Insights by David J. Hayes (Past Executive Director)

David J. Hayes was the State Impact Center's executive director from August 2017 through January 2021. Hayes now serves in the Biden administration as Special Assistant to the President for Climate Policy.

  • Blog An image of a basketball court

    Full Court Press

    Over the past four years, state attorneys general have successfully executed the legal equivalent of a full court press against the Trump administration’s assault on our nation’s climate, clean energy and environmental laws.

  • Articles The Environmental Forum - ELI logo

    Preparing for Climate Disasters

    January-February 2021 • With new funding to reduce risks before calamity strikes, the Biden administration has an opportunity to ensure that state and local governments have the resources and capacities needed for effective mitigation projects that will meet multiple community needs.

  • Reports An abstract depiction of the judicial system, with dotted lines connecting different icons, including a court house, a legal document, a gavel, and a speech bubble.

    Full Court Press: How State AGs Guarded Against the Trump Administration's Anti-Regulatory Agenda

    This report highlights actions taken by state attorneys general to defend against the Trump administration’s anti-regulatory assault and build a cleaner, healthier, more just world for future generations.

  • Blog A comic-book looking graphic of wind turbines and a transmission tower.

    Cl**n En*rgy: A Dirty Word, Apparently

    The Trump administration has been quietly sabotaging clean energy initiatives for nearly four years. But its utter disregard for climate change, its related disdain for clean energy, and its heavy hand favoring fossil fuels, are now out in plain sight.

  • Blog A hand drawing offshore wind turbines and line graphs on a chalk board.

    A Timely Teach-In

    Next Wednesday, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is holding a virtual “teach-in” that will address how regulated power markets are slowing, and making more expensive, the state’s transition to clean energy.

  • Blog An image of a clock ticking in front of the White House.

    Introducing the Midnight Watch Project

    With fewer than 80 days separating the election from a new president’s inauguration, there is precious little time to prepare a new team to begin governing.

  • Blog The "Scream" face

    Health and Environmental Horrors

    In this Halloween edition of “Legally Spooking,” it seems appropriate to address those big, scary health and environmental disasters that strike once or twice in a generation.

  • Blog A "no" symbol in front of an illustration of an fossil fuel facility.

    Compliance? Optional

    While recent examples confirm that federal enforcement of our environmental laws has reached new lows, the administration’s pernicious, wide-ranging attack on the culture of environmental compliance that our nation built up over the past fifty years is of even greater concern.

  • Blog A smoke stack and a hand of cards, showing an Ace of Hearts.

    A Weak Hand: ACE Rule's Day in Court

    Next week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear oral arguments on challenges to the repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and consider the Trump administration’s replacement, the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.

  • Blog A construction vehicle at a mining site; a broken heart.

    It's Not NEPA, It's You

    The Trump administration recently finalized a destructive overhaul of National Environmental Policy Act regulations that would exempt many projects from environmental reviews and restrict how courts can enforce the law, among other consequences.

  • Blog A statue of Lady Justice

    'Tired of Winning' Yet?

    Last week, the Trump administration suffered two more major losses on important energy and climate issues, identifying a litany of legal errors in a regulatory rollback and rejecting an attack on states’ energy rights.

  • Blog An above-ground pipeline.

    Pipeline Platitudes

    The recently canceled or delayed Atlantic Coast, Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines all had fatal flaws, borne largely from poor decisions made by their sponsors, despite what the oil industry claims.