Cities & Local Governments

17 posts

Many pedestrians walking on a sidewalk

The Legal Case for Equity in Local Climate Action Planning

Last month, the Fordham Urban Law Journal published a paper I wrote titled The Legal Case for Equity in Local Climate Action Planning. In the last several years, cities’ climate action plans, or CAPs, have increasingly incorporated equity and justice objectives and metrics alongside more traditional greenhouse gas reduction measures […]

NYC buildings and street

New York State Court Upholds Local Law 97

Last week, the New York State Supreme Court for New York County dismissed Glen Oaks Village Owners v. City of New York, a 2022 lawsuit brought by a group of cooperative apartment and other building owners seeking to invalidate Local Law 97 of 2019, New York City’s building performance standard […]

Using the Inflation Reduction Act to Combat Urban Heat

By opening up new tax credits for tax-exempt entities, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides a vehicle to fund smart surface projects while increasing solar electricity generation. Smart surfaces are ones that combat the effects of excessive sunlight, rainfall, and heat, especially in the urban heat islands, that pose particular […]

The Clean Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC): Direct Pay Claimants’ Race Against Time

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is chock-full of tax incentives for climate and clean energy projects. This year, 2023, marks the first tax year in U.S. history during which entities that do not have federal tax liability – including local and state governments and agencies, nonprofit organizations, tribes and municipal […]

Proposed Regulations for Direct Pay Under the Inflation Reduction Act: Guidelines for Cities

On June 14, 2023, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued temporary and proposed rules for the “direct pay” mechanism enabled by the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and codified under Section 6417 of the Internal Revenue Code. Direct pay – which is already in effect […]

Inflation Reduction Act: Implementation Gaps for Local Governments & How to Close Them

In the nine months since President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law, much has been made of the law’s potential to fund, support, and catalyze local climate action (including by me). The IRA promises to be transformative for climate action at the local level and beyond. Still, […]

Campanile, Clock Tower, UC Berkeley

Ninth Circuit Holds Berkeley’s Gas Ban Preempted by U.S. Energy Policy & Conservation Act

On Monday, April 17, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed down a decision in California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley. The court overturned a District Court ruling to invalidate a Berkeley, California, prohibition on natural gas infrastructure in newly-constructed buildings. Berkeley’s so-called “natural gas […]

Sabin Center Files Amicus Brief in Support of New GHG Vehicle Emissions Standards

Following the 2007 landmark Supreme Court case Massachusetts v. EPA, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regulated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act. These emissions standards were significantly loosened in the last year of the Trump Administration. In 2021 the Biden Administration […]