David Doniger

I'm the policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) Climate Center, and our chief global warming lawyer. I rejoined NRDC in March 2001 after serving for eight years in the Clinton administration, where I was director of climate change policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and, before that, counsel to the head of the EPA's clean air program. I also served for a year at the Council on Environmental Quality. This is my second stint at NRDC -- I first started here in 1978 and worked on clean air issues for the next 14 years, helping to win the Montreal Protocol to stop depletion of the ozone layer and the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990. Now we're working to pass legislation to cap and cut the pollution that causes global warming, and to reach a new treaty for global emission cuts.

Green Cars

Representative Issa, please step away from the car deal

Everyone wins in Barack Obama's clean car agreement. Why did House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Darrell Issa launch an investigation?

Green Cars

Chamber of Commerce and auto dealer group lose last-gasp lawsuit to stop clean cars

Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. The federal court of appeals in Washington today rejected the last legal attack on California’s landmark greenhouse-gas standards for new cars built in model years 2012-16.  The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sought to overturn EPA’s waiver giving California the green light to set its greenhouse-gas standards. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson granted California the waiver in June 2009, reversing her predecessor’s unprecedented attempt to block California’s program.    The appeals court ruled that neither NADA nor the chamber had demonstrated injury necessary to support their standing. NADA had …


AEI blogger celebrates the success of the acid rain program, without acknowledging its existence

Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. For Earth Day, Steve Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute posted this shocker: “Energy Fact of the Week: Sulfur Dioxide Emissions from Coal Have Declined 54 Percent.” He includes some nice government charts, which I’m sure he won’t mind my reproducing below. But from Hayward’s blog, you’d think this happened by itself! The chief causes of this decline are technology — cost-effective “scrubbers” to remove sulfur dioxide from the waste stream — and resource substitution: We started using much more low-sulfur coal from the western United States. No mention of the Clean Air Act’s …

Clean Air

Why the Supreme Court should let states sue the country’s biggest carbon polluters

This post was coauthored by Matt Pawa. He and I represent the land conservation trusts in American Electric Power vs. Connecticut. Today, the Supreme Court hears oral argument in American Electric Power vs. Connecticut — a case in which six states and other plaintiffs are trying to put emissions limits on America’s five largest greenhouse-gas polluters. The states are invoking their right, recognized by the Supreme Court more than a century ago, to seek relief in federal court when polluters in other jurisdictions send dangerous air or water pollution across state lines. The suit charges five gigantic electric power companies …


The Congressional Carbon Circus

Photo: Thomas TotzCross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. There’s lots going on in the center ring of the Congressional Carbon Circus today. Both the House and Senate are expected to vote this afternoon on bills to block the Environmental Protection Agency from doing its job under the Clean Air Act to safeguard Americans from the dangerous carbon pollution that drives global warming. And Republicans keep trying to force EPA-blocking “riders” onto funding legislation that must pass this week to avoid shutting down the government. To their credit, the Obama administration and congressional Democrats appear to be standing firm. Yesterday, …

gas price snake oil

Fred Upton’s EPA-blocking bill will put more of your money in oil industry pockets

Rep. Upton wants to raise your gas bill.Photo: Mike SchmidCross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Some politicians will say anything to gain from the pain Americans are feeling at the pump. Anyone watching the news knows that pump prices are rising because world-wide demand is recovering after the recession, oil traders are speculating over turmoil in the Middle East, and U.S. oil companies are only too happy to charge consumers higher prices. Yet in the fantasyland that passes for political debate in Washington, House Republicans are going all-out to blame high gas prices on — you guessed it — …

Climate Policy

Sen. Sherrod Brown and the Clean Air Act

Sen. Sherrod Brown.Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. There are things to like in Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) letter to President Obama today about the Clean Air Act and carbon pollution. However, the letter is off base in its concern about EPA’s reasonable steps to assure that big new plants reduce their pollution to protect public health. Sen. Brown starts by recognizing the achievements of the nation’s 40-year-old air pollution law: “For decades, the Clean Air Act has been a remarkably successful law that has protected the health and well-being of all Americans by significantly reducing the emissions of …

Polls apart

New polls: Americans trust the EPA over Congress

Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Just days after a series of budget votes in the U.S. House, which NRDC Executive Director Peter Lehner called “an unprecedented assault on public health, clean air, fresh water, open space and wildlife,” NRDC is releasing 20 new polls to probe how Americans nationally and in 19 key districts feel about votes to block the EPA’s work to protect public health. The new results are consistent with what we’ve found in previous polls and the American Lung Association showed just last week, Americans want the EPA to be able to do its job. …

Is that an endangerment finding in your pocket?

Bush’s Johnson stood up for climate

Stephen Johnson, former EPA administrator under Bush.Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Yesterday, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) released a 2008 letter [PDF] from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson to President George W. Bush saying that the science supported “a positive endangerment determination” on carbon pollution, and proposing an action plan to curb emissions from motor vehicles and industrial sources just like the action plan actually carried out by the Obama EPA. Who knew controlling carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act was actually a Bush administration plan? Actually, we knew part of this before, but only part. We …

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