News and Press
“This downgrade fundamentally changes the risk-reward calculation when it comes to unconventional oil development in our state. Given that the industry's promised economic benefits are not likely to materialize, the state should take a hard look at the impacts that oil development has on public health, safety, and the environment.”KALW City Visions, May 12, 2014
“There was a study done by Congress in 1980 saying that in order for solar to cut through, there was going to have to be a reduction from the current price, which at that point was about ten dollars per installed watt down to one dollar per installed watt, and they predicted that would happen in 1988. Well we didn’t get there, then, but there’s been a dramatic shift in the last handful of years, and now solar is very much within that range.”
KCRW To the Point, May 12, 2014
“These are tried and true technologies. Solar panels have been around for decades, and there is a lot of environmental analysis done on solar installations everywhere. The notion that solar panels are dangerous has been looked at, and was sort of put to bed decades ago.”
Daniel Farber quoted in The Washington Post, May 1, 2014
Among those who first pointed out the problem were law professors Jonathan Adler of Case Western Reserve University and Dan Farber of the University of California at Berkeley. Adler called the mistake merely “noticeable.” Farber called it “a cringe-worthy blunder,” “hugely embarrassing” and doubly so because Scalia wrote the opinion he mistakenly cited for support.
KALW (NPR), April 2014
"The federal government and Federal Railroad Administration has primarily authority over rail safety nationwide... and the federal preemption provisions are very strong for the railroad industry. The downside of this is that states like California do not have as much leeway to impose more stringent regulations to increase rail safety when perhaps they would like to do so."
Sunset Magazine, April 2014
“On the East Coast, if we look at the geology, it’s akin to a layer cake,” says Jayni Foley Hein, executive director of the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at the University of California, Berkeley. “In the Monterey Shale, it’s more akin to a marble cake.”
The New York Times, April 21, 2014
Ethan N. Elkind, author of “Railtown,” which chronicles the push for a modern rail system in Los Angeles, said in an interview that a connection would be unlikely to transform the way Angelenos travel to the airport. “It would be more of a psychological victory, a way to reshape the image of Los Angeles,” said Mr. Elkind.
KALW-FM, City Visions, April 7, 2014
There was a push in the ‘90s that got some of the first versions of electric vehicles on the road. But, more recently, it has a lot to do with California policies. California has been a leader in air quality issues in general, but has also made zero-emissions vehicles a priority.
Law 360, April 16, 2014
“We’ve seen mounting concern over fracking,” Hein said. “There has been a groundswell of local moratoria. As that happens, it has helped generate support for a statewide moratorium.”
Detroit Free Press, March 16, 2014
Granholm still doesn’t regard Michigan’s incentives for battery makers as wasted money. “Just because the jobs haven’t happened ‘yet,’ it doesn’t mean that cracking the code to vehicle batteries was the wrong strategy,” said Granholm, who is teaching at the University of California-Berkeley.
Climate Central, March 10, 2014
The GAO report does not question scientific findings on global warming, and it shows that many energy companies recognize the risk they face from climate change, said Steven Weissman….“This nonpartisan report should shift the burden of proof for any firms or agencies that are dragging their feet,” Weissman said, adding that the report could focus the attention of the public and policymakers on the need to strengthen all public infrastructure to better stand up to climate change.
Politico Magazine, March 5, 2014
But money alone cannot ensure success, notes Ethan Elkind, the author of Railtown, a history of Los Angeles’s troubled transit past. “Despite the multibillion-dollar investment, it took specific policies to make development happen,” Elkind says. “You can’t just build the line and assume people will come.”
Salon News, March 1, 2014
The rain finally came to California this week, and not a moment too soon. Last year was the state’s driest year in a century. Over the past two weeks, the percentage of California territory in an “exceptional drought” — the drought monitor’s highest rating — has expanded from 15 to 26, while over 90 percent of the state remains in “severe drought.”
CNN Money, February 21, 2014
A substantial chunk of the funds for pensions will actually come from nonprofits and the state, and it will be tied to the preservation of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Nicknamed the grand bargain, the tactic is “basically a strategy to draw external charitable dollars into Detroit,” Anderson writes in an e-mail.
The New York Times, February 12, 2014
As former Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm of Michigan, a Democrat, told me: “Politics is so far behind the other sectors, I guess because in a democracy you have to appeal to the broadest spectrum in order to get elected. People still expect a more traditional thing from female politicians. Calling a man ambitious is seen as a positive thing. With a woman, it’s a negative.”
Los Angeles Times, January 27, 2014
Finally, rail-accessible development can create convenient, walkable neighborhoods that meet the growing demand among millennials, childless professionals and empty nesters to move “back to the city” — as many recent urban success stories attest.
San Francisco Chronicle, January 23, 2014
Jennifer Granholm, a former Michigan governor … will co-chair the Priorities Action USA political action committee…. law Professor Maria Echaveste, White House deputy chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, was also named Thursday to the PAC’s 14-member board. “I want to elect a president who will appoint a Supreme Court justice who will overturn Citizens United so there is no necessity or no legality for this unfettered flow of money,” said Granholm.
NPR, January 5, 2014
Eric Biber … says no one realized how common carcinogens are. Today, the list of potentially toxic chemicals is so long that it’s confusing to businesses that are trying to comply with the law, and that’s only half the problem. “The law uses a citizen-suit provision in which anyone can sue a company for violating the law,” Biber says. “The problem is it does create an incentive for more and more people to sue.”
