CleanLaw

Welcome to our podcast! We talk to experts about the latest in environmental and energy law, new research, and news on environmental deregulation. If you have and idea for a new episode or comment on an existing one, please get in touch!

March 12, 2020 - Joe Goffman Talks to Richard Lazarus about his New Book “The Rule of Five”

March 9, 2020 - Restricting EPA’s authority: Joe Goffman and Laura Bloomer Talk Clean Air Act Rollbacks

February 12, 2020 - Judge Alice Hill Speaks with Hana Vizcarra about National Security and Climate Change

January 27, 2020 - Joe Goffman with Ari Peskoe about the FERC PJM Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) Order

January 19, 2020 - Ari Peskoe with Jason Burwen on Electricity Markets and Storage

January 13, 2020 - Joe Goffman interviews Alex Barron about Carbon Pricing Models

January 9, 2020 - Hana Vizcarra Interviews Samantha Ross on Investor Assurance and Corporate Climate Disclosure

December 18, 2019 - Laura Bloomer Interviews Gretchen Goldman on EPA Science Advisory Panels

December 9, 2019 - Hana Vizcarra Interviews Erik Landry on Corporate Climate Scenarios and Strategic Resilience

November 19, 2019 - Joe Goffman and Caitlin McCoy on The Affordable Clean Energy Rule

November 13, 2019 - Jesse Keenan and Hana Vizcarra on Climate Adaptation and Finance

Hana speaks with Jesse Keenan, a social scientist and lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Harvard Kennedy School in Science, Technology and Public Policy.

They discuss climate-related data, financing community development to encourage adaptation, and recent work about what drives coastal adaptation decisions that communities make.

See more of Jesse’s work in these recent papers:

Variables shaping coastal adaptation decisions to armor, nourish, and retreat in North Carolina with A.R. Siders, in the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Management

Strategies to Address Climate Change Risk in Low- and Moderate-income Communities: Climate Adaptation and Community Development for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

A climate intelligence arms race in financial markets in Science Magazine

November 4, 2019 - Joe Goffman interviews Gernot Wagner on Climate Economics

Joe speaks with climate economist Gernot Wagner about his latest paper (with co-authors) showing how climate-economic modeling can account not only for predicted damages linked to climate change but also for the uncertainty and risk associated with climate change. Gernot also talks about his work with the late Martin Weitzman, one of the most influential climate and environmental economists who ever lived.

October 8, 2019 - Joe Goffman Interviews Kathy Fallon Lambert on Increased Emissions under ACE

Joe speaks again with Kathy Fallon Lambert, Senior Advisor with The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Co-founder of the Science Policy Exchange. Kathy was part of a team of researchers who evaluated the Regulatory Impact Analysis for EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, to determine whether it incorporates the best available information and whether its predictions are fully supportable. She and her colleagues also performed their own analysis using EPA data. Using more realistic assumptions than EPA used they found that EPA overstated the likely benefits of ACE and that ACE could lead to increased pollution in several states.

Kathy and Joe discuss EPA’s assumptions in the RIA, the impact of EPA’s current and expected changes to New Source Review that EPA failed to account for, and EPA’s inconsistency in calculating the benefits of reducing fine particle concentrations. See Kathy’s previous podcasts with us here.

September 25, 2019 - Caitlin McCoy and Joe Goffman on the California Waiver/Clean Car Rules

Caitlin and Joe discuss EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s final rule, issued on September 19th, that preempts California’s greenhouse gas standards and withdraws California’s Clean Air Act waiver. See all our clean car work here.

August 16, 2019 - Joe Goffman and Jonathan Lewis on Biofuels, Part I

June 28, 2019 - Robin Just and Hana Vizcarra Talk about Offshore Drilling

Robin Just and Hana talk about about the legal landscape of offshore drilling, and the proposed rule changes and executive orders that may affect where and how oil companies operate.

For more of our offshore drilling work, see our posts on:

And to read more on the executive orders see our Executive Orders In Depth page.

