Previous Legal and Political News 2023

Supreme Court to Review EPA’s Power to Curb Downwind Pollution 12-20-23

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it will review the Biden administration’s plan to limit smog-forming pollutants from power plants and other industrial facilities that cause problems for their downwind neighbors in other states. Read more

Biden Moves to Ban Most Old-growth Logging in National Forests 12-19-23

The Forest Service plans to protect the nearly 25 million acres it manages where towering trees still stand.

2024 Will Be a Busy Year For U.S. Climate Policy. Here’s What to Watch. 12-19-23

2023 was a critical year for climate policy in the United States. In Washington, the Biden administration doled out billions of dollars from the landmark Inflation Reduction Act.

A Court Struck Down Local Gas Bans — So Seattle and Other Cities Are Getting Creative 12-19-23

Amid an uncertain legal landscape, lawmakers are finding new ways to electrify buildings. Read more

Whitehouse and DelBene Reintroduce Carbon Border Adjustment Bill to Boost Domestic Manufacturers and Tackle Climate Change 12-16-23

Clean Competition Act would lower emissions across high-polluting sectors at home and abroad Read more

Renewables and Energy Efficiency Were the Sleeper Achievements at the Climate Summit 12-14-23

Countries’ pledge to transition away from fossil fuels at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Dubai has inspired front-page headlines.

In a First, Nations at Climate Summit Agree to Move Away From Fossil Fuels 12-13-23

Nearly 200 countries convened by the United Nations approved a milestone plan to ramp up renewable energy and transition away from coal, oil and gas. Read more

An EPA Rule Dramatically Reduced Smog Pollution — in States That Haven’t Sued to Stop It 12-12-23

Dozens of legal challenges have blocked the regulation in 12 states. Read more

At COP28, world leaders turn a belated spotlight on human health 12-06-23

Climate health experts applauded the milestone but emphasized the need to phase out fossil fuels. Read more

Older Voters Are Second Only to Young People in Share of ’Climate Voters,’ New Study Shows 12-05-23

A report from the Environmental Voter Project says “gray is the new green,” as voters who prioritize climate are numerous enough to swing elections in key states.

U.S. Bolsters Climate Efforts with Methane Rule and Aid at Summit 12-04-23

At the U.N. climate summit, Vice President Kamala Harris announced increased U.S. aid for developing nations to address climate change, coinciding with new methane regulations.

Here Are the 4 Issues to Watch at COP28 11-29-23

World leaders have two weeks to decide the fate of the planet. How hard could it be? Read more

Why Some Experts Say COPs are ‘distracting’ and Need Fixing 11-28-23

The yearly get-togethers are a critical centerpiece for international climate action. But critics say they have outlived their usefulness and are due for an overhaul. Read more

Patagonia Fought Trump Over Public Lands. Now It’s Targeting Biden. 11-22-23

Outdoor retailer Patagonia is urging President Biden to protect the Alaskan Arctic

New York Calls PepsiCo’s Plastic Pollution a ‘public nuisance’ in First-of-its-kind Lawsuit 11-16-23

The company’s packaging was found to be the most significant contributor to plastic waste clogging the Buffalo River. Read more

Michigan just passed one of the country’s most ambitious clean energy bills 11-09-23

The state’s Democrat-controlled legislature passed bills that aim to accelerate the energy transition — including a mandate for 100% carbon-free power by 2040. Read more

Democrats Win Big in Virginia and New Jersey Despite Fossil Fuel Ads 11-09-23

Democrats won in Virginia and New Jersey despite fossil fuel industry ads criticizing EVs, offshore wind.

Democrats unveil ‘most comprehensive plan ever’ to address plastics problem 10-26-23

The sweeping bill is unlikely to pass, but its components could still make an impact. Read more

Hear that? It’s the sound of leaf blower bans. 10-25-23

As restrictions spread, neighborhoods are getting quieter — and cleaner. Read more

Same Message, Bigger Audience: Sen. Whitehouse Flags Climate Costs 10-17-23

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.

Giant open-pit mine near two national parks dealt a blow by Biden administration 10-13-23

Road planned to access the mine could affect more Alaska Native communities and local animals than previously thought, according to a new federal analysis.