San Jose Mercury News, December 27, 2013
According to Michael Kiparsky … fracking puts water supplies at risk, especially when developers drill through aquifers en route to gas reserves in shale. Frack water is so contaminated, water cannot be recovered, and the chemicals are left in the ground.
San Jose Mercury News, December 2, 2013
Steven Weissman, director of the energy program at UC Berkeley Law School and a former PUC administrative law judge, said it would be acceptable for the executive director and the administrative law judges to discuss “procedural and staffing issues,” but added that “it would be typical for the executive director to discuss these things with the chief ALJ (administrative law judge) rather than going directly to the judge on the case.”
The Daily Californian, November 26, 2013
Granholm said that as the former governor of Michigan, she was inspired to format the class’s final as policy proposals to offer politicians innovative solutions to political challenges without reinventing the wheel.
UCLA Today, November 25, 2013
Californians can certainly brag about the state’s leading role in deploying renewable energy from the sun and wind. In-state renewable energy generation has spiked in the past few years, prices have come down significantly, and we appear to be well on our way to meeting the goal of 33 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2020. But will this renewable energy boom actually mean cleaner air and less greenhouse gas pollution?
Sacramento Bee, November 24, 2013
Most of us assume that renewable means clean. But the intermittent nature of much of this power – since the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow – may lead grid operators to rely on more fossil fuel-based power to fill gaps in the renewable sources.
San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 2013
Every time it rains, San Francisco Bay gets a little sicker. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Asphalt streets collect pollutants from motor oil to metals from brake pads to nutrients from garden fertilizers. Rains quickly wash it all into storm drains, local streams and the bay. When combined with decades of industrial pollution, storm-water runoff damages marine life and kills fish, leaving those that survive too toxic to eat. We cannot completely repair the bay’s ecology, but we can improve its health and ours by changing the way we build city streets.
California Lawyer, November, 2013
Kiparsky says there would have to be a huge increase in fracking before it registers as a significant part of the state’s overall water use. “That said, all water is local,” he adds. “The impacts on local water sources could be an issue. We just don’t know at this point.”
A recent article he coauthored with Berkeley Law colleague Jayni Foley Hein states: “Fracturing ‘flowback’ … and ‘produced water’ (all waste-water that emerges from the well after production begins) contain potentially harmful chemicals, some of which are known carcinogens. Produced water is also highly saline and potentially harmful to humans, aquatic life, and ecosystems.”
BBC News, October 23, 2013
Michelle Wilde Anderson is a law professor at UC Berkeley and an expert in municipal bankruptcy filings. She says Detroit’s case is made much harder because the laws governing municipal bankruptcies are murky. “The law is unclear on eligibility or it’s just unformed,” she says.
San Francisco Chronicle, October 21, 2013
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has a hard time convincing her public policy students at UC Berkeley to go into public service. “Why,” they ask her, “would we go and try to get a job in D.C., where nothing is getting done or worse-than-nothing is getting done, when the action is in the private sector? These are the people who are making a difference in people’s lives.’” Washington, she said, “is becoming completely irrelevant.”
The Washington Times, October 9, 2013
“Obviously, states that are more committed to environmental protection are more likely to file suit against EPA saying, ‘You’re not doing enough,’” said Ms. Doremus, who also serves as the co-director of Berkeley’s environmental law program. “States are on both sides of pushing EPA to regulate more and pushing EPA to regulation less,” she said.
The Molokai Dispatch, September 18, 2013
“Molokai is an absolutely perfect fit for electric vehicles,” said Ethan Elkind, an EV expert and climate policy associate…. Compared to the 1.4 million people that visit Hawaii each year, Elkind said Molokai attracts a specific kind of person likely to request an EV rental car. “[Tourists on Molokai] are more into eco-tourism than other islands would get,” said Elkind. The Bay Nature Institute, September 17, 2013
“When a hole is drilled, it creates a conduit through which oil, gas, and fracking fluids could move upwards,” Kiparsky says. “If there was a casing failure, that movement into the bottom of the aquifer could happen within hours or days, but wouldn’t necessarily be expressed at the surface, or be visible, for decades or centuries.”… Kiparsky warns of the risks of irreversible contamination of surface and groundwater near wells, unless the method is carefully monitored and controlled.
Plugincars.com, September 13, 2013
According to Ethan Elkind … (a co-author of the report) “Hawaii has easily solvable problems. We went island by island to see where the problems were…. The defacto cap has to be addressed because it’s preventing people from buying EVs,” he said.
Listen to the interview, click here.
Michael Bower with KCBS talks to Ethan Elkind regarding his research into the possible negative impact of High Speed Rail on the Central Valley.
Listen to the story, click here.
Morning Edition looks back on the blackout of 2003, David Greene talks to Steven Weissman, the director of the Energy Program at the University of California Berkeley, about how the country's electrical systems work, and how to manage them in the future.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, July 30, 2013
Kiparsky is particularly worried over what is still to come in California. “Since we don’t yet understand the existing risks, we certainly don’t understand the risks of technologies that have not yet been used.”Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2013
What belongs on our list of minimum standards for a city? Detroit invites us to have a public conversation about what services and public spaces we expect from city governments for human dignity and for humans to flourish. We have a chance to say that no one should have to wait hopelessly for an ambulance, that a violent crime in a neighborhood every few hours is intolerable.
The Sacramento Bee, July 7, 2013
“There is tremendous (scientific) uncertainty,” said Michael Kiparsky … co-author of a recent report that found gaping holes in California’s regulation of fracking. “California has historically been a leader in the governance of environmental issues” –but not fracking, Kiparsky said. “There is the opportunity to learn from other states … and try not to repeat their learning experiences.”
