This month, the Trump administration took aim at two of the country's most important regulations for greenhouse gases: Obama-era vehicle emissions rules and the Clean Power Plan. Read our responses to these policy proposals on our blog, Legal Planet . Meanwhile, California is moving forward with a 100 percent carbon-free electricity law and holding a major climate summit in September, where the Emmett Institute will co-host three events. We hope to see you there!

- Cara Horowitz, co-executive director, Emmett Institute
Trump administration unveils plans to let cars and power plants pollute more 

The Trump administration took aim in August at regulations for the country's two largest sources of carbon pollution: vehicles and power plants. Photo credit: Cathy, Flickr

Emmett Institute faculty responded to new EPA proposals this month on greenhouse gas rules for cars and power plants.

In a Washington Post op-ed, Ann Carlson and Cara Horowitz called EPA's proposal to weaken federal vehicle efficiency standards, Trump's "biggest assault yet on the environment."

EPA's vehicles proposal would rescind California's historic ability to set its own, stricter standards for vehicle pollution, arguing federal law supersedes the state's authority. Ann Carlson blogged on the proposal's legal weaknesses and told NPR the state is in a strong position to push back.  

A few weeks later, EPA announced a replacement for the Clean Power Plan. In its proposal, the agency argued states should be able to determine their own rules for power plant emissions.   Ann Carlson called out the contradictions between EPA's two proposals in  E&E News

"There is a deep hypocrisy in providing states with significant power to decide whether to regulate greenhouse cases in the context of power plants while eliminating the right of states to do so for automobiles [...] The bottom line is that the motivation is consistent - to limit the regulation of carbon pollution. The rhetoric about states' rights is just a smokescreen for a deregulatory agenda."

EPA's proposal would also change a permitting process to let the country's most-polluting power plants live longer and avoid upgrades that would protect public health.  Meredith Hankins blogged and spoke to reporters on this issue, informing coverage in The New York Times, The New Republic, Vox, Utility Dive and others .

EPA's own analysis of its power plant proposal predicts harmful health impacts, Sean Hecht wrote in
Legal Planet . The Washington Post ed board cited Sean's post in its editorial on how the plan would result in 1,400 premature deaths of Americans every year by 2030. 

The Global Climate Action Summit will celebrate achievements and launch new climate action commitments from states, regions, cities, companies and citizens. Photo credit: Global Climate Action Summit

We're hosting three affiliate events at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco next month. Please join us! And let us know if you're hosting any events we should attend.

September 11 @ 2:00 p.m. | Uber HQ, 555 Market St., San Francisco
How can subnational governments leverage the coming "3 Revolutions" in shared, electric, and automated transportation to meet climate goals? Ethan Elkind will be among the speakers discussing the policy tools states, regions, and cities need to harness these revolutions to reduce climate emissions. Details and RSVP.

September 11 @ 4:30 p.m. | Chou Hall (6th Floor), Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

UC faculty, staff and student leaders, including Ann Carlson, will address how they are working to achieve carbon neutrality for the whole UC system by 2025. Leaders from Kaiser Permanente and Microsoft will also discuss the steps necessary to turn their organizations' ambitious climate goals into reality.  
Details and RSVP.

September 12 @ 5:00 p.m | Paul Hastings, 101 California Street, San Francisco

Experts in energy, environmental science, law and urban planning, including Cara Horowitz, will address the challenges of creating sustainable and resilient megacities. The panel will draw lessons from UCLA's Sustainable LA Grand Challenge that can be applied around the world, and ask what lessons we can draw from other cities' experiences. Details and RSVP.

An EPA proposed rule would  make sweeping changes to the way that EPA uses science in regulatory decision-making processes.  Photo credit: uclaioes, Instagram

On behalf of 68 environmental and administrative law professors affiliated with 47 universities around the country,  Sean Hecht and  Julia Stein filed a comment letter urging EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler to withdraw the misleadingly-named "Strengthening Transparency in Science" proposed rule

The rule would bar EPA from using important, peer-reviewed scientific studies that inform environmental protections, like safe drinking water standards and p esticide regulations,  wherever underlying data supporting those studies are private (including in cases where the data are subject to privacy laws or other protections) The comment letter urges EPA to withdraw the rule, and instead work with the scientific community to advance transparency goals. Read the comment letter and Julia's Legal Planet post.

Whither the court

UCLA Law's annual review of the US Supreme Court's most recent term  is coming up on September 28 at 6:30 p.m.  Ann Carlson will join UCLA Law faculty and  Linda Greenhouse , former New York Times SCOTUS reporter and Yale Law School distinguished journalist in residence, to discuss the most recent term and what's in store for the following term.  The event is free and open to the public. Details and RSVP. 
China environmental governance expert visits the Emmett Institute

China has ramped up environmental enforcement in recent years. Photo credit: Cara Horowitz

Professor  Bi Jun of Nanjing University visited the Emmett Institute last week to discuss his recent research on China's environmental enforcement campaigns.  Prof. Bi leads one of the most productive research groups doing empirical work on Chinese environmental governance.  Alex Wang organized the talk.
Early Stages Environmental Law Workshop Meets in Santa Barbara

Environmental law professors enter the wild on the Rattlesnake Canyon trail in Santa Barbara County, CA. Photo credit: Jim Salzman

15 environmental law professors from around the country joined the Early Stages Environmental Law Workshop in Santa Barbara this summer. The workshop has been hosted at the University of Colorado for the last decade. This year Jim Salzman hosted the meeting at the Bren School of the Environment at UC Santa Barbara, with junior and senior scholars presenting early works in progress.

Emmett trivia enthusiasts, we have another chance for you to take home trivia glory this month!

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh once decided a case involving the (very small!) endangered species pictured below:

Photo credit: Pacific Southwest Region USFWS

Name the species.

First individual to send a correct answer to quizmaster Daniel Melling,, will receive a UCLA-blue Emmett Institute notebook.

Congratulations to our July trivia winner David Stein! The correct answers for last month's contest: UCLA hit an all-time temperature record of 111 degrees Fahrenheit on July 6, 2018 and Scott Pruitt's staff was concerned about his exposure to formaldehyde. Soon after, political staff at EPA blocked a report on health risks from the chemical.
For more Emmett Institute updates, follow us on Twitter @Emmett_UCLALaw and like our Facebook page. For insights on environmental law and policy from UCLA Law and Berkeley Law faculty, subscribe to our blog, Legal Planet.