Biden administration launches ‘Earthshot’ effort to slash energy bills 10-12-23

The Department of Energy’s new initiative aims to cut household energy bills by 20 percent and the cost of decarbonizing by 50 percent. Read more

Newsom signs landmark emissions, climate risk disclosure laws 10-09-23

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed off on a pair of rules that will require large corporations that do business in the Golden State to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related risk. Read more

How efforts to restrict democracy in Ohio also make it harder to fight climate change 10-09-23

Ohio’s recent adoption of gerrymandered voting district maps is the latest in a series of anti-democratic measures that thwart action to address climate change.

Disaster recovery projects stall nationwide as FEMA runs out of money 09-29-23

It’s been a tough year for residents of Perry County, Kentucky, and the federal government isn’t making it much easier right now. Read more

Revealed: Trump administration forced Joshua Tree to stay open during last US shutdown 09-28-23

Emails show David Bernhardt of interior department overrode superintendent of California park, causing ‘chaos and destruction’ Read more

Thinking Long-Term: Why We Should Bring Back Redwood Forests 09-25-23

Only 5 percent of the redwood forests that once stretched across coastal Northern California have never been logged.

The Biden Administration’s Next Big Climate Decision 09-22-23

The liquefied-natural-gas buildout—and fossil-fuel exports—challenge progress on global warming. Read more

Minnesota judge throws out charges against Line 3 pipeline protesters 09-22-23

Citing a rarely used statute, the court dismissed Line 3 protest charges in the name of climate justice. Read more

The other big climate fight in New York this week 09-21-23

Inside the fight over implementing New York City’s landmark buildings law. Read more

Want to join the American Climate Corps? Here’s what we know so far. 09-20-23

Biden’s program is expected to hire 20,000 young people in its first year. Read more

This tax tweak is supercharging Biden’s climate agenda 09-15-23

For the first time, clean energy tax credits are transferable, and the market for them is surging. Read more

Companies are claiming to be ‘plastic neutral.’ Is it greenwashing? 09-11-23

Plastic credits can help fund waste cleanup, but they can also justify making more plastic. Read more

New federal rule puts 2.5 million acres of wetlands in peril 09-01-23

The lawsuit an Idaho couple filed in 2008 against the Environmental Protection Agency arguing that wetlands on their property were not protected under “waters of the United States” has resulted in federal protections being stripped from millions of acres of isolated wetlands. Read more

Chaos Erupts When Republican Candidates Are Asked if They Believe in Climate Change 08-23-23

There is no scientific dispute on the question, but almost none of the Republican presidential candidates gave a straight answer. Read more

Why John Podesta thinks the Inflation Reduction Act is the next Obamacare 08-16-23

The Biden official spoke to Grist about coming out of retirement to sell Democrats’ landmark climate law. Read more

Judge rules in favor of Montana youths in landmark climate decision 08-14-23

‘This is a monumental decision,’ said a lawyer for the young plaintiffs. The ruling could influence how judges handle similar cases in other states. Read more

Hawaii’s youth-led climate change lawsuit is going to trial next summer 08-07-23

The plaintiffs, most of them Indigenous youth, say the state’s highway projects promote greenhouse gas emissions and threaten their constitutional rights. Read more

White House takes a crack at much-needed permitting reform 08-01-23

New changes to a bedrock environmental law may help cut red tape for clean energy projects. Read more

Trump wants to control the nation’s independent energy regulator 07-26-23

Donald Trump says the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should be subject to the president Read more

Greenhushing, explained: Why companies have stopped talking about their climate pledges 07-24-23

It’s hard to criticize what you can’t hear. Read more

Supreme Court critic Whitehouse gets his day 07-20-23

The Senate Judiciary Committee today will take up Supreme Court ethics legislation for the first time in recent history — and it’s a been a long time coming for Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). Read more

How Biden’s climate law will — and won’t — transform America 07-20-23

Three ways the Inflation Reduction Act will — and won’t — transform America’s climate fight. Read more

340,000 UPS drivers poised to strike over extreme heat, safe working conditions 07-17-23

The largest single-employer strike in U.S. history could frame worker power as a climate solution. Read more

US climate envoy John Kerry spars in heated exchanges with House Republicans ahead of Beijing trip 07-13-23

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry defended his negotiations with China — and angrily rebuffed what he called a “stupid” lie that he routinely travels by private jet — during a grilling by House Republicans on Thursday before he sets out on his next climate mission to Beijing. Read more

Appeals court blocks construction on Mountain Valley Pipeline even after Congress says it can’t 07-11-23