San Francisco Chronicle, July 5, 2013 (registration required)
“It was born of a concern about federal courts overreaching beyond the power given to them,” said Amanda Tyler, a UC Berkeley constitutional law professor. The courts, she said, are often reluctant to “interfere with the workings of the executive or legislative branch.”
The ruling hasn’t eliminated environmental suits but has made them harder to sustain. Courts have insisted that plaintiffs show they are suffering a definable harm that would be cured by a favorable ruling, said Daniel Farber…. “You have to have an injury that was caused by the (government), and the court has to be able to help you,” he said.
Jayni Foley Hein quoted in The New York Times, June 1, 2013
“It’s somewhat alarming how little the state knows about the fracking that has occurred in the past and the fracking that continues today,” said Jayni Foley Hein … a co-author of a recent report on fracking in California.San Francisco Business Times, May 28, 2013
It’s always the same story when the EPA rolls out new regulations, says Dan Farber, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, law school. “Just fill in the blanks, and you can save yourself the trouble of reading newspaper accounts about any new EPA action,” Farber says, providing readers with a template under the headline “New EPA Regulations Spark Controversy.”Reuters, May 16, 2013
“It’s very convoluted,” said Daniel Farber, an environmental law professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. “The court typically doesn’t like all this complicated stuff.”
Association of California Water Agencies, May 14, 2013
“Once fracking has been conducted, its effects may be impossible to reverse,” Kiparsky said, adding that “the science remains uncertain, particularly in the face of technology that is rapidly evolving.”
Jayni Foley Hein … added that the regulations put forward in DOGGR’s discussion draft are currently not as robust as those found in other states. She said improvements are needed to the public notice process pertaining to fracking operations, as well as disclosure about “trade-secret” fracking chemicals. San Francisco Chronicle, May 12, 2013 (registration required)
New fracturing techniques combined with demand for oil have led to alarming projections of dramatically increased fracking activity in California. Such developments may have outstripped the ability of responsible government agencies to effectively oversee fracking activity and its attendant impacts on our land, air and water resources.
New York Times, May 8, 2013
As Holly Doremus, an environmental legal scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, writes, America has saved so much without ever asking “how much wild nature society needs, and how much society can accept.” San Francisco Chronicle, May 6, 2013 (requires registration)
Holly Doremus, a professor of environmental law at UC Berkeley, said the Boxer provisions go too far. “There’s a big difference between being able to stall a project forever and having environmental review so compressed and so within the control of the action agency that it might as well not happen,” Doremus said.
KCRW, April 17, 2013
“Our report focused on risks to water. The key risks are for contaminations of underground sources of drinking water, which occurs—or which might occur—because many oil wells drill directly through aquifers on their way to the oil or gas reserves below. Another risk is from surface spills and from operations near the rigs on the surface.”
Environmental Groups Take Fracking Fight to Court
Jayni Foley Hein quoted on NPR - KQED, April 17, 2013
This month, a judge agreed with several environmental groups that the Bureau of Land Management failed to review the potential impacts on water and land. “This is the first major case that really says the agency needs to take a harder look and needs to do a more thorough assessment than it's done in the past,” says Jayni Foley Hein of the UC Berkeley School of Law.
Jayni Foley Hein and Michael Kiparsky quoted in Environment & Energy Publishing, April 11, 2013
"We're witnessing this potentially alarming increase in fracking in the state," said Hein, executive director of Berkeley's Center for Law, Energy & the Environment. "Given these projections, how should the state be forward-looking to regulate fracking?"
"Despite increasing attention to the issue, there is a stark lack of clarity among regulators and the concerned public about what fracking is in California, how it differs from fracking in other states, the risks that it presents, and how to best manage and regulate the process," the study says. Kiparsky added that policymakers need to take steps to protect against any hazards from unconventional drilling.
"The draft regulations are an important first step," Hein said, "but the state must widen its scope to protect public health and avoid any contamination of surface and groundwater."
Jayni Foley Hein and Michael Kiparsky quoted in the Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2013
“Hydraulic fracturing presents risks to our environment and human health, and must be properly regulated and controlled. This report identifies several areas where the state’s knowledge base and existing regulatory scheme are deficient,” the authors wrote.
“The idea is that the people who were using the water first, they get the first call on the water that there is,” explains Holly Doremus, an environmental law professor at UC Berkeley.
KALW-FM, City Vision, April 8, 2013
“If it’s urban water use in particular, which is the case here in the San Francisco Bay Area, excluding the agricultural areas, then it’s the most energy-intensive water because it has to be pumped, has to be treated, and has to be treated on disposal, as well. So, conserving water has an immediate benefit of conserving energy. Not a lot of people understand that connection, and that’s something we’re trying to raise awareness about.”
Greenwire, April 5, 2013
“There’s a history of the cases not leading to anywhere near the full amount of the deal showing up in cash,” said Steven Weissman.… One example of a cash-free settlement would be to adjust charges for BPA or WAPA electricity in the future, he said.
Reuters, March 31, 2013
“The problem tends to involve the capture of the government by various interests – these problems are exacerbated when the company actually is the government,” said Alex Wang, professor at Berkeley and an expert in China’s environmental legislation.
KALW News, Crosscurrents, February 28, 2013
“More and more, people don’t want to see this sort of black and white wilderness versus non-wilderness. We’ve almost evolved beyond that, and I think it’s time to think of creative approaches about how can we both incentivize and protect the development of our local, sustainable, and organic agriculture, but at the same time preserve these wild areas for future generations.”