May 30, 2019 - Ari Peskoe and Matt Christiansen Talk about the Federal Power Act

Ari talks to Matt Christiansen, legal advisor to FERC Commissioner Richard Glick, about the Federal Power Act and Matt’s recent article co-authored with Commissioner Glick about FERC and climate change. Ari and Matt discuss recent federal court decisions about Zero Emission Credits (ZECs) and what they mean for the future of state electricity policies. Then, Matt outlines his article and explains how FERC’s authority over interstate power markets and natural gas infrastructure siting relates to greenhouse gas reduction efforts. “FERC and Climate Change” is available on the Energy Law Journal’s website.

May 13, 2019 - Joe Goffman Interviews Bill Becker on Vehicle Emissions Standards Rollbacks and Public Health

Joe speaks with Bill Becker, former Executive Director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies until his retirement in 2017 and current President of Becker Environmental Consulting. Bill and Mary Becker have just published The Devastating Impacts of the Trump Proposal to Roll Back Greenhouse Gas Vehicle Emissions Standards, a report on the Trump proposal to weaken vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards. They describe the effects this proposal will have on public health, state compliance with the Clean Air Act, and industry operations. In addition to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, other harmful emissions will rise, such as smog-forming pollutants, fine particles, and cancer-causing air toxics.

May 9, 2019 - Caitlin McCoy talks with Michelle Melton about Vehicle Standards

Caitlin speaks with Michelle Melton, HLS JD 2019, about the proposed changes to the fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles. They discuss the lead up to and details of the proposed rules, and talk about ongoing and future litigation around these rules.

For more information on these rules, follow our tracker page on these rules and see the posts linked below:

California, CAFE Standards, and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act

CAFE Standards and the California Preemption Plan

Beyond the Waiver: EPA’s Plan to End State GHG Vehicle Standards

May 3, 2019 - Ari Peskoe and Jacob Mays Talk about Capacity Markets

Ari interviews Jacob Mays, who explains why regional power markets adopted capacity markets and outlines his research on the connection between risk and power plant operating and capital costs. Jacob and his colleagues published a paper on this topic entitled Asymmetric Risk and Fuel Neutrality in Capacity Markets.

 

April 22, 2019 - Ari Peskoe and Bill Hogan Talk PJM Price Reform

Ari talks with Bill Hogan, Professor of Global Energy Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. After laying out fundamental principles of wholesale market design, Bill discusses the recent proposal filed by PJM about reforming price formation in its reserve market. Bill explains why the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should find that prices in the market are currently unjust and unreasonable and how the proposed market redesign will result in a more efficient market. Bill and his colleague Susan Pope wrote a paper in support of PJM’s proposal.

April 11, 2019 - Robin Just and Caitlin McCoy Talk about Keystone XL

Robin speaks with Caitlin about developments in the Keystone XL permitting process, now that President Trump has issued both a new permit for the pipeline and two new Executive Orders that relate to pipelines, and other infrastructure. Check out our rollback tracker post on Keystone XL here.

March 28, 2019 -Caitlin McCoy and Sarah Light Discuss Regulatory Horcruxes

Caitlin speaks with Sarah Light, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania about her article, Regulatory Horcruxes. Prof. Light proposes a framework to explain how regulatory programs can be split up among federal agencies, state agencies, and even private actors, and how that fragmentation can insulate programs from future deregulatory actions. She uses environmental regulatory programs to describe how regulatory horcruxes function in today’s administrative law system.

On the podcast, Caitlin and Professor Light discuss the types of regulatory horcruxes covered in the article with examples from the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. They also explore the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of regulatory fragmentation and Caitlin explains how she is using the regulatory horcrux framework to understand how the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda is proceeding.

March 20, 2019 - Hana Vizcarra and Sarah Light: The Law of Corporation as Environmental Law

How can business law better incentivize companies to take environmental consequences into account? In her latest article, Prof. Sarah Light, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics at Wharton, asks this question.

