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Joseph Goffman

  • Utility, Coal Interests at Odds as EPA Weighs Trading in Power Rule

    November 20, 2018

    ...“The administration correctly perceives that the coal industry is suffering from real and significant economic disadvantage,” Joseph Goffman, former senior counsel in the EPA’s air office during the Obama administration, told Bloomberg Environment. “In a way, what ACE represents is the proposition that the coal industry needs as much help as it can get, and that even if that affects competition ostensibly with the oil and gas sector, the oil and gas sector is doing well enough that it can sustain that competition,” added Goffman, now executive director at Harvard University’s Environmental and Energy Law Program.

  • The EPA completely axed its climate change websites. But why are NASA’s still live?

    November 9, 2018

    Sometime during the night of Oct. 16, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) eliminated more than 80 climate change web pages — many of the last vestiges to the agency's online recognition of climate change..."They're protecting themselves from scrutiny — an uninformed public is key to shielding them from scrutiny," Joe Goffman, a former EPA senior counsel in the Office of Air and Radiation, said in an interview.

  • ‘We obviously are suspicious’ — Dems prep for 2019

    November 1, 2018

    House Democrats can't wait to call President Trump's EPA chief to the witness stand. The agency — long a source of controversy no matter which administration runs it — could soon be up against Democratic committee heads eager to hold hearings and subpoena documents. Trump's plans for EPA, including reshaping the workforce, overhauling the use of science and rolling back Obama-era regulations, will all get heavy scrutiny if the House flips to Democratic control next year...Joe Goffman, then a top air adviser at EPA when Republicans gained power after the 2010 elections, remembered the scrutiny from the Oversight panel under then-Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). "You had a committee using its investigatory powers to interject itself in a rulemaking. They were not looking at management or practices. They were treating a rulemaking as a form of malfeasance or misfeasance," said Goffman, now executive director of the Harvard Law School's Environmental & Energy Law Program. "They were treating the rulemaking process as if the agency was engaging in some sort of misconduct."

  • EPA Lays Groundwork for Avoiding Future Power Plant Mercury Rules

    September 7, 2018

    Reopening mercury pollution limits for power plants—over the objections of utilities that have already spent billions to comply—lays groundwork for the EPA to limit its own ability to require more stringent emissions standards in the future....“I think there is a war that current management at EPA is waging against benefits, and we have seen that war being staged at several battlefronts,” Joseph Goffman, executive director of Harvard Law School’s Environmental and Energy Law Program who served as the EPA’s associate assistant administrator for climate and senior counsel in the agency’s air office during the Obama administration.

  • Authority to regulate carbon at stake in legal fight over Trump’s coal rule

    August 28, 2018

    The Trump administration’s move to gut President Barack Obama’s signature coal pollution rule could clarify an unresolved legal dispute about the federal government's authority to regulate carbon dioxide, the chief contributor to climate change...Joseph Goffman, an environmental law professor at Harvard University who was a chief architect of the Clean Power Plan, argues the Clear Air Act anticipates a system-wide rule since the power grid is tied together, meaning plants should not be regulated separately. “These sources [power plants] operate subject to the interconnected grid of which they are a part,” Goffman told the Washington Examiner. “Common sense tells you the best way to address emissions is on a system basis.”

  • EPA admits new emissions plan could lead to 1,400 premature deaths a year

    August 28, 2018

    The Environmental Protection Agency openly admits in its proposal for new emission guidelines that the plan could lead to up 1,400 more premature deaths a year...A former EPA official who worked on the Clean Power Plan accused the EPA under the Trump administration of trying to confuse the public about the ACE rule's anticipated consequences. "This is a double-barreled assault on climate policy," Joseph Goffman, who is now executive director of the Environmental & Energy Law Program at Harvard University, told CBS News. "At exactly the time we should be sending a comprehensive signal for clean energy, we're totally squelching that signal," he added.

