List: Regs, exec action to dominate 2014 climate debate

Regulations and other executive actions top the Vermont Law School’s annual environmental watch list for the coming year.

With Congress stuck in partisan gridlock, there’s little chance of significant legislative action on core environmental issues.  So again in 2014, all eyes will be on the Obama administration’s pursuit of measures intended to counter the effects of climate change, in lieu of congressional action.

Leading the school’s 2014 watch list is the president’s decision on whether to allow completion of the Keystone XL pipeline.  The administration has yet to make its decision on the proposed pipeline, which would carry crude from oil sands in Alberta to refineries in the Gulf.

Debates over fracking regulations, draft rules limiting pollution from new and existing power plants, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to control greenhouse gases from stationary sources all figure prominently on the list.

The watch list also includes China’s decision on whether to adopt regulations for carbon emissions.

 “The 2013 Top 10 Environmental Watch List is a reminder of the pivotal power of the law to shape our environment,” says Melissa Scanlan, director of the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School. “Laws, policies, and regulations, can serve to impede or advance progress in addressing climate disruption, and we are using the Watch List to inform the public about the implications of these critical issues.”