Peter Whitfield

Peter Whitfield

BakerHostetler

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10th Circuit Limits ESA Consultation Obligations To Boundaries Of The Agency Action

This past week, the 10th Circuit held that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had no obligation to engage in consultation pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) where the potential effects on...more

8/6/2014 - Clean Air Act Endangered Species Endangered Species Act Environmental Policies EPA

EPA Issues New RFS Rule; Expands Advanced Biofuel Pathways

On July 2, EPA published a final rule that amends three separate sets of regulations relating to fuels. These regulations clarify the number of cellulosic biofuel renewable identification numbers (RINs) that may be generated...more

7/14/2014 - Biofuel Clean Air Act Energy Environmental Policies EPA Renewable Fuel Renewable Fuel Standard

Federal Agencies Need to Address “Controversial” Social Cost of Carbon in NEPA Cost-Benefit Analysis

A federal district court in Colorado recently issued a decision faulting federal agencies for failing to calculate the social cost of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the basis that such a calculation was not feasible. The...more

7/2/2014 - Energy Costs Energy Projects Greenhouse Gas Emissions NEPA

Sierra Club Seeks to Vacate Affirmative Defenses under Clean Air Act for Unavoidable Malfunctions

This month, the Sierra Club filed a petition for review challenging certain provisions of nine EPA rules that provide for affirmative defenses against alleged Clean Air Act violations in the case of unavoidable malfunctions....more

6/27/2014 - Affirmative Defenses Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions NRDC Sierra Club

Highlights of the UARG v. EPA Decision

On Monday, the Supreme Court’s decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v EPA, No. 12–1146 (June 23, 2013) limited EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases (“GHGs”) under the Clean Air Act, reversing in part and affirming...more

6/26/2014 - BACT Clean Air Act Climate Change Environmental Policies EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Permits Power Plants SCOTUS Title V Utilities Sector Utility Air Regulatory Group v EPA

D.C. Circuit Tells EPA Its Policy on Aggregating Sources for Clean Air Act Permitting Violates EPA’s Own Regulations

Following a ruling by the D.C. Circuit, EPA may no longer consider interrelatedness in determining adjacency when making source determination decisions in its Title V or New Source Review permitting decisions under the Clean...more

6/9/2014 - Clean Air Act EPA Natural Gas NSR Oil & Gas Title V

Department of Transportation Issues Order Requiring Rail Carriers To Notify States of Crude Shipments

In response to recent derailments of trains transporting crude, the Department of Transportation issued an emergency order pursuant to its regulatory authority over the transportation of hazardous materials. The order applies...more

5/14/2014 - Bakken Shale DOT Notice Requirements Oil & Gas Oil Spills Railroads Train Accidents

Federal Bill Seeks To Establish Uniform GMO Labeling Requirements

Earlier this month, Representative Mike Pompeo, along with 4 co-sponsors, introduced the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (H.R. 4432). This bill sets forth three main objectives: it establishes a process for evaluating the...more

4/25/2014 - Department of Agriculture Food Labeling Food Safety GMO Proposed Legislation USDA

Federal Agency Approvals Beyond the Scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

In the last month, two separate federal district courts have declined to extend the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 703-712 (MBTA), to federal agency approvals of projects that plaintiffs alleged could...more

4/11/2014 - BOEM DOE Energy Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Industry Group To Weigh In On GMO Labeling Debate

With the rise in state legislative efforts to require labeling for foods produced using genetic engineering or “GMOs,” the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is poised to enter the labeling debate by working with federal...more

1/15/2014 - FDA Food Labeling Genetically Engineered Seed GMO

More GMO Labeling Ballot Initiatives Coming in November; Federal Labeling Initiatives in Congress

Despite losses in California and Washington, groups in favor of labeling food containing or consisting of genetically modified organisms (“GMO”) continue legislative efforts at the state and national level. Oregon and...more

12/18/2013 - Ballot Measures Food Labeling Food Safety GMO

GMO Laws Take Root in Hawai‘i

Recently, two counties in the State of Hawai‘i passed laws that restrict the growth and cultivation of genetically modified crops (“GMO”). Kaua‘i County passed Bill 2491 after overriding a mayoral veto on November 16, 2013....more

12/11/2013 - Food Safety GMO

D.C. Court Says Comprehensive NEPA Not Required for Domestic Pipeline

Last week, the D.C. District Court issued a decision in Sierra Club v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 13-cv-1239, denying the plaintiffs’ request to preliminarily enjoin Enbridge’s construction of the Flanagan South...more

