Op-eds and Articles

Gifford for The Hill: Why Trump’s Climate Order Might Backfire

By / 3.31.2017

Here’s some friendly advice to U.S. business leaders who may be quietly cheering plans by President Trump and his new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, to “drain the swamp” by gutting environmental regulations: Be careful what you wish for.

Not only will many Americans view such a rollback as radical, but it’s also likely to provoke a torrent of lawsuits, tempting federal and state courts to step into the policy vacuum created by a weakened regulatory regime.

Martha Coakley, the former Democratic attorney general of Massachusetts, predicts that even Republican state attorneys general will consider pairing with private plaintiffs’ attorneys to file tort actions to protect the environment in the absence of viable federal regulation. A new spate of public nuisance litigation — the tort du jour for environmental activists seeking “regulation through litigation” -— would likely result in a far more draconian and unstable set of environmental rules that what’s currently on the books.

Continue reading at The Hill.