Environmental Protection Agency

Regulating Carbon Dioxide
February 19, 2009

Big news yesterday. The EPA is expected to follow the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in 2007 and begin regulating carbon-dioxide emissions in the coming months: The environmental agency is under order from the Supreme Court to make a determination whether carbon dioxide is a pollutant that endangers public health and welfare, an order that the Bush administration essentially ignored despite near-unanimous belief among agency experts that research points inexorably to such a finding. Lisa P. Jackson, the new E.P.A.

Surveying The Wreckage At Epa
January 07, 2009

This came out in early December, but John Shiffman and John Sullivan's long Philadelphia Inquirer profile of Stephen Johnson, Bush's last (and perhaps most controversial) EPA head, is absolutely fantastic.

Coal Mines, Casinos, and Cocaine
December 16, 2008

If the news reports are accurate, Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado has been tapped by Barack Obama to head up the Department of Interior. Let's hope he knows what he's getting into. After the last eight years, the Interior Department has become fairly dysfunctional, and this may end up being one of the most difficult jobs in the Obama administration—not to mention one that gets remarkably little attention.  Looking back historically, the Interior Department has been a mess from the very beginning.

Getting To Know Lisa Jackson
December 11, 2008

NAME: Lisa Jackson  AGE: 46 NEW APPOINTMENT: Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (expected) HOW SHE KNOWS OBAMA: Serving on the transition's agency review team for energy and natural resources.

Weeding Through The Controversy Over Obama's Epa Pick
December 11, 2008

Barack Obama has reportedly tapped Lisa Jackson to be his new EPA head. Jackson was previously working in New Jersey as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. There, she earned raves from Governor Jon Corzine, who recently told ThinkProgress, "I think Lisa has done a remarkable job of trying to move the environmental agenda forward within a constrained world." (Most notably, New Jersey has been trying to enact a plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.) But not everyone shares that assessment.

Does Obama Need Congress To Act On Climate Change?
December 04, 2008

What happens if Congress can't—or won't—pass a climate bill in the next two years? Does that mean Obama will just have to scrap his promise to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions? No, not necessarily. As we've discussed before, and as Marc Ambinder pointed out yesterday, thanks to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, the EPA has the option of using the existing Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 from power plants and large industrial facilities. Here's Ambinder's take: If Obama decides to do this, climate change conservatives will go ape. An end-run around Congress.

Last-minute Gifts For Pigs And Mines
December 02, 2008

This is very useful: Propublica is compiling a complete, searchable list of all the last-minute regulations the Bush administration is trying to jam through before Obama takes office.

Can Clean-water Laws... Clean The Air?
November 19, 2008

Lawsuits may seem like a quixotic—or even counterproductive—strategy for tackling a problem as big as global warming, but lately they seem to be working. Last week, the EPA's appeals board blocked the permit for a new coal-fired plant in Utah, ruling that before the EPA handed out any more permits, the agency needed to determine whether the coal plants should employ "best available control technology" for carbon-dioxide emissions. The decision was, in effect, an implementation of the Supreme Court's ruling in Massachusetts v.

A Major, Major Setback For Coal
November 14, 2008

Wow, stunning news yesterday: The EPA's appeals board sided (pdf) with the Sierra Club and blocked the EPA from issuing a permit for a new coal-fired power plant in Utah. Kate Sheppard has a round-up, but it's hard to overstate the impact of this story. Basically, the board ruled that the EPA's regional office in Denver needed to reconsider its decision not to require any controls on carbon-dioxide emissions. Environmentalists are, not surprisingly, hailing the decision as a huge step toward limiting greenhouse gases from coal plants. So what, exactly, does the ruling mean?

So Who's In At Epa? (please Not Rfk Jr...)
November 05, 2008

We're closing the new issue of TNR tonight, so, for now, I'll have to put off writing more about what Obama's big win yesterday means for energy policy and the environment. There's plenty to say, trust me! But in the interim, I have to agree with Jason here and Sam Boyd here that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. would be an appalling choice to head up Obama's EPA.

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