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Springtime Showers Brings State Legislation in the US Friendly to Solar and Wind Energy

During the spring’s customarily dreary weather, many states have been seeking out sunshine and wind. In the months of March and April alone, eight states in the US passed legislation in an attempt to either make the permitting process easier for solar and wind power or to commit to the use of renewable power by … Continue Reading

Local Control in the US Gaining Steam … Again?

On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 19-181 (SB19-181) into law.  SB19-181 was a controversial bill as it made its way through the Colorado Legislature, and it is now a controversial piece of legislation.  Indeed, SB19-181 passed the Colorado Legislature strictly along party lines, and it has now pitted some … Continue Reading

US District Court Blocks Trump Administration Effort to Revoke Obama-Era Mineral Leasing Withdrawals

On March 29, 2019, the US District Court for the District of Alaska blocked the Trump Administration’s efforts to revoke the Obama Administration’s prior withdrawal of portions of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans from mineral leasing under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).  The court’s decision is noteworthy, not just for its implications for … Continue Reading

President Trump Signs Drought Contingency Plan for Colorado River

Months ago, in the face of “unacceptably high” risk to the Colorado River’s complex system of reservoirs, US Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner, Brenda Burman, indicated that if the seven Colorado River Basin States could not agree to a drought contingency plan (DCP), then the federal government would post a notice in the federal register seeking … Continue Reading

President Trump Signs Two Executive Orders to Promote Development of Critical Energy Infrastructure

On April 10th, President Donald Trump signed two Executive Orders that seek to promote timely review of critical energy infrastructure projects in the United States. These changes to the review process seek to “enable the timely construction of the infrastructure needed to move our energy resources through domestic and international commerce.” (EO 13868.) “By promoting the development of … Continue Reading

US EPA Finalizes Rule Employing “SNUR-Only” Approach for TSCA New Chemical Reviews

On April 5, 2019, US EPA finalized significant new use rules (SNURs) for 13 new chemical substances under section 5(a)(2) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Notably, the 13 chemicals are not also subject to orders under TSCA section 5(e) or 5(f) – an approach that differs substantially from US EPA’s long-standing past practice. … Continue Reading

Keystone XL Pipeline Litigation Takes a Turn on Heels of President Trump’s New Presidential Permit

The Keystone XL Pipeline is back in the spotlight. In the first quarter of 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the injunction prohibiting TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP and TransCanada Corporation (TransCanada) from beginning construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline. On … Continue Reading

Four Things to Know About US EPA’s Draft WOTUS Rule

On February 14, 2019, the US Army Corps of Engineers and US EPA (Agencies) published in the Federal Register the proposed rule to revise the definition of “Waters of the United States,” the term that identifies the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.  The proposed rule is the second step in a two-part process … Continue Reading

US EPA Approves Missouri’s Innovative Approach to Limiting Nutrient Pollution

In December 2018, the US EPA approved Missouri’s standards for limiting nutrient pollution in lakes and reservoirs in the state. The Agency’s approval comes after years of past debate and litigation between US EPA and Missouri over the state’s approach to nutrient criteria and, notably, represents a reversal from US EPA’s Obama-era opposition to the state’s … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court to Reconsider Key Agency Deference Standard

Often called the fourth branch of government, administrative agencies implement the labyrinth of federal regulations governing people and companies in the United States. Administrative agencies play a particularly important role in regulating environmental, health, and safety in the United States. Those administrative agencies may soon face greater scrutiny from federal courts in their interpretation of their own … Continue Reading

After Shutdown, US EPA Announces New Hearing Date for the New WOTUS Rule

As a result of the recent lapse in appropriations, the US EPA and US Department of the Army (Army) delayed a planned January 23, 2019 hearing regarding the proposed new “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) definition. Publication of the proposed rule and the start of the comment period on the rule were also postponed due … Continue Reading

Latest News and Perspectives on California Prop 65

The latest news and perspectives on California’s Proposition 65 (Prop 65) track the passage of the newly-amended Clear and Reasonable Warnings regulations under Prop 65, which took effect on August 30, 2018. Significantly, plaintiffs have started to target companies whom they believe to not be in compliance with the newly-amended regulations.  Read more below about … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Proposal to Freeze Tailpipe Emission Standards

