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Trend from Coal-to-Gas Overshadows this Month’s Regulatory and Legal Developments
This September is a big month for the coal industry. Early in the month, the US Environmental Protection Agency released its final version of a modified Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that seeks to cut emissions from power plants tied to smog. And, at the end of the month, a federal circuit court will begin hearing arguments over the Clean Power Plan that aims to cut carbon emissions...Harvard Law Professors Jody Freeman
and Richard Lazarus
explain that EPA’s rule gives states several alternative options to comply, such as replacing their coal-fired generation with plants that run on cleaner natural gas, or with green energies. States with a lot of coal, for instance, have less stringent requirements. With that, Freeman and Lazarus point out that coal plants in this country are on average 42-years-old and pollute a lot more than newer plants. Still, coal is expected to supply 30 percent of the nation’s energy mix by 2030, which negates the argument that the plan is nothing more than a “power grab.”
Fed’s Stress Tests May Be Illegal: Report
A new report out Thursday by a top group of executives at some of the country’s largest financial institutions finds the Federal Reserve may be engaging in illegal activity as it tries to regulate the banking sector. The Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, which includes executives from J.P. Morgan (JPM), Citigroup (C) and Goldman Sachs (GS), explains that it is the Fed’s "stress tests" on big banks that may be against the law...“This law makes clear that if an agency wants to do something that affects a large number of institutions, they must tell you [and] put it up for comment,” says Hal Scott
, director of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation and professor at Harvard Law School.
Law School Aims to Level Playing Field With New Orientation
Following a year of of tension and discussion related to diversity at Harvard Law School, administrators unveiled a total overhaul of first-year orientation this year to acclimate students from varying backgrounds...Dean of Students Marcia L. Sells
oversaw the restructuring process—a year-long project in which she consulted students and faculty to re-envision a “holistic approach” to orientation. “We really looked at the whole shape of orientation, from the key vantage point that it’s about how do we provide an opportunity for students to feel like they are acclimated to HLS and their surroundings and what the whole law school experience is about,” she said....As early as last September, first-year students dissatisfied with their orientation experiences brought the issue to Sells’s attention. One of these students was now-second-year Charlie Fletcher
, who felt the Law School’s orientation fell short compared to the program at the Kennedy School, where he was a joint-degree student...Fletcher and Cameron Clark
, who is now a second-year Law student and member of the student government’s Diversity and Inclusion committee and several affinity groups, also felt there weren't many affinity groups contacting incoming students at the start of the semester, leaving students feeling lost.
The Washington Post
A poor defense of ITT Tech
A letter by Eileen Connor, director of litigation for
the Project on Predatory Student Lending
. The editorial board’s defense of ITT Technical Institutes and attack on the Obama administration’s regulatory enforcement actions were premised on a claim that “not a single allegation of wrongdoing has been proven against” ITT. This is a hollow claim in light of the fact that ITT used one-sided contracts of adhesion to bind students and employees to secret and confidential arbitration as a means of suppressing claims against it. Not only did ITT require students to arbitrate claims, but also it mandated that students who seek justice in court pay the cost of ITT’s lawyers.
This Loophole Ends the Privacy of Social Security Numbers
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. Federal law is supposed to protect the privacy of your Social Security number from government inquiries -- but apparently that doesn’t extend to a check on whether you’ve paid back taxes and child support. In a decision with worrying implications for those who oppose a single national identification number, a divided federal appeals court has rejected a lawyer’s refusal to submit his Social Security number along with his renewal of Maryland bar membership.