Jayni Foley Hein, quoted on NPR- KALW, February 27, 2013
Jayni Hein, executive director for law, energy and the environment at UC Berkeley’s Boalt school of law, says, “We can’t have commercial activities in our wilderness lands; that would change their character too much.”
“It’s time for creative approaches to think about how can we both incentivize and protect the development of our local sustainable agriculture, organic agriculture, but at the same time preserve these wild areas for future generations.”San Francisco Chronicle, February 26, 2012 by Daniel Farber
“It traces back to work done at the law school, to community activists and to people in public office,” says Sax. “We need the legal basis to get the job done, and the place where that happens is in the law school.”
In short, the legacy of Colby, Sax and Heyman lives on—not only in Berkeley Law itself, but also in the wetlands, lakes and mountains they fought with such ingenuity to protect.
Daniel Farber and John Yoo cited in National Public Radio, It’s All Politics blog, February 8, 2013
In an interview, Farber said…. “Presidents, regardless of political party, or liberal versus conservative, they just don’t seem to have a lot of qualms about doing what they think is necessary for national security. So it doesn’t surprise me [that Obama has allowed Americans to be targeted in drone strikes overseas]. There have been very few exceptions.”
In his 2006 book, War by Other Means: An Insider’s Account of the War on Terror, Yoo argues that killings in the context of a war is what legitimizes the federal government’s actions: “When a nation goes to war, it seeks to defeat the enemy in order to prevent future harms on society inflicted by enemy attacks…. The military bombs a building when it estimates with varying degrees of certainty that enemy soldiers or munitions are there. It does not wait to attack until it has proof beyond a reasonable doubt or probably cause.”
Environment and Energy Publishing, January 18, 2013
Green electricity isn’t available if clouds are out or the wind is not blowing…. “It helps to balance it out if you have a lot of different resources to compensate,” Elkind said. “At some point, the state’s going to have to go in that direction, where we start to bring in renewable resources from all across the Western region.”
“The extent to which you expand the ISO’s control area, you’re also expanding the ability to have a first point of interconnection between renewable energy projects and the ISO’s grid,” Weissman said.National Public Radio, January 14, 2013
“There’s been clarity as to the severity of the problem, there’s more frequent disclosure of information, but what remains to be seen is whether more aggressive action will be taken to solve the problem,” says Alex Wang…. “In theory, with the greater transparency, that’s harder to do — the falsification or cheating the data. What will be interesting to see going forward is that now that they’ve become more transparent—releasing hourly data and so forth—does it actually force the regulators to take regulatory action?”
Marketplace, American Public Media, January 14, 2013
“This is emergency level air pollution,” said Alex Wang, an environmental law professor at University of California-Berkeley, who specializes in China’s environmental regulations.
E&E, Greenwire, January 9, 2013
“Having someone who has a business background, who understands how these finance deals get put together, could be really helpful,” Elkind said. As well, he said, the latest developments in advanced solar, battery storage and electric vehicles are “all right in his wheelhouse.”
Environment & Energy Publishing, January 7, 2013
“I’ve noticed that Peevey and [former Commissioner Timothy] Simon tended to vote as a bloc almost all of the time, and the question was who they could get to go along with them,” said Steven Weissman, a former administrative law judge at the CPUC who now serves as associate director of the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment. “I think the voting blocs are not necessarily something that makes for the best policy.”
POLITICO, December 5, 2012
Munich RE is an insurance company: what progressives often consider a methodical, calculating, machine using cold, heartless data to maximize profits. In a report to fellow insurance companies, Munich RE noted that the number of weather-related losses had quintupled over the past thirty years. In October, the company said, “Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America.”
ThomasNet News, October 17, 2012
“California represents a huge portion of new car sales—11 percent of overall new car sales every year, and 20 percent of hybrid vehicle sales,” Elkind told me…. Elkind, who wrote the report with research associates and business leaders from various sectors in the electric vehicle market (carmakers, battery companies, public agency officials, electricity experts, etc.), says, “It has also taken the lead legislatively, but with this paper we tried to show a few more things that can be done to help the transition more.”
Daniel Farber quoted in San Jose Mercury News, October 14, 2012
“Any comprehensive plan is going to have to confront this issue,” said Daniel Farber, co-director of UC Berkeley’s environmental law [center]. “A negative decision in this case could pose a barrier to aggressive state efforts to address climate change.”
Daniel Farber quoted in Environmental and Energy Publishing, September 20, 2012
“These cases are always hard to predict in the Supreme Court,” said Daniel Farber, an environmental law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. The fuel standard case is certainly “a possible case for Supreme Court review,” he added.The Daily Californian, September 9, 2012
“Electric vehicles are important to our environmental concerns, public health, quality of life and national security,” said Ethan Elkind…. “They are important to the economy because you would have a domestic source of fuel instead of having to import foreign oil.”
The magnitude of environmental benefits is not the same in all states because it depends on which energy source is used to generate electricity. In states like West Virginia, electricity is produced by coal as opposed to cleaner energies used in California, said Weissman. Forbes, August 24, 2012
PACE watcher Ethan Elkind, who holds a joint appointment at the UCLA and UC Berkeley law schools, called the ruling a “decisive win” for the plaintiffs, which includes the California Attorney General’s Office. “With this decision,” Elkind wrote at the Legal Planet blog, “the FHFA PACE policy is officially toast until the agency can develop a final rule pending the outcome of an ongoing rulemaking process “
Eric Biber quoted in Futurity.org, August 16, 2012
“There are some 100,000 species of plants and animals in North America, and asking one federal agency to stay on top of that is tough,” Biber says. “If there were restrictions on the number of citizen-initiated petitions being reviewed, the government would lose a whole universe of people providing high-quality information about species at risk, and it is likely that many species would be left unprotected.”
