionized the understanding of how genes are expressed within an individual and how they …


Energy-Water Nexus, The Clean Power Plan, And Integration Of Water Resource Concerns Into Energy Decision-Making, Sarah Ladin Nov 2017

Energy-Water Nexus, The Clean Power Plan, And Integration Of Water Resource Concerns Into Energy Decision-Making, Sarah Ladin

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Energy regulation in the United States is now at a crossroads. The EPA has begun the process to officially repeal the Clean Power Plan and currently has no plan to replace it with new rulemaking to regulate carbon emissions from the U.S. energy sector. Even though the Clean Power Plan is more or less at its end, its regulatory structure stands as a model of the way decision-makers in the United States regulate the energy sector and the environment. Since the beginning of the modern environmental legal system, decision-makers have chosen to silo the system. Statutes and agencies focus on …


Making Bureaucracies Think Distributively: Reforming The Administrative State With Action-Forcing Distributional Review, Kenta Tsuda Nov 2017

Making Bureaucracies Think Distributively: Reforming The Administrative State With Action-Forcing Distributional Review, Kenta Tsuda

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

This Article proposes that agencies analyze the distributional impacts of major regulatory actions, subject to notice-and-comment procedures and judicial review. The proposal responds to the legitimacy crisis that the administrative state currently faces in a period of widening economic inequality. Other progressive reform proposals emphasize the need for democratization of agencies. But these reforms fail to address the two fundamental pitfalls of bureaucratic governance: the “knowledge problem”—epistemic limitations on centrally coordinated decision making—and the “incentives problem”—the challenge of aligning the incentives of administrative agents and their political principals.

A successful administrative reform must address both problems. Looking to the environmental …


Parallels In Public And Private Environmental Governance, Sarah E. Light, Eric W. Orts Dec 2015

Parallels In Public And Private Environmental Governance, Sarah E. Light, Eric W. Orts

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Private actors, including business firms and non-governmental organizations, play an essential role in addressing today’s most serious environmental challenges. Yet scholars have not fully recognized the parallels between public environmental law and the standard-setting and enforcement functions of private environmental governance. “Instrument choice” in environmental law scholarship is generally understood to refer to government actors choosing among options from the public law “toolkit,” which includes prescriptive rules, the creation of property rights, the leveraging of markets, and informational regulation. Each of these major public law tools, however, has a parallel in private environmental governance. This Article first provides a descriptive …


Cooperative Mineral Interest Development In The Lone Star State: It's Time To Mess With Texas, Matthew K. Trawick May 2015

Cooperative Mineral Interest Development In The Lone Star State: It's Time To Mess With Texas, Matthew K. Trawick

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Since the early discoveries of the Spindletop, King Ranch, and East Texas oil fields, the oil and gas industry has dominated the Texas economy. The industry has also played an important role in shaping state politics and culture. The oil boom of the early 1900s created thousands of jobs for ordinary workers and immense wealth for a select few. Early Texas oil barons made headlines because of their lavish lifestyles and often extreme political beliefs. Legendary wildcatter H.L. Hunt typified this oil-fueled exuberance. Hunt became one of the eight richest individuals in the United States after securing mineral rights to …


Unpacking Eme Homer: Cost, Proportionality, And Emissions Reductions, Daniel A. Farber May 2015

Unpacking Eme Homer: Cost, Proportionality, And Emissions Reductions, Daniel A. Farber

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Interstate air pollution can prevent even the most diligent downwind state from attaining the air quality levels required by federal law. Allocating responsibility for emissions cuts when multiple upwind states contribute to downwind air quality violations presents a particularly difficult problem. Justice Ginsburg’s opinion for the Court in EPA v. EME Homer City Generator, L.P., gives EPA broad discretion to craft regulatory solutions for this problem. Although the specific statutory provision at issue was deceptively simple, the underlying problem was especially complex because of the large number of states involved. Indeed, neither the majority opinion nor the dissent seems to …


