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EPA Releases Revised Ozone NAAQS

On October 1, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a prepublication version of a final rule establishing a new National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone. The final rule lowers the primary and secondary...more

Eastern District of North Carolina Dismisses Challenge to State Clean Water Permitting Decision

On July 30, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina decided Rose Acre Farms, Inc. v. North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, No. 14-cv-147, 2015 WL 4603950. The...more

Tenth Circuit Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Colorado’s Renewable Energy Mandate

On July 13, the Tenth Circuit upheld Colorado’s renewable energy mandate against a claim that it impermissibly interferes with interstate commerce. This decision, addressing a state’s power to encourage or require the...more

White House Announces Plans To Revise the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology

The White House, through the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), announced a major initiative to overhaul the regulation of biotechnology products (OSTP Memo), which are products developed through genetic...more

7/9/2015  /  Biotechnology , EPA , FDA , Genetic Materials , OSTP , USDA

Maui GMO Ban Overturned; Federal Court Remains Consistent on Preemption Analysis

This week, the federal district court in Hawaii struck down a Maui County law imposing a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms (GE plants, or GMOs). This decision is the third of three challenges...more

District Court Rejects Challenge to Wind Farm Permitting, Finds No Violation of ESA or Eagle Protection Act

This month a federal court in Maine rejected a challenge to a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) for the Oakfield wind power project. The court determined that the Army Corps did not violate the...more

Federal Court Remands Renewable Energy Project for Additional Explanation; Delay Ensues

Last week, a federal district court in Nevada ruled that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to adequately explain a decision to authorize a proposed wind energy project. The...more

New Year, New NEPA Guidance: CEQ Takes on GHGs

At the conclusion of 2014, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released revised draft guidance for federal agencies evaluating the effects of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change as part of an...more

D.C. Circuit Rejects Psychological Harm Theory in Deer-Culling Case

This Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion in No. 13-5136, Grunewald v. Jarvis, affirming the lower court’s decision that the National Park Service’s promulgation of the White-Tailed Deer Management Plan was lawful. At...more

District Court Limits Tiering of Biological Opinions

On December 5, 2014, a federal district court held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it relied entirely on existing programmatic biological opinions to...more

Federal District Court Doubles Down, Vacates Hawaii County GMO Ban

On November 26, Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren struck down Hawaii County’s Ordinance 13-121, which restricts the open-air growth and cultivation of genetically engineered crops or plants (GMOs). See Slip Op. at 28. In this...more

12/5/2014  /  Farms , GMO , Local Ordinance , Preemption , Vacated

The State and Local GMO Regulatory Landscape – Post-Election Edition

The November election changed the regulatory landscape for genetically modified organisms (“GMO”). Though none of the proposed GMO labeling laws on state ballots succeeded, two counties were successful in passing either a ban...more

Ninth Circuit Rebuffs Shell’s Declaratory Judgment Act Suit

The Ninth Circuit recently rejected “a novel litigation strategy” under the Declaratory Judgment Act (DJA). Shell Gulf of Mex. v. Ctr. for Biological Div., 13-35835 (9th Cir. Nov. 12, 2014) (Slip Op.). According to the Ninth...more

The State and Local Regulatory Landscape for Bioengineered Plants

Across the country, numerous state and local governments have enacted or are considering laws affecting the cultivation, use, and labeling of genetically engineered plants (“GMOs”). These laws are best described in three...more

District Court Rules that Claims Challenging Forest Management Are Ripe and Final

Last week, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida determined that a group of plaintiffs could bring a claim against the U.S. National Park Service challenging actions that were characterized by...more

Judge Overturns Kauai County Pesticide and GMO Law

On August 25, the federal district court for Hawaii vacated Kauai County’s Ordinance 960, which imposed mandatory disclosure obligations regarding the use of certain pesticides and the cultivation of genetically modified...more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
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