Nature Publishing Group, August 14, 2012
Alex Wang, an environmental lawyer at the University of California, Berkeley, says that the lawsuit signals an opportunity for civil-society groups to play a part in environmental enforcement. But “only time will tell whether this turns into precedent or remains a one-time event. Too many promising initiatives like this one have languished once the initial publicity has died down,” he warns.
POLITICO, August 8, 2012
Governors are hungry for both dollars and jobs, and states alone don’t have the resources to compete against China. But if the federal government could catalyze action, sparking private sector partnerships and state-level policy changes — be they tax incentives, land assembly, streamlined permitting processes, renewable-energy standards, access to capital, access to talent and training — then this bottom-up Clean Energy Jobs Race to the Top would create millions of permanent, well-paying advanced manufacturing jobs in America in the next four years.
The Daily Californian, August 7, 2012
“The growing California population will put additional stress on the water system,” said Berkeley School of Law Professor Dan Farber, another co-author of the study, in an email. “Some of our key recommendations include a new system for monitoring and recording water use, which is essential for better planning, and better methods for controlling the use of groundwater, which is rapidly being exhausted.”
“The information those kinds of rules will generate can help California adapt to climate change by establishing a baseline of how much water the state is using and by identifying changes in both supply and demand over time,” Lambe said.
USA Today, July 29, 2012
Both the Qidong and Shifang demonstrations “reflect what happens when there are no effective formal channels for public input into environmental decision making”…. Berkeley’s Wang said he hopes Qidong is “a wake-up call” for leaders: “If they don’t create genuine channels for engaging with the public before polluting projects are approved, they will inevitably have to deal with the much uglier aftermath when protests erupt.”
Scientific American, July 23, 2012 (subscription required)
“The environmental community was always unwilling to talk about triage,” says Holly Doremus, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “Even though they knew it was going on, they were unwilling to talk about it.”Diari Mes (page 8), July 2, 2012
“I think to advance, it is necessary to combine strong political leadership with a concern for urban design and a participatory democratic process that will generate enough public support. Leaders must be able to describe the future they want for their city, and citizens must create this vision and support it so it functions.”
Marketplace, Sustainability, June 15, 2012
“I think sometimes the debate misses how much of the responsibility is also in the U.S. and the developed countries that are after all shipping a lot of industries to China and purchasing the goods that China is producing.”
Greentech Media, June 11, 2012
The Governor’s office asked CLEE’s Weissman and Jeffrey Russell to expand on the UCLA conference stakeholder input with further research and analysis and build a comprehensive outline of how to overcome the many remaining planning, permitting, financing, construction and interconnection barriers slowing California’s DG.
“There is going to have to be a lot done on the utility level,” Weissman said. “The utilities … tend to look at their resource needs on a service territory-wide basis. But in order to make distributed generation a significant factor and a positive contribution to the grid, there is going to have to be a renewed emphasis on local resource planning.”
This story appeared in a number of sources including ClimateWire, San Francisco Business Times, Daily Democrat, and KQED News.
Daily Journal, May 29, 2012 (registration required)
Ecototality may have its work cut out for it in the lawsuit, said Steven Weissman. “The courts have over time given tremendous deference to the PUC about the way it resolves cases that involve ratepayer funds.” KCBS-TV, ConsumerWatch, May 29, 2012
“It’s a dramatic increase in the amount of renewable power being provided to customers,” said Steven Weissman. He said nothing’s for sure in the energy markets, but believes over time, Marin Clean Energy’s rates should be comparable to P.G. and E’s. “I don’t think you’re going to have a significantly different bill,” Weissman told ConsumerWatch.
Los Angeles Times, May 23, 2012
More than bragging rights are at stake: California’s solar industry has created 26,000 jobs, or 1 in 4 solar jobs nationwide, according to a recent study by the UC Berkeley law school.
Forbes, May 17, 2012
“The least risky spending proposals are those that would advance AB 32’s goals, and in particular, AB 32’s primary goal: the reduction and mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” wrote Deborah Lambe and Daniel Farber of the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment. “Somewhat more risky (but still relatively low risk) are costly spending proposals for projects that advance the goals of AB 32, but also advance other, unrelated goals.”
PV-Tech, April 10, 2012
“Overall incentives are being reduced,” said Weissman. “I think about a patient in intensive care with tubes, wires, everything is hooked up and the doctor comes in and says I think the patient is doing better, let’s yank them all out! That’s not what they’re going to do, they’re going to pull one plug, ramp down one medicine and see what the impacts are.”
Contra Costa Times, March 29, 2012
Doremus noted the committee did not weigh in on plans to move water around the Delta. The committee wrote there are not enough details available for it to analyze…. “Diverters were hoping the report would point a finger at other stressors as more important, which it didn’t,” Doremus wrote.
The Sacramento Bee, March 15, 2012
“It didn’t work,” said Holly Doremus, a UC Berkeley law professor and California water expert. “It’s widely regarded as a failure as a way to put in place balanced management of the Bay-Delta.”
Holly Doremus quoted in Environment & Energy News, March 9, 2012
“There are sort of two separate games going on―there’s the legal game and the political game,” Doremus said. “The fact that [NPS] may be playing a political game that fans of the farm may think is hard doesn’t mean anything is legally wrong with the NEPA process.”
U.S. House approves bill that would remake California water law
Holly Doremus quoted in Los Angeles Times, March 1, 2012
“Part of what it tries to do is turn back time,” said UC Berkeley law professor Holly Doremus. “It’s a remarkable overreach. It tries to give the irrigators everything. They threw all of the wish list in here.”