Instrument Choice, Carbon Emissions, And Information, Michael Wara May 2015

Instrument Choice, Carbon Emissions, And Information, Michael Wara

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

This Article examines the consequences of a previously unrecognized difference between pollutant cap-and-trade schemes and pollution taxes. Implementation of cap-and-trade relies on a forecast of future emissions, while implementation of a pollution tax does not. Realistic policy designs using either regulatory instrument almost always involve a phase-in over time to avoid economic disruption. Cap-and-trade accomplishes this phase-in via a limit on emissions that falls gradually below the forecast of future pollutant emissions. Emissions taxation accomplishes the same via a gradually increasing levy on pollution. Because of the administrative complexity of establishing an emissions trading market, cap-and-trade programs typically require between …


Too Many Cooks In The Climate Change Kitchen: The Case For An Administrative Remedy For Damages Caused By Increased Greenhouse Gas Concentrations, Benjamin Reese May 2015

Too Many Cooks In The Climate Change Kitchen: The Case For An Administrative Remedy For Damages Caused By Increased Greenhouse Gas Concentrations, Benjamin Reese

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Recent federal and state court decisions have made clear that federal common law claims against emitters of greenhouse gases are not sustainable; however, those same courts seem to have given state common law tort claims the green light, at least if the claims are brought in the state where the polluters are located. This Note contends that such suits are not an adequate remedy for those injured by climate change because they will face nearly insurmountable barriers in state court, and because there are major policy-level drawbacks to relying on state tort law rather than a federal solution. This Note …


Protecting Human Health And Stewarding The Environment: An Essay Exploring Values In U.S. Environmental Protection Law, Tracy Bach Apr 2014

Protecting Human Health And Stewarding The Environment: An Essay Exploring Values In U.S. Environmental Protection Law, Tracy Bach

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The purpose of this conference is to explore “the relationship between environmental protection and public health and how it should inform our efforts to become better stewards of the environment.” No one would disagree with the assertion that during the last forty years of federal environmental protection, air and water quality have improved and led to concomitant improvements in human health. Exploring the contours of this “relationship,” Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy said in her keynote speech that “[t]he thing is, the word ‘relationship’ is too neutral. The link between the health of our planet and the health …


The Dormant Commerce Clause And California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, Kathryn Abbott Sep 2013

The Dormant Commerce Clause And California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, Kathryn Abbott

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), enacted as part of the State’s pioneering Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), purports to regulate the amount of carbon emissions associated with fuels consumed in the state. Part of this scheme involves assigning numeric scores to vehicle fuels reflecting the amount of carbon emissions associated with their production, transportation, and use. The scores are part of a “cap-and-trade” scheme to lower the state’s total amount of carbon emissions associated with fuel use. Out-of-state industry groups brought a challenge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleging that the …


The Constitutionality Of California's Cap-And-Trade Program And Recommendations For Design Of Future State Programs, Thomas Alcorn Sep 2013

The Constitutionality Of California's Cap-And-Trade Program And Recommendations For Design Of Future State Programs, Thomas Alcorn

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Global climate change has emerged as one of the greatest challenges of our time. While action has stalled on the national stage, states have started to take action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Confronted with the risk of severe impacts that could cost it tens of billions of dollars annually by the end of the century, California has taken the lead and developed the first comprehensive cap-and-trade program in the nation and seeks to achieve significant reductions in the greenhouse gas emissions associated with its economy. The success of California’s program will determine whether other states and the federal …


Avoiding Jeopardy, Without The Questions: Recovery Implementation Programs For Endangered Species In Western River Basins, Reed D. Benson Apr 2013

Avoiding Jeopardy, Without The Questions: Recovery Implementation Programs For Endangered Species In Western River Basins, Reed D. Benson

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The application of the Endangered Species Act to water resources has generated much controversy in the American West. In several western river basins, however, Recovery Implementation Programs (RIPs) provide an alternative, collaborative approach to ESA compliance. These programs offer an enhanced role for states and stakeholders in ESA decisionmaking, and increased certainty that ESA requirements will not disrupt ongoing water project operations and established uses. This Article examines the origins, purposes, and elements of various RIPs, with particular emphasis on these programs’ approach to compliance with the requirements of ESA section 7 for federal agency actions. The Article also considers …


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 …


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 …