It’s July, it’s beautiful out, and all thoughts naturally turn to… the Clean Power Plan! This historic, first-ever nationwide limit on carbon emissions from power plants will be finalized within weeks. Many of my colleagues and I have spent months deep in the weeds of the technical details of the draft proposal. But it’s important to look at the big picture, and think about why we’re doing this. Here are six reasons I really care about this powerhouse of a rule – and why you might too. Read More
July 13th, 2015
July 13th, 2015
Is 2015 shaping up to be a sign of things to come? It’s only a few weeks into summer, but already we’re seeing exceptional weather conditions driving a very active wildfire season. Some of these events are breaking records – but they’re entirely consistent with what we expect to see in a warmer world. Unfortunately, this may be just the beginning.
July 9th, 2015
The Union of Concerned Scientists broke the news yesterday that Exxon employees were considering how climate change should factor into decisions about new fossil fuel extraction as early as 1981. The reactions, especially from ExxonMobil, have been as interesting as the original revelation. Read More
July 9th, 2015
Today the White House announced a series of actions targeted at building climate resilience among vulnerable communities, including low-income, tribal, and some communities of color. This is a welcome step, and one that the environmental justice community has been asking for ever since President announced his Climate Action Plan two years ago. Read More
July 8th, 2015
My parents instilled two core values in me—tell the truth and if your actions harm others, take responsibility for them. These messages were reinforced when I went to law school and practiced law for almost twenty years; honesty and responsibility are bedrock principles in the law, and significant damage awards are often imposed on those who breach them.
Steering Toward Sustainability: How California’s New Groundwater Law Can Help Us From Driving Off a Cliff
July 1st, 2015
According to new research by NASA, many of the world’s biggest aquifers are being depleted at a much faster rate than they can be replenished, and California’s Central Valley is among the worst. As we all know, California is in the fourth year of an exceptional drought. When surface water supplies are scarce, we turn to groundwater. Unfortunately, our combined groundwater uses have led to chronic overdraft in many places. Like a bank account, overdraft means we are withdrawing more than we are replacing. Together, this exceptional drought along with the undesirable condition of many groundwater basins, led California to pass the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act last year. The Act is a big deal since it represents the first statewide effort to comprehensively measure and manage groundwater.
Now that the dust is settling, water users and managers are wondering: what does the Act mean for us? Read More
June 30th, 2015
Coming from a coal mining family, I’m well aware of the seemingly vast coal resource underground and how extracting that resource has helped boost local economies, including the one where I grew up. As the reality of climate change sets in, however, and the impacts of burning fossil fuels become all too real, it’s clear that the status quo is not sustainable. Looking at the recent incredible growth in wind and solar, the boom in shale gas from fracking, and headline after headline full of bad news for the coal industry, I began wondering, How does it feel to be a coal miner right now? And more importantly, how do we ensure the future is hopeful for them as well? It’s a deeply personal question to me. Read More
June 29th, 2015
I try hard not to be cynical about Congress. I believe that in the House and Senate, many men and women of good will and their staffs work hard to advance policies that they believe will benefit the people they represent. Our elected representatives may disagree about what the best solutions are. But they are motivated by the desire to do good, not ill.
That sentiment is being tested as the House and Senate vote on a series of spending bills to pay for government agencies and other expenses in the coming fiscal year. Read More
June 24th, 2015
Minnesota’s legislature might have missed an opportunity to advance the state’s clean energy future during this year’s session, but with Governor Dayton’s support for clean energy and leadership from state agencies, there’s still plenty to be optimistic about. Read More
June 19th, 2015
Tractor trailers go about six miles on a gallon of diesel, a number that has barely budged since the 1970’s. This shocked me the first time I heard it, and I imagine that many of you have the same reaction. After all, so many other products—passenger cars, light bulbs, refrigerators—are so much more efficient now, why not trucks? The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Read More