Published in Administrative Law Review
The Trump Administration construed the major questions doctrine enormously expansively and inconsistently, in ways untethered to the Court’s jurisprudence, turning it into little more than an invitation for courts to strike down regulations the Administration did not favor for policy-based reasons. Under the similarly wrongheaded and even broader arguments made by the Administration’s allies, all greenhouse gas regulations could be suspect on major question grounds. Bringing to light these argument's enormously problematic application of the doctrine is important to foreclose their successful revival in future administrations.
Published in Environmental Law
This article examines what it would take for the Biden effort at incorporating environmental justice into regulatory decisionmaking to succeed where the Clinton and Obama efforts failed. It argues that agencies will need to be provided with clear guidance on the methodologies used to conduct distributional analysis, and that the lack of a standardized approach is part of the reason prior efforts failed. It further argues that agencies will need to take seriously the already existing requirement of analyzing the distributional consequences of different regulatory alternatives. Otherwise, they will never be in a position to answer the key question in this area: when are the better distributional consequences of one alternative sufficient to overcome another alternative’s higher net benefits?
Building a New Grid without New Legislation: A Path to Revitalizing Federal Transmission Authorities
Published Ecology Law Quarterly
In the absence of legislation, critical long-distance transmission can be developed by applying existing federal legal authorities. A number of important regulatory and commercial measures have been proposed, including streamlining transmission planning, upgrading existing transmission system components, putting transmission lines underground, and using existing rights-of-way from highways and railroads. Even if these solutions are adopted, however, state siting requirements may prove an important obstacle to developing an efficient, national transmission grid. So, this paper examines legal authorities already available to the Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to develop the interstate transmission capacity crucial to the energy transition.
Be Wary of Unidentified Connections
To ensure policies are based on accurate predictions of climate impacts, it is critical to understand social-ecological system (SES) feedbacks, including how humans change the climate by reacting to a changing climate. Building on recent scholarly work on the topic, this article describes SES interactions and how they can be incorporated into climate policy tools such as the social cost of carbon. The article then proposes a research agenda for the identification, quantification, and integration of climate-society feedbacks into social-cost integrated assessment models (SC-IAMs).
Modeling Strategic Objectives and Behavior in the Transition of the Energy Sector to Inform Policymaking
in The Electricity Journal
The typical starting point and centerpiece of energy decarbonization is the electric power sector, a large direct GHG emitter. Published in The Electricity Journal, this paper explores what the modeling community should do to inform this transition, including expanding energy market datasets and designing models that incorporate multiple objectives and manifold actors behaving strategically in a framework consisting of large uncertainty, while accounting for the physics of power systems.
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