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a proposed rule regarding existing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and tailpipe greenhouse gases (GHG) emission standards for passenger cars and light-duty trucks on August 24, 2018. With this proposal, US EPA’s goal is to finalize a rule … Continue Reading

US OSHA Continues Emphasis on Excavation and Trenching Safety

Effective October 1, 2018, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Trenching and Excavation, with the intent of describing “policies and procedures . . . to identify and to reduce hazards which are causing or likely to cause serious injuries and fatalities during trenching and excavation operations.”  The updated NEP … Continue Reading

Two Federal Courts Issue Decisions Against EPA “Suspension” Rule, Reviving and Protecting Obama-era Waters Rule

In the past two weeks, U.S. District Courts in South Carolina and Washington issued decisions that dealt additional blows to the Trump Administration’s efforts to unravel the 2015 Obama-era “waters of the United States” rule (“Obama Rule”).  In light of these rulings, the Obama Rule appears poised to remain effective in 22 states for at least … Continue Reading

US BUILD Act Clarifies Tenant Standing for Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Protections from Contaminated Property Liability

When President Trump signed the omnibus spending bill on March 23, 2018, he also enacted the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2018 (BUILD Act) (not to be confused with the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018—yet another BUILD Act of 2018). Among the several provisions within the BUILD … Continue Reading

Colorado Proposition 112: If Colorado Bans New Oil and Gas Development, What Next?

The State of Colorado is a leader in regulating oil and gas development. But a ballot initiative proposes a more dramatic regulatory step: restricting oil and gas development all together. In the upcoming election, Colorado voters will decide whether to enact Proposition 112, a law requiring a 2,500-foot setback between any new oil and gas developments and any “occupied … Continue Reading

US Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit Orders Ban on Chlorpyrifos

In a 2-1 opinion this August, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals instructed US EPA to revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations for chlorpyrifos, one of the most widely used conventional insecticides in the United States.  If left in place, this ruling will effectively ban domestic use of the popular pesticide, though the Ninth Circuit … Continue Reading

Groundwater Remediation as Potential Tool to Combat Water Scarcity: Navigating Potential Conflicts Between CERCLA Remediation Considerations and Water Policy Issues

New water supplies in the western United States are likely to come from a panoply of non-traditional sources, including storm water capture, waste water recycling, desalination, infrastructure efficiency improvements, and other conservation measures. One potential new water source for municipalities is contaminated groundwater requiring environmental remediation, that, but for its low quality, could be used … Continue Reading

Proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule: Navigating US EPA’s Clean Power Plan Replacement

On August 31, 2018, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) published its proposed rule providing a replacement to the Clean Power Plan (CPP).  The proposed rule, named the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, outlines revised emissions guidelines and the process for states to submit plans for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from affected … Continue Reading

California Turning Away From Traditional Imported Water Sources and Toward More Resilient Localized Water Supplies

In 2014 California enacted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which provides the framework for local water management agencies to develop and implement groundwater sustainability plans in order to sustainably manage the state’s groundwater within 20 years. This legislation was California’s first ever attempt to sustainably manage groundwater resources, a long overdue effort given that the state … Continue Reading

California Water Board Sues Federal Agency for Pollutants Entering the U.S. Via the Tijuana River

The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board) filed a complaint on September 4, 2018 against the United States Section of the International Boundary Water Commission (IBWC), alleging violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) related to contamination in the Tijuana River. Relying on a 1944 U.S./Mexico treaty, the complaint alleges that the … Continue Reading

Warning: One Month Left Before New California Prop 65 Regulations Become Operative on August 30, 2018

We are now in the final month before the newly-amended Clear and Reasonable Warning regulations in California’s Proposition 65 (Prop 65) take effect on August 30, 2018. Businesses have had since August 30, 2016 to prepare and comply with the newly-amended regulations, and we have been posting regular reminders (1-year reminder and 6-month reminder), which … Continue Reading

Food Labeling Issues and Trends: Lessons from Recent Allergen Recalls

I was pleased to have an article published in a recent ABA Natural Resource and Environment publication. The article covered “Food Labeling Issues and Trends in Europe: Lessons for US and European Practitioners from Recent Allergen Recalls”, and is now available for download here. Since writing the article, there have been a number of further … Continue Reading
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