Climate Change & Sustainability

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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

US Supreme Court Appoints Special Master in Interstate Water Dispute

A. Gregory Grimsal has been appointed by the US Supreme Court as the Special Master in State of Texas v. State of New Mexico et al., Case No. 220141 ORG. Special Master Grimsal, a commercial litigation attorney from New Orleans, Louisiana, will now manage the proceedings in the case going forward and eventually recommend a decision to the Court.  … Continue Reading

What the 2014 Mid-Term Congressional Election Results Mean for Key Environmental Issues in the Run Up to the 2016 Presidential Election

Major policy developments that will drive the agenda in Washington DC over the next two years are outlined in Squire Patton Boggs’ 2014 Mid-Term Congressional Elections Analysis, What to Expect From the 114th Congress in the Run-Up to the 2016 Presidential Election.  Key environmental policy developments include the following: Climate Change Look for the President … Continue Reading

Squire Patton Boggs Presents on Groundbreaking California Water Sustainability Legislation

As detailed in our prior post, California is one of the few states that, until now, did not regulate use of groundwater.  Its recent legislation is considered groundbreaking in that, for the first time, California will begin regulating groundwater.   Attached is a recent presentation given by Squire Patton Boggs’ attorney, Chris Amantea, regarding the new legislation, at the California Bond Buyers’ Conference.… Continue Reading

The UK Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme – An opportunity not to be missed

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (“ESOS”), which came into force in the UK on 17 July 2014, seeks to encourage businesses to identify energy efficiency savings and to adopt good energy management practices. It implements Article 8(4) of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU. Who does ESOS apply to? ESOS is compulsory for all Large … Continue Reading

California Adopts Historic Groundwater Laws

For a state that has 840 miles of sweet Pacific Ocean coastline, it might seem ironic that California is hurting for water. But years of drought and unregulated groundwater use have devastated groundwater aquifers, forcing the California legislature to finally step in with what some farmers in California’s Central Valley are calling “draconian” regulation. The … Continue Reading

US Executive Order Requires Focus on Climate Change Resilience In International Development Funding

In a continued effort to ramp up the focus on global climate change, President Obama issued an executive order in September that expanded the US’s policy on climate resiliency to international development projects.  This added focus on climate resilience (the ability of programs and projects to withstand the impacts of global climate change) has the potential to become … Continue Reading

US EPA Extends Public Comment Period on the Clean Power Plan Until December 1, 2014

In response to widespread requests from states, lawmakers, and industry stakeholders, US EPA announced on September 16, 2014 that it is extending the initial 120-day public comment period for its proposed Clean Power Plan by 45 days until December 1, 2014. As previously reported, the Clean Power Plan proposes guidelines for states to use in developing plans … Continue Reading

Flood Re – New Consultation Launched on UK Flooding Insurance Scheme

We last reported on the Flood Re scheme on 17 July 2013 and commented that this was a new scheme aimed at providing affordable insurance for homeowners whose properties are considered to be at high risk of flooding. It was designed to replace the ABI Statement of Principles which expired on 31 July 2013 and … Continue Reading

US EPA Hears Comments From Stakeholders on Proposed “Clean Power Plan” in Public Hearings in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C.

During the week of July 28, 2014, US EPA hosted a series of hearings in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. to take public comments on the Agency’s proposed rules to cut carbon pollution from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants.  US EPA proposed the “Clean Power Plan” on June 2, 2014, nearly a year after President Obama … Continue Reading

US EPA Memorandum Withdraws Permitting Requirements For GHG-Only Sources While Confirming 75,000 TPY Threshold For “Anyway” Sources

Last week, the heads of US EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation and Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance jointly issued a memorandum to regional administrators clarifying the Agency’s position on permitting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V programs. The memo was issued in response … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Curtails US EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gasses (GHGs) Only Allowing Regulation of GHGs At Sources Already Subject to CAA Permitting

In a seminal decision, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that US EPA lacked authority to impose PSD and Title V permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA) on facilities based solely on their emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), striking down much of US EPA’s plan for regulating GHG emissions under the Tailoring Rule.  In the same opinion, … Continue Reading

Update: Comment Period Open for US EPA’s Proposed Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources

As discussed in our recent blog post and client alert, the  proposed Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources  (ESPS) has now been published in the Federal Register.   This publication commences the 120 day comment period.  Comments on the proposed rule must be received by US EPA on or before October 16, 2014.… Continue Reading

Will US EPA’s “Building Blocks” Really Allow States Flexibility to Craft Power Plant Emission Reductions in Their Own Way?

As detailed in our recent Client Alert, the Obama Administration, in an effort to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, has released a proposed rule that, if finalized, will require 30% reductions of CO2 emissions from 2005 emission levels from existing power plants by the year 2030.  The proposed existing source performance standard (ESPS) purports to … Continue Reading

Colorado River Finally Reaches the Sea

#CORiver #pulseflow reached the sea @ high tide this afternoon! Thanks @lighthawk_LH for the flight to witness this! pic.twitter.com/vDisrlJXnz — SaveTheColoradoDelta (@CORiverDelta) May 16, 2014 Thanks to a multi-party, cross-cultural, international effort, and the audacity of a few tireless individuals to think big (including Squire Patton Boggs Partner Peter Culp (Phoenix)), the Colorado River met … Continue Reading

US EPA’s 2013 Proposed Power Plant New Source Performance Standards Continue to Raise Concerns

US EPA has its work cut out for it as the Agency begins to review over 10,000 comments submitted concerning its proposed 2013 Clean Air Act New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new power plants through the close of the comment period on May 9, 2014.  US EPA’s work begins just as it plans to release its proposed … Continue Reading

US Allowed to Intervene in Rio Grande Compact Dispute Between Texas and New Mexico

On March 31, the US Supreme Court granted the federal government’s petition to intervene in a dispute between Texas and New Mexico over certain terms of the 1938 Rio Grande Compact (State of Texas v. State of New Mexico et al., Case number 22O141 ORG). As we reported here and here, Texas believes the Compact … Continue Reading

USDOE Issues Pre-Publication Final Rule on Energy Standards for External Power Supplies

On February 3, 2014, the US Department of Energy (USDOE) issued a pre-publication version of its final rule on energy conservation standards for external power supplies (EPS). EPS converts household electric current into direct current or lower-voltage alternating current to operate a consumer product, such as a laptop computer or smart phone. There are hundreds … Continue Reading

Climate Change Remains a Wild Card in US Clean Water Act Regulation

As EPA continues to develop its policy on global climate change, significant questions remain as to the extent of the regulatory burdens that will be imposed on public utilities and private industry under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to address the predicted effects of global climate change on future weather patterns.  For years now, environmental … Continue Reading
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