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Net Neutrality Powers Energy and Forestalls Climate Change

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Document pages: 82 pages

Abstract: Net Neutrality Powers Energy and Forestalls Climate Change, 9 Journal of Climate and Energy Law 1 (2018), by Catherine J.K. Sandoval argues that enforceable net neutrality rules are necessary to protect critical infrastructure such as the energy, water, and communications sectors. This Article argues that net neutrality−the principle that users should be able to access and distribute the Internet content of their choice without an Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) interference−is essential to electric grid reliability, safety, cost-effectiveness, and the reduction of electric sector Greenhouse Gases and black carbon emissions that drive climate change. This Article contends that the FCC’s failure to address the impact of net neutrality’s repeal on critical infrastructure, the corruption of the FCC’s comment process by those who allegedly used stolen identities to file comments, and the FCC’s baffling tolerance of those allegedly false filings, merit vacatur of the FCC’s Order as arbitrary and capricious decision-making in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. This article explores the interdependence of the electricity sector and the open and neutral internet, analyzing federal and California state law and policy that infused communications and information technologies into the distributed energy ecosystem. It examines the potential harms of ISP paid priority deals for electric reliability, safety, rates, and the environment. It analyzes the limits of antitrust, unfair competition, consumer protection laws, and disclosure rules which provide no redress for harms to energy safety, reliability, costs, and the environment, in contrast to the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order. This article argues that legally enforceable net neutrality rules are warranted to protect critical infrastructure, energy reliability, the economy, national security, public safety, democracy, and the open Internet.

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