July 13, 2017 by Thomas McGarity

With Final Forced Arbitration Rule, the CFPB Continues to Advance the Public Interest

Earlier this week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) took decisive action to protect hardworking people who are cheated by banks or other financial institutions. Specifically, the federal agency issued a rule limiting what are known as "forced arbitration" agreements in the contracts we must all sign when we open a bank account or purchase certain kinds of financial products and services. Last year, scholars and staff at the Center for Progressive Reform authored a report that supported CFPB's efforts and asked the agency to adopt an even stronger set of protections for consumers. Although the agency did not adopt the stronger provisions, the final rule nevertheless offers crucial protections for American consumers. We are therefore concerned about the rule's ultimate fate in the courts and in Congress. 

Unbeknownst to most Americans, nearly all financial contracts include a clause that requires them to enter into arbitration if they believe they have been cheated by their bank or financial institution and want to do something about it. These contracts also prevent a consumer from joining a class action with thousands of others who have been cheated in the same way at the same time. In general, arbitration is a …

July 13, 2017 by Evan Isaacson

This post builds from an interview with the author for WYPR's The Environment in Focus with Tom Pelton, a portion of which aired on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.

One question I've been asked a number of times over the last several years is, "What does the Clean Water Rule mean for the Chesapeake Bay?" With EPA's recent proposal to repeal the rule, I'm once again hearing questions and speculation about what this repeal will mean for the Bay watershed.

I think the average person is rightly confused about the Clean Water Rule, sometimes called the Waters of the United States rule, and why they hear so much about it. Whereas most disputes involving environmental law are about providing the right standard or level of protection, the Clean Water Rule was simply about drawing clear boundary lines around waters that are and are not protected by the …

July 11, 2017 by Joel Mintz

Imagine that a hostile foreign power covertly manipulated our democracy and government to impose on Florida and other coastal states heightened risks of catastrophic sea level rise and an intensification of hurricanes, floods, droughts, and diseases carried by insects and parasites. Suppose, too, that the same foreign government then set about to demolish the work of American institutions that prevent serious diseases and avoidable deaths to our people. Without doubt, we would regard those acts as threats to our national security. That's just how we should regard Donald Trump's proposal for a 31-percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget. 

EPA's statutory obligations, as assigned by Congress, have increased significantly in recent years. Yet its budget has been steadily reduced by Congress over the past two decades. Its inflation-adjusted operating funds are now at the same level as they were in 1979. Its …

July 6, 2017 by James Goodwin

Late last Thursday, the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Advocacy announced that it was soliciting proposals for "small business research" projects. The solicitation – and particularly the category of topics that the SBA Office of Advocacy has selected for potential research projects – offers one of the first clues on how this obscure but powerful office is likely to operate under the Trump administration. 

The SBA Office of Advocacy is a small and unusual office within the federal government that up until a few years ago largely flew under the radar. The singular event that brought them to broader attention among policymakers, the press, and members of the public interested in the U.S. regulatory system? Its sponsorship of a now-infamous piece of anti-safeguards propaganda that was produced in response to a solicitation of small business research just like the one from last Thursday. 

In 2010, the …

July 6, 2017 by Amro Ali

No one is safe from the effects of climate change. That's the key takeaway from a March report by nearly a dozen highly respected medical organizations that studied the link between climate change and risks to our health. And these aren't far-off impacts or theoretical dangers: human-driven climate change is already making people sick.

Here's just one example: A woman in southwestern Pennsylvania who had never heard of Lyme disease saw five of her friends contract the illness in recent years because of warmer weather that led to a longer season for blacklegged (deer) ticks. She has since had her dog vaccinated against the disease and checks her children for ticks on a regular basis.

It's not just people in blacklegged tick country who are at risk for negative health impacts related to climate change and its causes. Low-income communities and communities of …

July 5, 2017 by Robert Glicksman

Originally published by the George Washington Law Review

How should a court assessing a regulatory takings claim define the "property" allegedly taken to assess the degree of the economic impact the regulation has on it? That question has plagued the Supreme Court for nearly a century, with different and conflicting answers emerging, sometimes in relatively rapid succession. In Murr v. Wisconsin,1 the Court has provided its most comprehensive answer to the so-called "denominator" question so far, although even the analytical framework the Court provides leaves ample room for refinement in future cases.

Not until 1922 did the Supreme Court clearly establish that the Fifth Amendment's prohibition on the taking of property without just compensation (which applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment) applies to regulations as well as physical intrusions and compelled transfers of title. The case in which it did so provided its …

More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
July 31, 2017

Does Species Triage Make Sense for the Fish and Wildlife Service?

July 31, 2017

When Deciding Which Endangered Species to Prioritize, What Role Do Biodiversity and Ecosystem-Level Assessments Play?

July 27, 2017

Trump's Deregulatory Agenda Is an Assault on Climate-Threatened Communities

July 26, 2017

Trump's Unified Agenda: Sending the Energy Sector Back to the Dark Ages

July 25, 2017

Pending House Bill Would Drastically Limit State Protections for Public Health, Safety, Environment

July 24, 2017

Is OSHA Out of the Worker Protection Business?

July 21, 2017

OSHA to Expand Voluntary Protection Programs without Assessing Benefits to Workers