  • New Trump power plant plan would release hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 into the air

    August 20, 2018

    President Trump plans this week to unveil a proposal that would empower states to establish emission standards for coal-fired power plants rather than speeding their retirement — a major overhaul of the Obama administration’s signature climate policy...Joseph Goffman, executive director of Harvard Law School’s Environmental Law Program and one of the architects of the Obama-era rule, said in a phone interview that the higher emissions that would result from the Trump proposal would damage the climate as well as public health. “These numbers tell the story, that they really remain committed not to do anything to address greenhouse gas emissions,” said Goffman, who served as associate assistant administrator for climate in the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation between 2009 and 2017. “They show not merely indifference to climate change but really, opposition to doing anything about climate change.”

  • Scott Pruitt’s likely successor has long lobbying history on issues before the EPA

    July 5, 2018

    Andrew Wheeler, until now the low-profile deputy administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, became a likely successor to the scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt Thursday and an appealing alternative for those hoping to continue to roll back key EPA policies...“There is every reason to expect that he will pursue just as vigorously all the regulatory policies and initiatives in progress that were initiated by Pruitt,” said Joseph Goffman, executive director of Harvard Law School’s environmental law program.

  • Gains in reducing America’s smog problem have hit a dramatic slowdown

    May 1, 2018

    ...Since the 1970s and 1980s, U.S. air quality has unquestionably improved. However, new research, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that gains made in a critical component of smog, pollutants called nitrogen oxides, have slowed dramatically between 2011 and 2015. The exact cause of the slowdown is still uncertain, but finding the sources could prove more difficult under the current EPA, which has challenged independent scientific research — including the new proposal that would exclude certain public health and air pollution studies when considering changes to federal air standards. "In a historically normal administration, this would be a conversation about putting resources into investigating the question of where these nitrogen oxide emissions are coming from," Joseph Goffman, executive director of Harvard University's environmental and energy law program, said in an interview. Goffman was not involved in the new study. "Now, we're dealing with an EPA that is crippling its access to scientific resources," he said.

  • This Might Be Scott Pruitt’s Most Destructive Move Yet

    April 25, 2018

    Adopting a strategy successfully employed by the tobacco industry, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced a sweeping new regulation that would restrict the kinds of scientific studies the agency can use in developing its regulations. The EPA administrator, who has come under fire from both parties for his personal conduct and ethical scandals, announced the changes at an EPA event on Tuesday, where he was surrounded by conservative allies and pollution skeptics...Tuesday’s move advances that goal. Joseph Goffman, a former EPA attorney who is now director of the Harvard Environmental Law program, told me, he was especially struck by “how transparent Pruitt is about rigging the process: Rigging the membership of the science boards, rigging the range of studies that will be incorporated in agency decision making. And in both cases [he’s] excluding sources of information or expertise that would lead to outcomes that Pruitt doesn’t prefer.”

  • Here’s Why Scott Pruitt Still Has a Job

    April 16, 2018

    If EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt survives the onslaught of accusations of mismanagement and excessive spending with his job still safe, he has his biggest benefactors to thank...So, why is Pruitt still so valuable to Trump donors like Harold Hamm, the Oklahoma oilman who chaired Pruitt’s attorney general reelection campaign and called Trump last week? The answer doesn’t appear to be that Pruitt is a legal genius who has rapidly and effectively gutted regulations in a way that satisfies the courts. “They’re producing a lot of short, poorly crafted rulemakings that are not likely to hold up in court,” Richard Lazarus, a professor of environmental law at Harvard, told the New York Times...Former EPA attorney Joseph Goffman, Harvard Environmental Law’s executive director, has been tracking the dozens of air, water, and climate regulations Pruitt has taken aim at so far. And Goffman has a counterargument: Pruitt has undermined environmental protection in ways that are not so easy or straightforward to untangle with a lawsuit. “He certainly sent the signal that in any given instance his policy preference is achieving lower levels of pollution reduction and achieving pollution reduction on a slower schedule,” Goffman says.