GHG rule ‘tailored’ to suit administration, says industry
Holly Doremus quoted in Environment & Energy News, March 1, 2012
“It is a big challenge for EPA,” said Doremus. “It is absolutely clear that they’re rejecting specific words of statute.”
The legal odyssey to curb greenhouse gases opens a new chapter on a warm February day
Holly Doremus quoted in Environment & Energy News, February 29, 2012
“The Bush administration did nothing,” agreed Holly Doremus, a professor of environmental law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. “The Obama administration EPA started exploring what they must and could do under the Clean Air Act.”
Lawyers descend en masse for arguments on greenhouse gas rules
Daniel Farber quoted in Environment & Energy News, February 27, 2012
As Daniel Farber, an environmental law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, noted, while it may be unusual for so many lawyers to be arguing, there’s an obvious reason why. “That seems like a lot of lawyers to me,” he said. “But of course the challengers are raising a lot of issues.
Daniel Farber and Joseph Sax Recount Berkeley Law’s Environmental LegacySan Francisco Chronicle, February 26, 2012 by Daniel Farber
“It traces back to work done at the law school, to community activists and to people in public office,” says Sax. “We need the legal basis to get the job done, and the place where that happens is in the law school.”
In short, the legacy of Colby, Sax and Heyman lives on—not only in Berkeley Law itself, but also in the wetlands, lakes and mountains they fought with such ingenuity to protect.
Daniel Farber Says Founders’ Original Intent UnclearThe Independent Voter Network, February 23, 2012 by Daniel Farber
People rely on rulings by the Supreme Court to provide consistency and prevent the proverbial rug from being pulled out from under them. But it can be difficult to decide when an erroneous ruling should be left intact. Again, reasonable judges can reach different conclusions even if they are both believers in upholding the original intention of the Constitution.
Daniel Farber Calls Debates Over EPA’s Findings ‘Political’California Watch, February 13, 2012 by Bernice Yeung
“There is strong industry opposition to these regulations and strong opposition from groups who are ideologically opposed to regulation in general,” Farber wrote in an e-mail. “EPA’s most important role in terms of economic impact and public health relates to air pollution. So it’s not surprising that this is the area where EPA is being attacked.”
Holly Doremus Supports Judge’s NEPA Opinion
Environment & Energy News, February 3, 2012 by Lawrence Hurley
“As Fletcher writes, it has long been the rule that agencies must evaluate the environmental consequences of their actions when it is reasonably possible to do so.”
Eric Biber Offers Environmentalists an Election-Year StrategyDefense Environmental Alert, January 4, 2012 by Curt Barry
http://cleanenergyreport.com/ (registration required)
While Biber doubts whether the initiative’s proposal will get the requisite signatures to make it onto the ballot, he says that environmental groups might want to use it as a rallying call to “get out the vote for the election (and perhaps push for success on other initiatives they might have for the ballot that they care about, too).”
Daniel Farber Applauds NEPA SurveyGreenwire, December 19, 2011 by Lawrence Hurley
Daniel Farber, an environmental law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, welcomed the survey, noting that, in general, “NEPA implementation in the federal government suffers from fragmentation,” making it difficult to track what different agencies are doing.
Holly Doremus Explains Preemption Dilemma in Air Pollution CaseDaily Journal, December 28, 2011 by Fiona Smith
http://bit.ly/A1iJm3 (registration required)
“The [Supreme] Court doesn’t seem to have come out with any clear doctrine, especially on when and to what extent they should presume state legislation is valid and to what extent they should put their thumb on the scales on behalf of the states,” Doremus said.
Alexander Wang Says China’s Green Movement Growing Stronger
chinadialogue, December 13, 2011 by Justin Gerdes
This litany of incidents illustrates the growing pressure the public and NGOs are able to wield in the fight against pollution in China, Alex Wang, attorney and visiting assistant professor at UC Berkeley Boalt School of Law, argued. “There’s no doubt that there seems to be an increased pressure and intensity,” he said. Armed with an ever-expanding body of environmental law, these players are pushing for change in the corporate world.
Ethan Elkind Clarifies Findings of Energy Storage ReportIntelligent Utility, November 29, 2011 by Phil Carson
“The report seeks to offer policy-makers an assessment of how the state could deploy energy storage technologies by 2020 in a cost-effective manner, given California’s environmental and renewable energy goals.”
Ethan Elkind Recommends Energy Storage TargetsInside Cal/EPA, November 18, 2011 by Inside Cal/EPA Staffhttp://iwpnews.com/sample_issues/insidecalepa_sample.pdf
“The state and federal governments could promote incentive programs, either by developing new programs or by expanding existing ones, to help finance energy storage projects, bring down costs and help manufacturers provide better data to spur further investment by 2020.”
Holly Doremus Comments on Wetlands CaseThe Spokesman-Review, November 6, 2011 by Becky Kramer
“The fact that the Supreme Court decided to take this case suggests that at least four members of the court think that the circuit courts are getting it wrong,” she said.
Ethan Elkind Studies Feasibility of Energy Projects on Farmland
-E&E News, October 24, 2011 by Anne C. Mulkern
http://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/rss/2011/10/24/10 (requires registration)
“Proposed projects on farmland tend to spur opposition from agricultural interests worried about the loss of productive farmland in the state, as well as from endangered species advocates concerned about the destruction of farms that provide critical habitat for endangered and threatened species,” said Ethan Elkind, one of the authors of the study.
