News

Wendy Wagner Testifies before House Committee on TSCA Reforms

Professor Wendy Wagner testified November 13 before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on S. 1009, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act, which if passed would result in the most significant changes to one of the bedrock federal environmental laws – the Toxic Substances Control Act – in more than a generation.  To read her testimony, please click here.

 

Jeremy Brown, “Your Voting Guide” (Daily Texan)

In a voting guide, the Daily Texan, the University of Texas student newspaper, quotes Jeremy Brown on the workings of Proposition 6 and its potential impact for students. “Brown said the amendment would create new jobs if it passes and works the way it is intended to. ‘The exact jobs would depend on the nature of the expenditures,’ Brown said. ‘The construction of a new reservoir, for instance, would create different sorts of jobs than the installation and maintenance of water-efficient technologies.’”

Jeremy Brown, “With or Without $2 Billion, Water Woes Unlikely to Go Away” (New York Times)

A New York Times article on Proposition 6 quotes Energy Center research fellow Jeremy Brown on the relatively long lead time needed for new water infrastructure projects:

“‘It could help with future droughts, but it’s unlikely to help with the current drought,’ Jeremy Brown, an environmental law researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, said of Proposition 6.

“’By the time projects are identified, bonds are issued, and projects are actually initiated and then come online, that’s some ways down the road,’ Brown said, ‘even for the most shovel-ready of projects.’”

UT Energy Forum Competition

The UT Energy Forum is soliciting abstracts from undergraduate and graduate students conducting energy-related research for the opportunity to compete in the UT Energy Forum research poster competition on February 19-20, 2014, which will award nearly $10,000 in prizes. Abstracts are due by December 20, 2013. The UT Energy Forum will be held in the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center at the University of Texas at Austin on February 19-20, 2014. For detailed information about the research competition, please see the official Call for Abstracts.

Energy Center Publishes White Paper on Financing Water Infrastructure

The Energy Center has released a white paper exploring bills the Texas legislature passed earlier this year to finance water infrastructure.  The white paper - Paying for Water:  The 83rd Legislative Session and the $2 Billion Water Infrastructure Bank – analyzes policies that it finds could have “profound and long-lasting impact on Texas water law and water resources.”

Thomas McGarity, “Environmentalists & Attorney General Both Happy About EPA Case, But For Different Reasons” (Texas Public Radio)

An October 16 story in Texas Public Radio quotes UT Law professor Thomas McGarity on the Supreme Court’s announcement that it will hear a case on the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

“University of Texas law professor Tom McGarity said Abbott is arguing that the new permitting effort violates the Clean Air Act by widening the agency’s reach.

“‘If they decide to uphold it, it’s still probably not the ideal way of going about it,’ McGarity said. ‘It would be better to have a statute that was devoted to greenhouse gases, but it will allow us to move forward.’”

“But McGarity said getting a statute out of the current seated congress addressing greenhouse gases would nearly impossible.”

 

David Spence, “State: Judge is Wrong to Say It Must Protect Atmosphere” (Texas Tribune)

In an article about a move by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to appeal a state court decision finding that the agency has jurisdiction over the atmosphere under the public trust doctrine, the Texas Tribune quotes UT Law professor David Spence:

“David Spence, a professor of business and law at the University of Texas at Austin, said the scope of public trust is more symbolic than practical.

“’In a sense it’s a kind of low-stakes argument,’ Spence said. ‘The public trust doctrine in the U.S. is a fairly weak thing.’ 

“Each state applies the principle differently, and few have used it with much force. The doctrine has generally been successful only at protecting open beaches for public use, Spence said.

“Spence said the appeals court could vacate [the district court statements about the doctrine] because her entire opinion is up for review. But the court may also say, ‘Look, this is dicta. Everybody calm down,’ Spence said.”