Category Archives: Transportation

The Transportation Climate Initiative Marches Forward; It’s Not Going to Be Easy.

On March 1, the Transportation Climate Initiative jurisdictions released a draft “model rule” that would provide a template for individual state rules governing the operation of the TCI Program.  Although only three states and the District of Columbia committed in December 2020 to implement TCI-P, the announcement on Monday indicated that the model rule “was developed by twelve” TCI jurisdictions.”  I guess that eight states like the model rule – just not enough at this point to commit to implementing it.… More

Massachusetts Releases Its 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap — It’s Going to Be Quite a Trip

Yesterday, Massachusetts released its “2050 Decarbonization Roadmap.”  I’m tempted to call it a tour de force.  At the very least, it’s jam-packed with important issues.  One of the most valuable aspects of the Roadmap is its discussion of the potential tradeoffs among the different paths towards a decarbonized economy.  Acknowledging that the Roadmap contains much more good stuff than can be summarized in a single post,… More

The New NEPA Rules Are Final: Still Giving Regulatory Reform a Bad Name

CEQ has finalized revisions to the NEPA regulations.  I don’t have too much to add to my post on the proposed rule back in January.  NEPA needs reform.  These regulations, however, are not the reform NEPA needs.

The rule largely tracks the proposed rule.  It is worth noting, however, that, contrary to this administration’s frequently cavalier attitude toward judicial review, they have made a few tweaks to increase the likelihood that the rule will survive review. … More

Massachusetts Attorney General Files Long-Awaited Climate Change Lawsuit Against Exxon

On October 24, 2019, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a 200-page complaint against Exxon in Suffolk Superior Court, alleging violations of G.L. c. 93A, the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act.  The lawsuit is the culmination of a three-year long investigation that has been contested in state and federal courts in both Texas and Massachusetts.

The core legal theories espoused in the complaint resemble and also build upon allegations made by the New York Attorney General,… More

Massachusetts and Other States Challenge Trump’s Move to Bar State Vehicle Emissions Regulations

Led by California, 23 states, including Massachusetts, have sued the Trump administration challenging new federal regulations that strip the states’ authority to set their own vehicle emissions standards.  On December 3, 2019, the administration moved to dismiss on procedural grounds, arguing that the D.C. District Court was the wrong venue, and that the case should have been brought before the D.C. Circuit for its direct review.… More

Is RGGI For Transportation About to Happen? All Will Be Revealed in 2019

On Tuesday, nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the Transportation Climate Initiative – notably not yet including New York – announced that they:

will design a regional low-carbon transportation policy proposal that would cap and reduce carbon emissions from the combustion of transportation fuels through a cap-and-invest program or other pricing mechanism.

It’s a major development.  Electric sector emissions have dropped substantially in recent years and now account for less than half the GHG emissions resulting from transportation. … More

First Electric Generation. Then Transportation. What About Buildings?

On Monday, EnergyWire (subscription required) reported that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has unveiled a plan to cap fossil fuel use in buildings in New York City.  (I haven’t seen the specific plan, but it is referenced in City’s overall plan, “1.5°C:  Aligning New York City with the Paris Climate Agreement,” that the City just released.)  The building plan is based on data gathered as a result of local ordinances requiring buildings with more than 25,000 square feet to report energy and water use. … More

Transportation CO2 Surpasses Power Sector CO2: Good News or Bad?

Last week, DOE announced that transportation sector CO2 emissions in the US exceeded power sector CO2 emissions for the first time since 1978.  co2-sources-since-1973Why?  The combination of increasing vehicle miles traveled in the transportation sector and the decreasing use of coal in the power sector is certainly most of the answer.

The real question is whether this is good news or bad news.… More

The FAST Act Seeks to Streamline the Environmental Review of Infrastructure Projects

On December 4, 2015, President Obamaimage006_web signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act—a five-year, $305-billion transportation authorization and spending bill. The FAST Act largely focuses on funding highways and other transit infrastructure, but, interestingly, it also contains provisions overhauling the environmental review of infrastructure projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

For example, the FAST Act requires agencies to coordinate their environmental reviews of transportation projects to avoid duplication and accelerate the review process.… More