Archives: Climate Change & Sustainability

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White House Seeks Guidance on Environmental Review Standards

Government agencies may soon use a different framework for evaluating the environmental impact of their decisions. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the executive agency tasked with ensuring that federal agencies meet their obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), published a notice on June 20, 2018 seeking input from the public about changes to the … Continue Reading

Lawsuit Filed in Response to US EPA Rollback of Tailpipe Emission Standards

On May 1, 2018, 17 states, including California, as well as the District of Columbia filed a Petition for Review in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in response to US EPA’s announcement that it would be rolling back tailpipe emission standards. As we previously reported, California stated in April that it was … Continue Reading

California Threatens Lawsuit Against US EPA as Pruitt Threatens to Roll Back Emissions Standards

In 2012, California, the Obama Administration, and major US automakers agreed (2012 Agreement) to nearly double fuel efficiency fleet-wide by 2025, raising the average fuel economy of new cars and light trucks to more than 50 MPG, or roughly 36 MPG in real-world driving. As part of the 2012 Agreement, a midterm review was scheduled … Continue Reading

US EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard Volumes for 2018 Unsatisfactory to Many

On November 30, 2017, US EPA issued the final volume requirements and associated percentage standards for its renewable fuel standards (RFS) program for calendar year 2018, as well as the biomass-based diesel volume requirement for 2019. The annual volumes establish quotas for how much renewable fuel must be added to gasoline and diesel in order to, … Continue Reading

The Impact of New and Developing Technologies on UK Environmental, Safety and Health Compliance

Technology can offer new business opportunities and efficiencies to businesses. However, it can also present new and on-going challenges to the regulation and control of health, safety and environmental issues (and ultimately the potential liability of any business exploiting new technology). One of the ‘key points’ of the Health and Safety Executive Strategy 2016 was … Continue Reading

UK Government Issues Guidance on Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for Leased Property

Beginning 1 April 2018, under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (commonly referred to as the MEES Regulations), non-domestic landlords must ensure that any properties they rent out in England and Wales have an energy efficient rating of at least an E (using the A-G rating system from Energy Performance Certificates … Continue Reading

Implications Of The Brexit Vote On UK Environmental Law And Policy

Following a referendum which has polarised the nation, the people of the UK have voted to leave the European Union. Stepping away from the political rhetoric and posturing, it is worth reflecting on some of the more practical issues which will arise from this decision, such as how it could affect our environmental law landscape. … Continue Reading

US EPA Finalizes Oil and Gas New Source Performance Standards With Potentially Broader New Source Review Impact

With US EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel–fired electric generation still hotly contested in the D.C. Circuit, US EPA is proceeding with the next step in its implementation of the White House’s Climate Action Plan by moving forward with additional greenhouse gas regulations, this time of the nation’s oil and gas infrastructure.  … Continue Reading

Citing Climate Change, US Regulations Expand Protection for the Critical Habitats of ESA-Listed Species

On March 14, 2016, two new federal rules went into effect that could change the way in which the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is implemented throughout the United States. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) finalized these rules to update the regulatory provisions on which the agencies … Continue Reading

Introduction of Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund Safeguard Mechanism

Australia’s goal to decrease its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 26-28% by 2030 is a direct result of the Paris Climate Conference in 2015. This commitment will be partially executed through the existing Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). The ERF is a voluntary scheme introduced by the Australian Government (Government) that incentivises individuals and businesses to … Continue Reading

A Short History of Clean Power Plan Litigation as of March 2016

The Clean Power Plan and its surrounding litigation has quickly become one of the hottest topics both inside and outside the legal world. News that the U.S. Supreme Court had granted a stay of the Clean Power Plan on February 9, 2016 spread like wildfire, but many recent followers are unaware of just how long and polemic … Continue Reading

Brexit – What are the implications for UK environmental law and policy?

The topic of the moment in the UK is whether Brexit will be a good or a bad thing for the UK, and it seems to be polarising the nation. Stepping away from the political rhetoric and posturing, it is worth reflecting on some of the more practical issues arising from a UK exit from … Continue Reading

How Challengers Obtained the Stay that Put US EPA’s Clean Carbon Plan on Hold

On February 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the Clean Power Plan requested by 29 states and state agencies, coal companies, utilities, and several trade associations. News of the order granting the stay spread like wildfire across the nation, having become a top news story overnight. The road to the historic … Continue Reading

U.S. Legislation Extends Tax Credits for Renewable Energy

The U.S. Internal Revenue Code will continue to provide tax incentives for renewable energy. On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (“Act”), which sailed through both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The Act renews tax credit programs for both wind and solar electricity generation for a … Continue Reading

Winds of Change: Turnbull’s Ascension Turns the Tide on Australian Renewable Energy Policy

The renewable energy industry is celebrating the change in Coalition leadership, with hopes pinned on Malcolm Turnbull to show support for the renewable energy sources that Tony Abbott so fervently rejected. Out With the Old In 2014, Australia invested just $240 million in renewable energy projects and facilities, compared to a global investment of $310 … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Second Direct Final Rule on Greenhouse Gas Permitting in Light of DC Circuit Ruling

As we previously reported, in May 2015 US EPA issued a direct final rule allowing for the rescission of certain preconstruction (“PSD”) permits issued by US EPA and delegating permit review authority to states under Step 2 of the Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) Tailoring Rule.  Step 2 of the Tailoring Rule set in motion PSD permitting for “GHG-only” sources, meaning sources permitted solely … Continue Reading

Endangered Emissions: The Obama Administration’s Bold Plan to Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions Finalized

Earlier this month, the Obama Administration released the final version of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), an effort to curb carbon emissions nationwide. The final rule uses a combination of renewable energy and significant limitations on carbon emitting plants to achieve this goal. It is worth noting that the overall reductions required by the final rule were increased … Continue Reading

Faced with Drought and Water Shortage, California Water Board Can’t Win For Losing

Things couldn’t be going much worse for the California State Water Resources Control Board (“Board”). In the midst of one of California’s worst droughts on record that has seen water levels drop to historic lows in California Reservoirs, Governor Jerry Brown and the Board have been desperate to find and implement ways to conserve water … Continue Reading

US EPA Greenhouse Gas Permitting Update

As we reported last summer, the US Supreme Court ruled that US EPA lacked authority to impose Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA) on facilities based solely on their emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs).  Since that decision there have been many questions about how sources of GHG … Continue Reading

US District Court Holds CERCLA Displaces Federal Common Law Public Nuisance Claims

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Washington recently held in Anderson v. Teck Metals, Ltd. that CERCLA displaces federal common law claims for public nuisance based upon the standard for displacement set out by the US Supreme Court in American Elec. Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut and the Ninth Circuit in Native Village of Kivalina v. Exxon … Continue Reading

Onshore Oil And Gas – Monitoring And Minimising Environmental Degradation In The UK

United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas (“UKOOG”), the representative body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry, have published guidelines for establishing environmental baselines that aim to identify variations in environmental conditions which may be attributable to onshore hydrocarbon activities.  The UKOOG guidelines are summarised below. Industry Regulators The guidelines note that the UK’s onshore hydrocarbon industry … Continue Reading

No Gambling in Las Vegas – At Least When it Comes to the Future of Colorado River Water Rights

Every December, the members of the Colorado River Water Users Association – including water users, federal, tribal, state and local regulators, irrigation districts, engineers, conservationists, and others from all over the southwestern United States — gather at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada to get wild and talk about Colorado River water policy for a … Continue Reading
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