-Los Angeles Law Schools Examiner, October 24, 2011 by Seth Chavez
“It’s important to strike a careful balance between demands for food and energy,” said report author Ethan Elkind, research fellow at UCLA Law and Berkeley Law. “The state needs to preserve its prime farmland yet actively develop these projects on appropriate sites to meet our state’s energy needs.”
Jennifer Granholm Lands New TV Show-The Baltimore Sun, October 12, 2011 by David Zurawik
“THE WAR ROOM will be a nightly show for political junkies like me and anyone who cares about the future of our country, focusing on the 2012 election from all angles. As a former governor, I want to take the viewers backstage to the great American drama that is democracy.”
-Associated Press, October 12, 2011 by Frazier Moore
“I’m really interested in solutions,” Granholm said. “We’ll be taking a deeper dive to solutions to the most pressing problems out there.”
Daniel Farber Wins Accolades in Justice’s New Book
The New York Times, September 30, 2011 by Lawrence Hurley
Stevens, now 91, recalls that when the government first petitioned the court to overturn the Cincinnati, Ohio-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that had halted construction of the almost completed dam, one of his law clerks sent him a memo dismissing the arguments as “feeble.” That clerk was Daniel Farber, who is now a well-known environmental law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
Daniel Farber Discusses ‘Diversity Bake Sale’
The Daily Californian, September 26, 2011 by Jason Willick
According to UC Berkeley School of Law Professor Daniel Farber, if the group actually sold cupcakes at different prices to students of different races, then their conduct would not be protected under the First Amendment because “a general rule against racial discrimination in commercial transactions should be valid.”
Holly Doremus Commends Judge for Mastery of Water Laws
San Francisco Chronicle, September 25, 2011 by Gosia Wozniacka
“I think those cases have been an incredible challenge,” said Holly Doremus, a law professor at UC Berkeley. “Judge Wanger took very seriously the task of sorting through the facts in these extremely complex, scientific cases.”
Steven Weissman Downplays Solyndra Collapse
Corporate Counsel, September 21, 2011 by Catherine Dunn
With regards to the singular, if high-profile, failing of Solyndra, Weissman says: “It’s a vast oversimplification to point to [the failure] of one company and draw any meaningful conclusions.” The purpose of the federal loan-guarantee program is to shift risk in uncharted waters from the private sector to the taxpayer, and “whenever there’s risk, that means some things are going to succeed and some things are going to fail,” he adds.
Holly Doremus Defends EPA
The New York Times, September 19, 2011 by Lawrence Hurley
In defense of EPA, Berkeley’s Doremus dismissed the notion that the agency regularly throws its weight around by initiating enforcement proceedings against individual property owners like the Sacketts. That doesn’t happen, she said, because both EPA and the Army Corps “have been stung” in the past by efforts that have backfired politically.
Eric Biber Warns of Weakened Environmental Quality Act
Greenwire, September 13, 2011 by Lawrence Hurley
“I very much am concerned that CEQA will be increasingly watered down,” Biber said. “I think we’ve already seen a pattern of this happening.” His biggest concern is that the argument for easing environmental review for proposals that create jobs and are environmentally friendly could lead to confusion and conflict over what kind of projects are worthy.
Daniel Farber Supports Cap and Trade to Reduce Emissions
Carbon Market North America, September 2, 2011 by Dan Farber
Cap and trade may or may not be the ideal approach, but if we cannot afford to delay while we engage in a quixotic quest for the perfect method of reducing emissions.
Alex Wang Gauges Impact of China’s Environmental Protests
Foreign Policy, August 23, 2011 by Christina Larson
“If this incident leads to more and better environmental transparency and better systems for ensuring that the public is protected from environmental risks, then it will have been a victory.” But he adds: “If the takeaway for the powers that be is that information needs to be more tightly controlled, then the pressures that led to the Dalian PX protests in the first place will only continue to grow.”
Steven Weissman Notes State’s Pivotal Role in AT&T Merger With T-Mobile
POLITICO Pro, August 16, 2011 by Michelle Quinn
https://www.politicopro.com/ (registration required)
“California can refuse to approve the deal unless certain conditions are met,” Weissman said. “This would force AT&T and T-Mobile to alter the agreement in order to move ahead. Even though California’s authority doesn’t reach beyond its borders, the companies can’t merge one way in California, and another way everywhere else. In effect, a roadblock in California stops traffic on a national level.”
Holly Doremus Says Wyoming Wolf Deal Is Not a Guarantee
The Billings Gazette, August 11, 2011 by Jeremy Pelzer
For one thing, she said, Fish and Wildlife biologists might be concerned whether Wyoming can accurately keep tabs on the state’s wolf population, given that wolves could be shot on sight without a license in part of the state. “They will have to do that process carefully,” Doremus said. “They’ll have to make sure they dot the procedural I’s and cross the T’s, because for sure they’re going to get sued.”
Alex Wang Discusses Green Litigation in China
China Dialogue, July 18, 2011 by Alex Wang
In our work over the years in China, a remarkable number of lawyers have expressed a desire and willingness to use their skills to help the environment and prevent injustice. Much work can be done to help these lawyers play a bigger role in China’s environmental protection.
Steven Weissman Gives Bryson Thumbs Up as Former Edison CEO
Los Angeles Times, July 16, 2011 by Jim Puzzanghera
“The fact that the company was in financial trouble during the crisis is really not so much a reflection of … the way it was managed,” Weissman said. “It was an indictment of the underlying premise for deregulation as it was designed in California.”