11/22/2013

Washington State GMO Labeling Initiative Defeated; Kaua’i Anti-GMO Law Vetoed; Big Island Anti-GMO Bill Pending

Washington voters rejected Initiative 522 at the polls by a considerable margin this past Tuesday. Initiative 522, a right-to-know law styled similarly to California’s Proposition 37 that was defeated last year, would have...more

11/7/2013 - Ballot Measures Food Labeling GMO

Michigan to Implement New Fracking Rules in 2014

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is developing new rules for hydraulic fracturing that would add protections for water resources and require additional chemical data submissions from drilling companies....more

10/30/2013 - Environmental Policies Fracking

Opposition to Genetically Engineered Crops Goes Local: Municipal Laws Seek to Ban GMOs

A recent effort by two Los Angeles city councilmen to ban the sale and cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) signals an emerging trend in the attack against crop biotechnology. Municipalities in a number of...more

10/25/2013 - Biotechnology Farms Genetically Engineered Seed GMO Local Ordinance Municipalities

The Ninth Circuit Dismisses Suit on Greenhouse Gas Regulation: Science Not Sufficient To Support Causal Link To Plaintiffs’ Injury

On October 17, 2013, the Ninth Circuit ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to consider a challenge to Washington’s failure to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the state’s five oil refineries under the Clean Air Act....more

10/22/2013 - Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Climate Change Greenhouse Gas Emissions

GAO: BLM Needs To Improve Oil and Gas Well Inspections

In addition to reviewing the BLM’s oil and gas permitting workload, the GAO report analyzed actions BLM took to mitigate the environmental impacts of federal oil and gas development. Based on its review, the GAO recommends...more

10/4/2013 - Bureau of Land Management GAO Government Land Oil & Gas Safety Inspections

GAO Recommends That BLM Do a Better Job of Permitting Oil and Gas Development

The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) conducted a review of certain aspects of the Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM”) management of federal oil and gas resources. Following this review, the GAO produced a report of...more

9/27/2013 - Bureau of Land Management Energy GAO Oil & Gas

Anti-GMO Groups Ask Supreme Court To Reconsider Standing To Bring Declaratory Judgment Action Against GMO Patent Holder

Recently, a group of 73 organic and conventional farmers, seed businesses, and public advocacy groups petitioned the Supreme Court to review the Federal Circuit’s decision that the petitioners lack standing to pursue their...more

9/20/2013 - Declaratory Judgments GMO Patents SCOTUS Standing

Ninth Circuit’s Fanciful Interpretation of the Clean Water Act Ripe for another Reversal?

Shortly after admonishing the Ninth Circuit for its strained interpretation of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), the Supreme Court may be asked to repeat itself. On January 8, 2013, in Los Angeles County Flood Control District v....more

9/11/2013 - Clean Water Act Discharge of Pollutants Jurisdiction Permits SCOTUS Statutory Interpretation Storm Water

Hydraulic Fracturing Divides U.S. Congress

Lawmakers are heavily divided when it comes to the regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Currently, there are twelve bills in Congress that address the regulation of oil and natural gas operations (four in the Senate and eight...more

9/6/2013 - Energy Fracking Oil & Gas Political Debates

NEPA Watch – House Proposes Legislation To Streamline NEPA Reviews

On July 10, 2013, Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) introduced a bill in the House that would amend the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to streamline the environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act...more

8/16/2013 - Administrative Procedure Act Environmental Impact Report Environmental Review NEPA Proposed Legislation

Ninth Circuit Affirms APHIS’s Deregulation of Roundup Ready Alfalfa; Denies Plaintiffs’ Request for Rehearing En Banc

In May 2013, the Ninth Circuit in Center for Food Safety v. Vilsack, No. 12-15052 (9th Cir. May 17, 2013), affirmed a district court’s ruling that upheld the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection...more

8/8/2013 - Department of Agriculture Environmental Policies EPA ESA Listings Genetically Engineered Seed Inspections NEPA

Ninth Circuit Affirms APHIS's Deregulation of Roundup Ready Alfalfa in Center for Food Safety v. Vilsack, No. 12-15052 (9th Cir....

On May 17, 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a game-changing decision regarding court challenges to APHIS deregulation determinations for genetically engineered (GE) plants and agricultural commodities -- in...more

5/23/2013 - Endangered Species Act GMO NEPA Pest Infestation

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