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Sustainable Communities or the Next Urban Renewal?

Inadequate housing supply in California’s most expensive metro areas drives a statewide housing crisis that challenges climate policy implementation, fair housing goals, and poverty reduction. Many scholars and policy makers agree that increasing dense infill transit-oriented residential development (TOD) in high-cost metro areas could address this housing crisis while also mitigating the impacts of climate change. But some advocates and scholars liken state policy that promotes TOD to twentieth century urban renewal—contending that state-incentivized TOD disproportionately displaces lower income communities. To explore this issue, and to examine the relative influence of both state law promoting TOD and local law regulating land use in generating inequitable outcomes like displacement, we collected land use and housing data from high- cost cities across California. 

Jun 25, 2021

Leveraging California’s Hospitals for Housing Preservation: Progress and Opportunities

As part of their role as anchor institutions rooted in place, hospitals have invested in communities for decades. While past efforts have been piecemeal, hospitals are now driving strategies to finance, build, and preserve affordable housing. This article looks at why and how hospitals have contributed to housing preservation strategies in order to highlight new opportunities to address California’s worsening housing crisis.

Jun 25, 2021

Making It Work: Legal Foundations for Administrative Reform of California’s Housing Framework

Since 1980, California has had an ambitious planning framework on the books to make local governments accommodate their fair share of regionally needed housing. The framework long relied, however, on a rickety and complicated conveyor belt for converting regional housing targets into actual production. Superintending the conveyor belt was an administrative entity, the Department of Housing and Community Development, whose rules had no legal effect, and whose judgments about the adequacy of a local government’s housing plan received virtually no deference from the courts. This Article contends that the Department’s position has been fundamentally transformed by a series of individually modest but complementary bills enacted from 2017 to 2019.

Jun 25, 2021

Destabilizing Environmental Regulation: The Trump Administration’s Concerted Attack on Regulatory Analysis

Occasionally during his presidency, Donald Trump has suggested that he cares deeply about clean air and water, even as he expresses deep skepticism about climate change. But the specifics of Trump’s deregulatory approach tell a different story. The Trump administration has undertaken a series of regulatory moves to weaken the analytical foundation for clean air and water regulations. These moves seek to eliminate or undercut precisely those regulations that bring the biggest health benefits. The clean air regulations under the Clean Air Act, which account for the overwhelming majority of all quantified and monetized benefits of all federal regulation, are under significant threat.

Mar 12, 2021


Networked Federalism: Subnational Governments in the Biden Era

Subnational governments, working with non-governmental advocates, drove climate action during the Trump administration while rebuffing federal rollbacks. Under the Biden administration, focus may initially shift towards the federal government, but the subnational network is critical to continued progress on climate change. I use the term “networked federalism” to describe how a horizontal, interconnected, and polycentric collection of states, local governments, Tribes, and advocates provides the resilient frame needed to buttress national action. Indeed, this structure mirrors the successful structure of the Paris Agreement —in which international action depends on subsidiary national contributions. A networked, federalist system of subnational climate action will be critical to continuing success, and should be nurtured and expanded. In this article, I discuss barriers to federal climate action under the Biden administration, trace the important role of subnationals in the climate movement, and lay out a policy agenda for strengthening subnational networks over the next four years.

Exploring Prospects for Environmental Justice as the EPA Reaches the Half-Century Mark

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency turns 50, the federal government remains a laggard on environmental justice. We offer three forward-facing remedies to provide more just outcomes for environmental justice communities through the legal system: refocusing criminal enforcement efforts to prioritize environmental justice communities, further conceptualizing environmental justice communities as victims of crime in the legal system, and expanding the use of crime victim compensation targeted at environmental justice communities. These remedies will ensure that environmental justice communities are better protected from harm and will provide opportunities to better compensate victims.

Dec 07, 2020

Easing Off the Gas: Efficient and Equitable Policy for Passenger Vehicle Emissions Reduction

There are various public policy approaches to addressing passenger vehicle carbon emissions. In this article I review three possible approaches: raising emissions standards; alternative fuel vehicle subsidies; and congestion charging zones. I propose a set of criteria for evaluating these different policies, and apply those criteria to the three policies. I conclude that a combination of increased passenger vehicle emissions standards and subsidies for alternative fuel vehicles represents the best policy approach.

Oct 26, 2020

Smart Grids Need Smart Privacy Laws: Reconciling the California Consumer Privacy Act with Decentralized Electricity Models

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) grants strong privacy rights, including allowing a consumer to opt out of the sale of her information to third parties, and to request that a business delete her information from its records. At the same time, the electricity industry is transitioning towards a decentralized distribution scheme, where electricity providers use consumer information and blockchain technology to improve energy efficiency. The CCPA is problematic to this shift in electricity distribution in two ways.

Aug 18, 2020

Ecology Law Quarterly, one of the nation’s most respected and widely read environmental law journals.