Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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Wind Powers Texas. What Does That Say About the Future of Coal?

According to Bloomberg BNA (subscription required), last week, for the first time ever, more than 50% of the load in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas service area was supplied by wind power. This is the state that...more

3/27/2017 - Clean Energy Electricity Energy Sector Renewable Energy Wind Power

Court Orders EPA to Promulgate Air Toxics Standards: A Taste of What’s to Come?

On March 22, 2017, federal Judge Christopher Cooper ordered EPA to promulgate emissions standards for 13 sources of hazardous air pollutants by June 30, 2020. EPA admitted that it missed statutory deadlines to do so; the...more

3/24/2017 - Air Pollution EPA Hazardous Substances National Emissions Standards

The Conservative Case for Chevron Deference, Chapter 3 (Plus an Auer Bonus!)

The conservative cases in support of Chevron deference keep arriving. This week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed EPA’s federal implementation plan for compliance with its regional haze regulations by the Navajo...more

3/22/2017 - Appeals Chevron Deference Clean Air Act Conservation Emission Rate Credits EPA Federal Implementation Plans (FIP) Navajo Nation Power Plants

Has EPA Region I Lost Its Treasured Independence?

Earlier this month, Trump transition team member David Schnare sent a memorandum to EPA Assistant Administrators and Regional Administrators. The one-paragraph memo directs AAs and RAs...more

3/21/2017 - EPA Transition Team Trump Administration

If a Climate Change Report Falls in the White House, Does Anyone Hear It?

This week, the National Academy of Sciences Committee tasked with reviewing the Climate Science Special Report, issued by the Obama administration, basically blessed it. They had some comments, but I’ve been through the NAS...more

3/20/2017 - Climate Change Information Reports National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Trump Administration

Investors Don’t Think That Climate Change Is A Hoax: Black Rock Is Losing Its Patience

Black Rock, which manages more than $5 trillion in assets, has released a statement on how it “engages with climate risk.” The statement has three main elements. ...more

3/14/2017 - BlackRock Climate Change Investors

The Conservative Case for Chevron Deference: Chapter 2

In January, I argued that conservative opposition to the Chevron doctrine seemed inconsistent with conservative ideology and I noted, at a practical level, that opposition to Chevron does not always yield the results...more

3/7/2017 - Chevron Deference Endangered Species Act (ESA) US Fish and Wildlife Service

The Executive Order on the WOTUS Rule: Will It Really Reduce Regulatory Uncertainty?

March 2nd, 2017, President Trump issued another executive order on the environment, this time directing EPA to revisit the EPA rule defining Waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act. It’s a curious order, for a...more

3/3/2017 - Clean Water Act EPA Executive Orders Trump Administration Waters of the United States Wetlands

The Wages of Trespass Is A Big, Fat, Penalty

Last year, I blogged about the 9th Circuit decision in United States v. Estate of E. Wayne Hage, in which the Court reversed a District Court decision rejecting United States claims that Hage had trespassed on federal lands...more

3/3/2017 - Federal Land Reversal Trespass Willful Violations

Managing Water Releases From Dams to Protect Fish: A Tale of Good Legislation and Bad Engineering

Earlier this week, the 9th Circuit found that the Bureau of Reclamation had authority under 1955 legislation to order additional releases of water to the Trinity River from the Lewiston Dam beyond the amount designated in an...more

2/24/2017 - Bureau of Reclamation Central Valley Dams Endangered Species Act (ESA) Hydropower NEPA Water

EPA Has a Nondiscretionary Duty to Review West Virginia’s Failure to Submit TMDLs

Acting in response to state legislation, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection ceased work on promulgation of total maximum daily loads related to ionic toxicity. Ionic toxicity is a consequence of...more

2/17/2017 - Clean Water Act Coal Mines EPA TMDL Toxic Exposure

Wind Power Is Now the Largest Installed Renewable: 82,000 MW And Counting

According to the American Wind Energy Association blog, installed wind capacity in the United States has reached 82,000 MW. That puts it past the 80,000 MW of installed hydropower capacity and makes wind the largest...more

2/15/2017 - Clean Energy Energy Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hydropower Renewable Energy Wind Power

Six 5th Circuit Judges Oppose USFS’s Critical Habitat Designation: Sounds Like Certiorari to Me

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals just denied en banc review in a case involving the Fish & Wildlife Service’s designation of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog. There are only 100 of these “shy” frogs left, and none...more

2/15/2017 - Chevron Deference Critical Habitat En Banc Review Endangered Species Act (ESA) US Fish and Wildlife Service

Climate Change Will Increase Peak Energy Demand By More Than We Thought: More Storage, Perhaps?