Prof. Light proposes incorporating an “environmental priority principle” into corporate, securities, antitrust, and bankruptcy law that moves the law further across a continuum from prohibiting consideration of environmental outcomes to incentivizing such considerations by corporations.

EELP Staff Attorney Hana Vizcarra spoke with Prof. Light about her article, how these areas of law weave into environmental law, and how they can more strongly influence positive environmental decision making by firms.

For more information on the intersection of private sector actions and the climate, watch our Private Sector Project page for updates and analysis around corporate governance and innovation.

Read Prof. Light’s full article in the Stanford Law Review here: The Law of Corporation as Environmental Law

March 7, 2019 - Kathy Fallon Lambert and Joe Goffman Discuss MATS and ACE

Power plants have long been among the largest sources of pollution that contribute to climate change, bad air quality, and serious threats to public health. In our latest CleanLaw interview, Kathy Fallon Lambert walks us through the results of recent studies highlighting the potential impact of two Trump EPA proposals – withdrawing the “appropriate and necessary” foundation of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) and replacing the Clean Power Plan (CPP) with the Affordable Clean Energy rule (ACE). Joe and Kathy discuss the findings she and a team of a dozen scientists published on these rules (full author list is on the following links): The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment‘s recent Mercury Matters 2018: A Science Brief for Journalists and Policymakers with updated research on mercury; US Power Plant Carbon Standards and Clean Air and Health Co-benefits in Nature Climate Change; and The Affordable Clean Energy Rule and the Impact of Emissions Rebound on Carbon Dioxide and Criteria Air Pollutant Emissions in Environmental Research Letters.

Note: the conversation begins with a discussion of MATS, but if you would like to go straight to CPP/ACE that’s at 27:15. 

Click here for the full transcript of this podcast.

Key Points – MATS and Mercury

  • The EPA is basing its proposal to withdraw the foundation for regulating hazardous air pollution from power plants on very out of date science on mercury emissions and impacts.
  • A full accounting of the costs of IQ loss linked to mercury exposure has been estimated by scientists at $4.8 billion. This and other supporting research clearly suggests that the benefits of curbing mercury emissions from power plants are in the billions of dollars, not at $4-6 million, as EPA’s proposal suggests.
  • In addition to determining what a full accounting for the impact of IQ loss entails, scientists have also discovered: The form in which mercury is emitted from power plants has greater local impacts and the pathways through which humans are exposed to mercury are more extensive than previously recognized; and Mercury exposure contributes to cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
  • Although the EPA proposal claims to present the results of comparing the benefits and costs of regulating mercury and other hazardous its calculation of the benefits grossly understates the benefits and is off by orders of magnitude.

Key Points – ACE

  • Compared to no policy at all, under ACE about 18 states would have an increase in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. In addition, 20 states would potentially see an increase in either sulfur dioxide or NOx compared to no policy.
  • Not mentioned in the interview, but just as important, the ACE proposal includes a proposal to remove states’ ability to require power plants to make changes that would minimize or prevent those potential sulfur dioxide and NOx emissions increases through a Clean Air Act provision known as “New Source Review”.
  • The increase in co-pollutants contributes to higher ground-level ozone and particulate pollution that affect not only people living in the states where they occur, but in neighboring states as well.
  • ACE presents an unwarranted trade-off between purported – but at best minimal – reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and increases in other pollutants. Of all the approaches to reducing power plant carbon dioxide emissions available to the EPA, ranging from flexible, system-level strategies to do nothing, ACE does not represent the “Best System of Emissions Reduction” as required by the Clean Air Act.

Click here for the full transcript of this podcast.There may be minor inconsistencies with the audio podcast due to transcription errors.

Listen to more of our interviews with experts at CleanLaw!