Ethan Elkind Describes Public Transit Benefits
Progressive Railroading, July 13, 2011 by Editorial Staff
“A good public transit system can create jobs, reduce commute time and expenses, and encourage smarter development that gives people more mobility and housing options,” he said.
Joseph Sax Wins International Blue Planet Prize for Research on Environmental LawContra Costa Times, July 13, news brief
“This (award) is simply the latest in a series of well-deserved accolades Professor Sax has received over his remarkable career,” said Cymie Payne, associate director of Boalt’s Center for Environmental Law and Policy…
Holly Doremus Explains Why SCOTUS Chose EPA Case
The New York Times, July 11, 2011 by Lawrence Hurley
Legal experts do agree that there are enough differences between the GE and Sackett cases to explain why the court did not treat them the same. Holly Doremus, an environmental law professor … noted, for example, that the conservative wing of the court has a particular problem with wetlands regulation, which it sees, in her words, as a “breathtaking expansion of federal authority into virtually every corner of the geographic world.” The Superfund law does not attract “the same overt hostility” from those justices, which include the outspoken Antonin Scalia.
Joseph Sax on Legacy of Environmental Movement
KQED (89.5 FM) Forum with Michael Krasny, July 17
The show discusses the legal legacy of the environmental movement as well as the role of industry.
Holly Doremus Comments on Threatened Railroad Lawsuit
Associated Press, June 21, 2011 by Noaki Schwartz
Holly Doremus, an environmental law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, said there has been debate over what constitutes solid waste, but in this case there’s no doubt the tiny toxic elements are waste…. “It’s not a slam dunk either way, and I think it’s very creative by the NRDC to have found this possibility,” she said.
Steven Weissman, Daniel Farber Discuss Bryson’s Policies During CA Power Crisis
The New York Times, June 15, 2011 by Colin Sullivan
Bryson did manage to separate himself from other corporate executives by dealing directly with Davis. This made Edison “the quieter of the three major California utilities” during the crisis, Weissman said, as Bryson was working behind the scenes to pay off its debt, avoid bankruptcy and generally keep “a lower profile in terms of affiliate transactions in California power markets.” And some tried to turn the table on Republicans when the question was raised about Bryson’s support for renewables and BrightSource specifically. “Given that the Republicans won’t vote to repeal subsidies to the oil industry, I don’t see how they can complain about subsidies for clean tech,” said Daniel Farber.
Holly Doremus Extols Strength of Endangered Species Act
The New York Times, Room for Debate, April 22, 2011 by Holly Doremus
The great virtue of the Endangered Species Act is that it fights the human tendency to ignore problems indefinitely. It doesn’t force us to save endangered species, but it forces us to notice their plight. It’s a vital attention-getting device, and we need to be sure it continues to serve that purpose.
New University, April 5, 2011 by Maxine Wally
“We need resources for assessments and planning; we need help charting a future,” Elkind said. “We need to protect existing, local resources, local water supply, promote retrofitting and realize we are all connected in this.”
It is a problem felt by many, bringing about the humanitarian aspect of this issue. “The way it affects people really resonates with others because they can identify with it and can imagine how it feels,” Popovic said.
Holly Doremus Questions White House Review of EPA Mining Guidelines
-The Huffington Post, April 5, 2011 by Marcus Baram
The EPA has announced that it will delay finalizing its guidance memorandum on Clean Water Act permitting for mountaintop removal mining projects, pending review by the White House Office of Management and Budget. The move worries those “hoping the Obama administration won’t completely cave to regulated interests,” says Berkeley Law professor Holly Doremus.
-Greenwire, April 7, 2011 by Manuel Quinones
http://www.eenews.net/gw/ (registration required; go to H:\Law School in the News\In the News 2011\News Clips for article)
Doremus maintains an agency guidance does not need review by the executive branch. “What [White House officials] are supposed to be reviewing is new legal burdens. A rule is something that imposes new legal burdens,” she said in an interview. “All this guidance does is say, look at all the existing laws and regulations, this is how we are going to enforce them.”
-The Charleston Gazette, Coal Tattoo, April 7, 2011 by Ken Ward Jr.
In a post on the group’s blog, Holly Doremus, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, outlined some serious concerns: Why is the White House really involved? Because since the mid-term elections it has been only too willing to bend to big-money attacks on regulatory agencies.
Daniel Farber Calls for Reduced Energy Consumption
Forbes, April 6, 2011 by William Pentland
Society needs to consume less of everything from automobiles to air conditioning if it wants to confront climate change, according to Daniel Farber…. In Farber’s view, the mechanics of “reducing consumption” encompasses a tectonic shift away from consumption-driven capitalism toward a “post-consumerism” model of economic growth that promotes a more robust concept of social welfare.
Daniel Farber Examines ‘Supreme Mistakes’ of U.S. High Court
Los Angeles Times, April 2, 2011 by Carol J. Williams
The high court’s decision in Dred Scott vs. Sandford in 1857 held that the descendants of slaves weren’t entitled to U.S. citizenship or the protections of the Constitution…. “It was a deeply racist opinion that goes far out of its way to warmly embrace the institution of slavery,” said Daniel Farber, a UC Berkeley law professor who said the decision arguably led to the Civil War and hundreds of thousands of deaths.
Daniel Farber Thinks Japan’s Crisis Will Delay Nuclear Programs
KGO-TV, March 14, 2011 Host Mark Matthews
Farber says the nuclear engineers are on the defensive because they know what is happening in Japan could jolt efforts to revive U.S. nuclear power industry. “Proceedings are going to take longer and they’re going to require more safeguards, and all of that adds up to more cost,” Farber says.
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