In December, San Diego became the latest (and largest) city in the United States to pledge to move entirely to renewable energy; in January, New York governor Andrew Cuomo launched a $5 billion clean energy fund; and this spring, lawmakers in Oregon are expected to vote on a measure banning the use of coal power. Increasingly, U.S. states and cities are choosing to go out ahead of the Feds on climate action. But according to research published last month in the journal Nature Climate Change, building a sustainable green-energy future might still require Congress’ help.
“Administrative law is not for sissies,” he told the Duke audience. Scalia went on to tout the so-called Chevron doctrine, holding that if Congress has been silent or ambiguous about how to tackle an issue, the courts should defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of the law.
When Supreme Court justices ruled to freeze the Obama administration’s climate rule earlier this month, many viewed it as a sign that it would ultimately be rejected by the high court (Greenwire, Feb. 9). But with the possibility now that the court could split 4-4 on the case — upholding a lower court’s opinion — all eyes are on what’s happening in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
As President Obama contemplates the monumental political task of replacing the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, some analysts have suggested that he nominate a member of the Senate to the high court — on the theory that it will be hard for senators to reject one of their own. But that argument only goes so far — especially in a closely divided Senate in an election year, especially with Republicans holding 31 of the nation’s 50 governorships and especially with ideological control of the court hanging in the balance.
How far to the center President Obama should lean when choosing a Supreme Court nominee remains an open question, with Senate Republican leaders still saying any pick would be dead on arrival. Without naming names, Democrats who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee have hinted that a candidate who has already been through the rigorous confirmation process may be more likely to move forward on the merits.
As U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan weathers legal turmoil, at least one state is proceeding full steam ahead. California’s Air Resources Board released a white paper yesterday exploring ways to mesh the state’s existing climate change regulations with those envisioned under the federal rule for existing power plants.
U.S. EPA is exploring new territory when it comes to the Supreme Court’s decision to freeze the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of the Obama’a administration’s climate agenda, several former agency officials said this week. “Stays are quite unusual,” said Robert Sussman, who held positions in EPA during both the Obama and Clinton administrations. “I don’t think there are clear guideposts.”
“If Scalia’s seat remains vacant when the Clean Power Plan reaches the high court, a 4-4 vote would result in an automatic affirmance of the D.C. Circuit’s decision on the rule,” says Jack Lienke, an attorney with the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law, by email. “We can’t know what the D.C. Circuit will decide, but supporters of the Clean Power Plan are optimistic — both because the D.C. Circuit panel, unlike the Supreme Court, denied motions to stay the rule and because the three-judge panel includes two Democratic appointees.”
The U.K. wind energy industry received a boost this week with the announcement of the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, to be built off the northeast coast. Dong Energy said its multi-billion pound Hornsea project, which is expected to power as many as 1 million homes in the region when complete, will occupy more than 400 square kilometers, situated about 120km off the Yorkshire coast.
No matter what happens to the Clean Power Plan after the Supreme Court last week paused its implementation, the United States will sign later this year the climate change mitigation agreement reached in Paris in December, the country’s top climate envoy said yesterday.