  • Interview of the Week: Joseph Goffman, Executive Director of Harvard’s Environment and Energy Law Program

    April 15, 2018

    An interview with Joseph Goffman...The Administration decided to roll back fuel efficiency standards for cars. What does that have to do with air pollution — why does this impact smog? [Goffman]: When cars burn less gasoline, they emit fewer pollutants, including the pollutants which contribute to the forming of smog in the air. Cars also emit the gases that cause global warming, and in a warming world smog forms more easily.

  • The Myth of Scott Pruitt’s EPA Rollback

    April 9, 2018

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s spiraling ethics scandals and perilous job status were big news this week, but he also made headlines with his latest assault on President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy...But Pruitt did not kill or roll back Obama’s strict fuel-efficiency standards; he merely announced his intention to launch a process that could eventually weaken them. In fact, Pruitt has not yet killed or rolled back any significant regulations that were in place when President Donald Trump took office...“The vexing thing is that when you’re deal with public health and the climate, if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind, and Pruitt is adamantly refusing to move forward,” says Joe Goffman, a top official in the Obama EPA who now runs Harvard Law School’s environmental law program. “He isn’t changing the status quo as much as people think, but the status quo is a problem.”

  • Meet the climate guy working for Trump

    April 5, 2018

    The Trump administration is proudly axing U.S. EPA's high-profile climate rules, but climate adaptation work is quietly chugging along at the agency. The agency's adaptation work hasn't gotten much public attention since the Trump administration moved in...But EPA's climate adaptation efforts are continuing under Trump, even if they don't have the staffing and the prominence they had under the Obama administration. Some adaptation proponents are hopeful that the work can survive budget cuts, because it can appeal even to those who question humans' impact on climate change or costly policies to curb emissions. Leading the effort at EPA is Joel Scheraga, a career staffer for 31 years...His past work on adaptation likely helped prepare him to work effectively within an administration that questions humans' role in climate change, said Joseph Goffman, a former senior EPA official who worked with Scheraga during the Obama administration. Goffman is now executive director of Harvard University's Environmental Law Program. "[Scheraga] had an uncanny ability to engage with a full spectrum of public officials," said Goffman. "He is honestly one of my favorite people."

  • EPA Plan Would Discount Health Benefits of Reducing CO2 Emissions

    March 27, 2018

    U.S. EPA’s “secret science” plan could reduce the health benefits that come along with controlling carbon emissions, scrambling previous calculations that gave weight to saving lives and avoiding heart attacks...Joseph Goffman, a former EPA official and current executive director of Harvard Law School’s Environmental Law Program, said Pruitt’s plan is “very much targeted” at specific studies that had been important in setting particulate matter standards. “Essentially, you have a constituency that don’t like certain results, and so they are sort of back-engineering to find a way to defeat the results,” Goffman said.

  • Advanced Leadership Initiative takes a deep look at climate change

    March 15, 2018

    With speakers ranging from an environmental activist to a former Secretary of the U.S. Navy, the Advanced Leadership Initiative’s (ALI) Climate Change Deep Dive presented a multi-faceted look at the causes, consequences, and potential solutions for climate change. ALI Faculty Co-Chair Forest Reinhardt of Harvard Business School (HBS) led the 2018 Deep Dive, a two-day conference bringing together speakers from around Harvard University to share their collective knowledge with ALI Fellows...The first day of the 2018 Climate Change Deep Dive focused on scientific aspects of climate change and several options for mitigation. Speakers on the first day in­cluded Professor Peter Huybers of Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Professor Robert Stavins of the Harvard Kennedy School, Joseph Goffman of the Harvard Law School, and Professors Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Joseph Lassiter, and Forest Reinhard of HBS.

  • Climate Webpages Erased and Obscured Under Trump

    January 10, 2018

    Thousands of webpages with climate change information have been removed or buried at agencies including U.S. EPA, the Interior and Energy departments and elsewhere across the government, according to a new report...Joseph Goffman, executive director of Harvard Law School's Environmental Law Program and a former Obama EPA official, said the report "illustrates, in a dramatic way, just how much the public at large, and the stakeholders and public officials charged with representing the public's interests, depend on the federal government to assemble and disseminate top-quality peer-reviewed scientific and technical information."