A federal appeals court has again blocked construction on a contentious natural gas pipeline. Read more

New Hampshire’s dormant climate plan revived by Inflation Reduction Act 07-06-23

State lawmakers are planning to use a $3 million federal grant to make good on climate promises set in 2009. Read more

Four major environmental groups endorse Biden, but others hold out 06-15-23

Four big green groups are backing Biden. Others are upset about his assent to fossil fuel projects. Read more

Red states are blocking blue cities from setting climate policies 06-13-23

These conservative states are blocking liberal cities from setting climate policies. Read more

A California bill could reveal corporate America’s climate secrets 06-08-23

The bill has rankled the oil and gas industry, agricultural groups, and reportedly an iconic burger chain. Read more

Supreme Court won’t review ruling barring offshore fracking in California 06-05-23

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined a request by the oil industry to review a lower court ruling barring fracking off California’s shore. Read more

The Supreme Court Just Gutted the Clean Water Act 05-25-23

The U.S.’s highest court has ruled, counter to science, that it’s not important to protect all wetlands from unfettered pollution. Read more

Democrats unveil bill to provide hazard pay during climate disasters 05-25-23

Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Reps. Summer L. Lee (D-Pa.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) will introduce legislation today to boost hazard pay and implement better safety measures for health-care workers during extreme weather events fueled by climate change. Read more

Oil executive will lead world climate talks. Lawmakers are trying to oust him. 05-23-23

Members of Congress and the European Parliament are urging the removal of Sultan Al Jaber as president of the next U.N. Climate Change Conference Read more

How the “Halliburton Loophole” lets fracking companies pollute water with no oversight 05-18-23

Fracking companies used 282 million pounds of hazardous chemicals that should have been regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act from 2014 to 2021. Read more

Democrats, environmentalists clash over a bill to save California’s sequoias 05-17-23

Does the Save Our Sequoias Act live up to its name? Democrats and activists disagree. Read more

Outrage as Biden Admin Says Mountain Valley Pipeline Can Run Through National Forest 05-16-23

“The Forest Service has bent to the will of the oil and gas industry, and is placing fossil fuel profits above our environment and public safety.” Read more

In Another Blow to Big Oil, U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Effort to Kill Climate Suits 05-16-23

“The Supreme Court’s decision brings the people of Delaware and Hoboken one step closer to putting these polluters on trial and making them pay for their climate deception.” Read more

Environmentalists urge DeSantis to veto ‘radioactive roads’ bill 05-09-23

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis faces a big decision in the coming weeks. Read more

Democrats call for greater White House scrutiny of gas projects 05-08-23

Forty-four congressional Democrats are asking the White House to provide greater scrutiny of how liquefied natural gas projects contribute to climate change. Read more

A California bill could help make EVs a blackout solution 05-04-23

The state might require every electric vehicle to be capable of powering your home — and the grid – through a process called bi-directional charging. Read more

What a pending Supreme Court ruling could mean for Biden’s new clean water protections 05-01-23

The fate of millions of acres of wetlands hinges on five vague words in the Clean Water Act. Read more

Microsoft quietly supported legislation to make it easier to fix devices. Here’s why that’s a big deal. 04-28-23

Major tech companies have long opposed the right to repair, but Microsoft is finally engaging with lawmakers and activists. Read more

The Supreme Court just unleashed a flood of lawsuits against Big Oil 04-26-23

Climate court cases are about to get a lot more interesting. Read more

House GOP fail to stop Biden’s new water rule – but the courts might 04-19-23

House Republicans failed in their second effort yesterday to undo President Biden’s new rule expanding the definition of waterways protected under the Clean Water Act. Read more

EPA quietly signals to California it can set stricter train emissions rules 04-18-23

Why a little-noticed proposal in the EPA’s vehicle rules is a big deal Read more

The FTC is expected to crack down on ‘greenwashing’ 04-13-23

The Federal Trade Commission is soliciting public comments on its “Green Guides,” which seek to prevent companies from making deceptive environmental claims, as it updates them for the first time in a decade. Read more

Unheralded Environmentalist: Jimmy Carter’s Green Legacy 03-29-23

With the former president now in hospice care, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Kai Bird looks back on Jimmy Carter’s environmental record in the White House — from his sweeping protection of Alaska’s wild lands to his efforts to push the nation toward renewable energy. Read More

Biden administration urges Supreme Court to leave climate lawsuits to states 03-20-23

