Author Profile: Howard Learner

ELPC Executive Director Howard Learner is an experienced attorney and the founder of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. He is responsible for ELPC’s overall strategic leadership, policy direction and financial platform. His updates include his analysis of recent developments in clean energy, clean air, clean water, clean transportation and natural resources, as well as notes about ELPC organizational news.

Blog Posts by Howard Learner

In Honor and Memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of my heroes – for her path-breaking public interest legal advocacy, for her leadership as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and for her values. Justice Ginsburg’s litigation for women’s rights effectively broke new legal ground in analogous ways to Justice Thurgood Marshall’s and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s litigation

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Defending Public Participation: Zoom Alone Shouldn’t Become New Normal

Public participation is a vital part of the NEPA environmental review and decision-making process and for many environmental permitting and siting processes involving the Army Corps of Engineers, BLM, DOT, EPA, Forest Service, and other federal and state agencies. Public engagement can truly make a difference in both the courts of law and the courts

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Crains Detroit Op-Ed: Low oil prices make Enbridge’s tunnel a bad financial bet

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo. Which of the controversial new oil pipeline projects are going to go — away? Let’s start with Enbridge’s antiquated Line 5 oil pipeline with its new safety-related problems, and its proposed costly new tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac. Oil prices have fallen so much that Exxon reported its first quarterly

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Lake Michigan Water Levels Continue to Rise: We Must Prepare

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ new June forecast paints a chilling picture of super-high water levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, peaking in July and August even higher than the May forecast. Higher water levels than any time since the disastrous “Great Flood of 1986.” And look out – especially if the high water is

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How can we avoid a public transit death spiral?

Below post also found in Crains Chicago Business Public transit ridership and revenues have dropped like a rock during the COVID-19 public health crisis. In Chicago, CTA bus and train ridership is down by 80%, and Metra commuter rail ridership is down by a staggering 97%. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, Metro Transit has 75% less riders.

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Great Lakes Flooding – Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

We’re facing the wettest May of the past 100 years. You’ve seen the photos and videos of Michigan and Ohio communities being evacuated, and Chicago’s downtown skyscrapers and Fox River area suburbs being flooded by the record rains. That’s from swollen rivers. Watch out for what’s coming next with forecasts of Great Lakes flooding this

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Op-Ed: Trump’s attack on clean water is bad politics in the Midwest

The Trump administration is at it again. While Americans are focused on dealing with COVID-19 pandemic challenges and stresses, the Trump EPA used that distraction as cover to issue its replacement of important federal clean water protection standards. This misguided action rolls back regulatory standards designed to protect community rivers, creeks, streams and wetlands that provide safe

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Behind the Scenes – A Renewable Energy Policy Victory

Electric utility regulatory issues put many people to sleep. They can be legally dry and technically complicated. However, for ELPC’s clean energy legal and policy wonks, these issues are often truly interesting, and we dig in deep. Most importantly, what ELPC’s team then accomplishes before the courts, legislatures and public utility regulatory commissions really does

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Oil Prices Matter When It Comes to Pipelines

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo. Which of the controversial large oil pipelines are going to go? Some might be on a path to nowhere, financially. Oil prices have fallen so much that Exxon reported its first quarterly loss since 1988 and announced that it will shut down 75% of its oil rigs in the Permian Basin

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Safe Clean Water Matters, Especially Now

The Trump Administration is at it again. While Americans are focused on dealing with COVID-19 pandemic challenges and stresses, the Trump EPA used that distraction as cover for publishing its final replacement of the 2015 Clean Water Rule. This misguided action rolls back regulatory standards designed to protect community rivers, creeks, streams and wetlands that

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