Tag Archives: US EPA

US EPA Issues Final Rule to Clamp Down on Refinery Emissions

On September 29, 2015, US EPA issued a final rule for the regulation of emissions from the nation’s 142 petroleum refinery operations (the “Refinery Rule”).  The regulatory structure underlying the rule is complex, but essentially includes both a “residual risk review” to assess the risk to public health, and a “technology review” where, as the … Continue Reading

US District Court Blocks BLM Rule for Hydraulic Fracking on Federal and Tribal Land

On September 30, 2015, the US District Court for the District of Wyoming preliminarily enjoined the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from enforcing its final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal and Native American lands, pending the resolution of a challenge to the rule under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) brought by various industry, state, … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Sides With US EPA In Pebble Mine FOIA Litigation

On August 24, 2015, Judge H. Russel Holland of the US District Court for the District of Alaska dealt a blow to Pebble Limited Partnership’s (Pebble Partnership) efforts to obtain documents which it believes could support its claim that US EPA failed to comply with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) by coordinating with environmental … Continue Reading

US District Court Enjoins Waters of the US Rule But Limits Injunction to the 13 Plaintiff States

On August 27, 2015, the US District Court for the District of North Dakota granted a motion for preliminary injunction to a coalition of 13 states (the States) attempting to block implementation of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule, promulgated by US EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) and set to go into … Continue Reading

Draft US EPA Assessment Finds No Systematic Risk to Drinking Water from Hydraulic Fracturing

Earlier this month, US EPA released its long-awaited draft assessment on the impact of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on the nation’s drinking water resources.  The assessment, titled Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources, represents over four years of study into the potential of hydraulic fracturing to … Continue Reading

US Chamber of Commerce Joins House of Representatives in Calls for Greater Regulatory Transparency From EPA

Recently, the US Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) published its report Truth In Regulating: Restoring Transparency to EPA Rulemaking, criticizing EPA for not providing critical details about the regulatory intent and true costs associated with significant Agency rulemakings.  The Chamber report follows on the heels of last week’s passage of H.R. 1029, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Holds that Agencies Are Not Required to Comply With Notice and Comment Requirements When Revising Interpretative Rules

This month, in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, the US Supreme Court overturned the D.C. Circuit’s Paralyzed Veteran doctrine, rejecting nearly 20 years of precedent requiring federal agencies to abide by notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures when they substantially alter an “interpretive” rule. However, the decision also hints that even broader changes may be afoot.  Writing in … Continue Reading

US EPA Proposes to Amend the National Contingency Plan Governing the Use of Dispersants in Response to Oil Spills

On January 22, 2015, US EPA announced that it is proposing to amend the requirements governing the use of dispersants and other chemical and biological agents used in response to oil spills, which are contained in Subpart J of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). The proposed amendments come as a result … Continue Reading

Preliminary Injunction Halts US EPA’s CWA 404 Process on Pebble Mine To Evaluate Activists’ Connections

On November 25, 2014, a federal judge granted a motion for preliminary injunction, and ordered US EPA to stop all work pertaining to its investigation of and proposed plan to restrict discharges from the prospective Pebble Mine project near Bristol Bay in Alaska.  The plaintiff, Pebble Partnership, contended that US EPA failed to comply with the requirements … Continue Reading

Controversial “Waters of the US” Rule Proposal Draws Criticism as Public Comment Period Expires

The extended public comment period for the US EPA and Army Corp of Engineers’ proposed rule to redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA) expired November 14, 2014.  The proposed rule has come under intense scrutiny for its apparent expansion of CWA jurisdiction.  US EPA received nearly 500,000 public comments … Continue Reading

Definition of “Waters of the US”: US EPA Science Advisory Board Calls For Less Exclusions, More Jurisdiction

On April 21, 2014, US EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers issued a proposed rule to redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA). As previously reported here, the proposed rule has come under intense scrutiny for its apparent expansion of CWA jurisdiction. Now, recent reports published by US EPA’s … Continue Reading

US EPA’s Failure to Timely Issue Permit Does Not Authorize Grandfathering PSD Permit Application Under Former Air Quality Standards

On August 12, 2014, the Ninth Circuit, in Sierra Club v. EPA, vacated US EPA’s decision to issue a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit to construct a power plant under outdated – and less stringent – air quality standards in place when the permit application was submitted.  The Court held that the Clean Air … Continue Reading

Unity Yes, Finality No: D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenge to US EPA Clean Water Act Policy Governing Mining Permits on Procedural Grounds

On July 11, in National Mining Association v. McCarthy – a case very important to the surface coal mining industry in the Appalachians – the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected industry arguments that US EPA had improperly adopted policies that made it harder for such mines to obtain two kinds of Clean Water Act (CWA) permits: permits under Section … 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

US EPA Issues Final PM2.5 Implementation Rule Following Remand

On June 2, US EPA published a final rule that outlines the regulatory framework states must follow to implement the 1997 and 2006 standards for fine particulate matter, or PM2.5.  The Rule was issued in response to a remand from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in January 2013, which returned for correction a pair of rules … 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

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 Power Companies Face Billions in Compliance Costs as D.C. Circuit Upholds MATS Rule

On April 15, 2014, in White Stallion Energy Center v. EPA, the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) promulgated by US EPA on February 16, 2012, which sets new emissions standards for new and existing coal- and oil-fired power plants. EPA estimates that 1,400 power plants will be affected by the … Continue Reading

In Case You Missed Them: Top frESH Blog Posts of 2013

Here are 10 of our most popular posts of 2013: USEPA Approves Use of Phase I ESA Standard ASTM E 1527-13 for AAI – read online UK Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 Reverses Previous Burden of Proof for Strict Liability Health and Safety Offences – read online 8th Circuit Denies USEPA’s Petition for Rehearing … Continue Reading

Squire Sanders Partner Allen Kacenjar Discusses DC Circ. Ruling on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In a 2-1 ruling last week, the D.C. Circuit said the Environmental Protection Agency had failed to explain why it was treating biogenic sources of greenhouse gas emissions differently than other sources, and vacated the rule giving biomass power plants reprieve from carbon dioxide emission standards until July 2014. Squire Sanders Partner Allen Kacenjar discusses … Continue Reading

Squire Sanders Lawyer Stephen A. Owens Provides Statement in Support of TSCA Reform

U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and David Vitter (R-LA) announced last Thursday that former top Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials from the Administrations of President Barack Obama and George W. Bush were supporting the bipartisan legislation that the Senators introduced last week to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Squire Sanders lawyer Stephen … Continue Reading

US Government Accountability Office Recommends More Aggressive TSCA Efforts by US EPA

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report critiquing the EPA’s efforts under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and recommending that EPA take more aggressive steps under TSCA to achieve the agency’s goals of ensuring the safety of chemicals. The GAO report, “EPA Has Increased Efforts to Assess and Control Chemicals, but … Continue Reading

Texas-led State Coalition Hopes that US Supreme Court Will Review Validation of USEPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rules

On April 19, 2013, a Texas-led state coalition filed a petition with the US Supreme Court requesting review of the D.C. Circuit’s June 26, 2012 decision upholding USEPA’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) rules. That decision (summarized here) upheld the agency’s Endangerment Finding and Tailpipe Rule before determining that state and industry opponents lacked standing to challenge … Continue Reading