In an interesting study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors predict that climate change will have a more significant impact on peak energy demand than had previously been...more

2/10/2017 - Clean Air Act Climate Change Energy Sector Energy Storage Renewable Energy Sustainability

The Conservative Uphill Slog for a Carbon Tax

Earlier this week, the Climate Leadership Council rolled out The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends (note the absence of the “T” word in that title!). It’s a serious proposal and, if we lived in a world of facts, rather...more

2/9/2017 - Carbon Emissions Carbon Taxes Climate Change Energy Sector EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Legislative Agendas

EPA Wins Another Round In PSD Litigation: More Evidence that the Program Is Flawed.

Last Monday, in a comprehensive, 189-page opinion, Judge Rodney Sippel ruled that Ameren Missouri had violated EPA’s PSD regulations by failing to get permits for upgrades in 2007 and 2010 at its Rush Island facility. As I...more

1/30/2017 - EPA Maintenance Permits PSD

The Conservative Case For Chevron Deference

With GOP control of Congress and the White House, conservatives appear to have Chevron deference in their crosshairs. Put simply, I don’t get it. There are at least two good reasons why conservatives should prefer Chevron...more

1/23/2017 - Chevron Deference Conservatives EPA NPDES Water

Stop the Presses: NPDES Permitees Must Comply With Their Permits

Earlier this month, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that NPDES permit holders must comply with all of the terms of their permits. I’m not sure why this should be earthshattering news, but the case does have some...more

1/18/2017 - Coal Industry Department of Environmental Protection NPDES Permits Water Quality

The NSR Regulations Still Make No Sense: The 6th Circuit Reverses the DTE Decision Based on a 1-Judge Minority Opinion

Last week, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed – for the second time – a District Court decision granting summary judgment to DTE Energy in the United States’ case alleging that DTE Energy had violated EPA’s NSR...more

1/17/2017 - Energy Sector Enforcement Actions EPA NSR Summary Judgment

EPA Wins a Round Against CLF in Residual Designation Authority Litigation

Earlier this week, Judge Mary Lisi, of the District Court of Rhode Island, dismissed the Conservation Law Foundation’s Residual Designation Authority law suit against EPA. CLF had asked the Court to order EPA to require...more

12/16/2016 - Conservation EPA Stormwater Discharge Permits

EPA Adds Vapor Intrusion to Hazard Ranking. Can You Say “Deck Chairs on the Titanic?”

EPA has finally issued a final rule including vapor intrusion in the Hazard Ranking System. The good news is that this is appropriate, because VI is one of the few real hazards regulated by the Superfund program. The bad...more

12/14/2016 - CERCLA EPA Hazardous Substances Public Health Superfund Vapor Intrusion

Some Regulations to Reduce GHG Emissions Probably Won’t Be Rolled Back By the New Administration.

This week, the Department of Energy finalized regulations to increase energy efficiency for central air conditioners and heat pumps. The regulations apply to products manufactured or imported into the United States beginning...more

12/9/2016 - DOE Energy Efficiency Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Did Trump’s Election Increase the Odds of NPDES Delegation in Massachusetts? I Sure Hope So.

As I noted last spring, the Baker administration had filed legislation to support NPDES delegation to Massachusetts. At the time, I supported the delegation effort and pleaded with my friends in the environmental community...more

12/7/2016 - EPA NPDES Presidential Elections Trump Administration

Does MassDEP Have Authority to Regulate Electric Generating Emissions Under Section 3(d) of the GWSA? I’m Not So Sure.

As I have previously noted, I sympathize with the difficulties faced by MassDEP in trying to implement the SJC decision in Kain. However, that does not mean that MassDEP can simply take the easy way out. After rereading...more

12/6/2016 - Climate Change DOE Electric Generation Suppliers Energy Policy Global Warming Solutions Act Greenhouse Gas Emissions MassDEP RGGI

EPA Surrenders in the Regional Haze Dispute With Texas

As I noted when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed EPA’s disapproval of Texas’s regional haze plan, EPA had pretty much no chance of winning. Although the parties then stayed the litigation to talk settlement, EPA...more

11/30/2016 - Environmental Policies EPA Texas

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