March 7, 2019 - Joe and Kathy Fallon Lambert on Policy-Relevant Science

February, 2019 - Joe Goffman and Janet McCabe Talk about MATS Rollbacks

With Gina McCarthy, Janet McCabe and Joe Goffman led the team that developed the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Hear them discuss the effects of a new proposal to remove the legal foundation of the rule, and what might happen next. Janet’s recent paper on this is here and our recent analysis of the rollback is here.

January 25, 2019 - Caitlin McCoy interviews Eric Lipton on Environmental Rollbacks

Caitlin McCoy interviews Eric Lipton, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for the New York Times. They discuss Eric Lipton’s recent special report, “This is Our Reality Now,” covering the environmental and public health impacts of the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda in four communities across the country.

December 14, 2018 - Caitlin McCoy and Sarah Winner on WOTUS

Caitlin speaks with Sarah Winner, Staff Attorney of the Center for Coalfield Justice and Interim Executive Director of the Three Rivers Waterkeeper, about the proposed Clean Water Act rule on the revised definition of “Waters of the United States” and the potential implications of the new rule for stream and wetland protection.

December 6, 2018 - What Environmental Protection Owes George H.W. Bush

Hana Vizcarra interviews Joe Goffman on the environmental legacy of George H.W. Bush.

In late August, 1988 presidential candidate George H.W. Bush, promised that as president he would introduce legislation that would cut millions of tons of the pollutants known to create acid rain. Throughout the 1980’s scientists had built a strong case that pollution from coal-fired power plants mixed in the national atmosphere, traveled long distances and returned to earth in the form of acidic rain that devastated forests and marine life in streams. They, along with environmentalists, states, and members of Congress strove futilely to persuade the Reagan administration to require reductions in those pollutants.

November 29, 2018 - Ari Peskoe and Jesse Jenkins on Renewables and Electricity Markets

Ari interviews Jesse Jenkins, a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment. Ari and Jesse discuss fundamental principles of electricity market design and whether these principles will continue to apply to a low-carbon grid with high levels of wind and solar.

November 16, 2018 - Ari Peskoe and Phil Sharp Celebrate PURPA's 20th

Ari interviews Phil Sharp – former Indiana Representative and chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, director of the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, and President of Resources for the Future. Ari and Phil discuss the history of PURPA and its implications for climate change legislation.

November 11, 2018 - Joe Goffman Interviews Cynthia Giles about EPA Enforcement of Oil & Gas

Joe talks with Cynthia Giles, former Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance for the entire Obama Presidency, about the Trump EPA’s enforcement policies, including a recent initiative focusing on the oil and gas industry, and the impact they have on air quality and public health.

August 29, 2018 - Hana Vizcarra Talks with Ari Peskoe about FERC Natural Gas Permitting

Hana speaks with Electricity Law Initiative (ELI) Director Ari Peskoe about FERC natural gas facility permitting. In July, 2018 ELI filed comments with FERC arguing that accounting for the economic risks and environmental harms of greenhouse gas emissions in a permitting proceeding is consistent with judicial precedent and Commission practice.

July 12, 2018 - Joe Goffman and Francesca Dominici on Air Quality, Public Health, and Science

Joe interviews Dr. Francesca Dominici about public health, pollution, and science. Dominici is Professor of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Co-Director of the Data Science Initiative at Harvard University. Listen below, or scroll down to read key points from our interview on rollbacks and public health, new science on air pollution exposure, and the recent Trump administration proposal to suppress public health studies. Read more about her work here.

June 26, 2018 - Joe and Janet McCabe on Subverting the Process of Setting Health-Based Air Quality Standards

Joe speaks with Janet McCabe, former Acting Assistant Administrator for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation and current Assistant Director for Policy and Implementation at Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute and a Senior Law Fellow at the Environmental Law and Policy Center. Read more about her work and this conversation here. 

June 8, 2018 - Ari and Joe Talk about the Leaked DOE Memo

Ari and Joe talk about the DOE memo leaked in May, 2018. The memo discusses a “Strategic Electric Generation Reserve” and tactics to support uneconomic coal and nuclear plants.