Big Oil has long counted on corporate-friendly federal courts to get rid of climate suits. Read more

Same Message, Bigger Audience: Sen. Whitehouse Flags Climate Costs 03-07-23

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch. Read more

Nations agree on ‘world-changing’ deal to protect ocean life 03-05-23

More than 190 countries have reached a landmark deal for protecting the biodiversity of the world’s oceans, agreeing for the first time on a common framework for establishing new protected areas in international waters. Read more

Kentucky Residents Angered by U.S. Forest Service Logging Plan That Targets Mature Trees 03-05-23

Biden pledged to protect old-growth trees, but proposed clear-cutting in national forests collides with climate policy. Read more

Biden set for first veto on Senate bill opposing climate-friendly investing 03-01-23

Two Democratic senators joined with GOP lawmakers to pass the bill, revealing how vulnerable incumbents can be recruited to oppose climate policies. Read more

Georgians plead with state officials to protect the Okefenokee from mining 02-28-23

Even if the Supreme Court rules to protect certain wetlands, the fate of certain watersheds will be up to the states. Read more

Biden administration restores Obama-era mercury rules for power plants, eyes more regulations in coming months 02-17-23

The Biden administration on Friday finalized a decision to reestablish Obama-era rules that require coal and oil-fired power plants to reduce toxic pollutants, including mercury and acid gas, that come out of their smokestacks. Read more

Sen. Whitehouse wants the budget panel to be a climate committee 02-17-23

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) has a new platform for urging Americans to wake up to the threat of climate change.

Minnesota Has Passed a Landmark Clean Energy Law. Which State Is Next? 02-09-23

New Jersey, Michigan and Maryland are among the ones to watch, but one seems more likely than the others to pass energy major legislation this year. Read more

Republican senators challenge Biden water protection rule 02-02-23

Senate Republicans are attempting to repeal the Biden administration’s water regulations, though their effort faces an uphill battle. Read more

EPA issues rare veto, halting Alaska’s Pebble mine 02-01-23

Mining waste would have jeopardized the world’s largest sockeye salmon run. Read more

Public lands near Minnesota’s Boundary Waters withdrawn from federal mining leases 01-26-23

The decision follows a 2021 environmental assessment and withdrawal application from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. Read more

How a defunct Trump policy still threatens Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp 01-31-23

The short-lived rule is helping the mining industry from beyond the grave. Read more

Biden climate law spurred billions in clean energy investment. Has it been a success? 01-29-23

Some analysts praised the progress while others warned that much more is needed. Read more

Meet the top House recipients of oil and gas money 01-26-23

The oil and gas industry donated millions of dollars to members of the House in the last election cycle. Now, many of the top recipients are well-positioned to advance its interests. Read more

Biden administration unveils roadmap for a greener, more equitable transportation sector 01-24-23

Federal agencies look beyond EVs to envision more convenient and efficient ways of getting around. Read more

Texas Environmentalists Look to EPA for Action on Methane, Saying State Agencies Have ‘Failed Us’ 01-22-23

Commenting on the EPA’s proposed new rule to reduce methane leaks, they said Texas regulators are resistant to take on emissions of the climate super-pollutant. Read more

How dark money groups led Ohio to redefine gas as ‘green energy’ 01-17-23

In Ohio, natural gas is ‘green’ now. Documents show how dark money groups led to this law. Read more

GOP thrusts gas stoves, Biden’s green agenda into the culture wars 01-12-23

Republicans thrust gas stoves, Biden’s green agenda into the culture wars Read more

EPA’s proposed air pollution standards for soot could save thousands of lives 01-09-23

Health experts say it doesn’t go far enough to limit the deadly pollutant. Read more

A new EPA proposal is reigniting a debate about what counts as ‘renewable’ 01-04-23

The agency wants more ethanol, biogas, and wood pellet power in the nation’s fuel mix. But is that actually a good thing? Read more

Republicans Are Primed to Take on ‘Woke Capitalism’ in 2023, with Climate Disclosure Rules for Corporations in Their Sights 01-03-23

Conservative politicians argue that environmental, social and governance principles—known as “ESG”—are diverting asset managers from their duties to investors, and may even amount to illegal collusion. Read more

Tracking Biden’s environmental actions 01-03-23

As Biden unwinds dozens of Trump’s energy and environmental policies, he’s forging his own. Read more