Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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Pre-enforcement Review? Not Enough. How About Pre-issuance Review?

In Sackett, the Supreme Court ruled that EPA could not issue enforcement orders under the Clean Water Act without allowing the subjects of the order the right to bring a pre-enforcement challenge to such orders under the...more

10/8/2015 - Administrative Procedure Act CERCLA Clean Air Act Clean Water Act Deprivation of Property Due Process Enforcement Actions EPA Penalties Sackett SCOTUS

EPA Updates Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards For Steam Electric Generating Facilities – It’s Only Been 33 Years

On September 30, EPA released its long-awaited (long-feared?) final rule governing wastewater discharges from steam electric generating facilities. The trade press is presenting the rule as a victory for environmentalists...more

10/6/2015 - Coal Ash Coal-Fired Plants Effluent Limitations Electric Generation Suppliers EPA Power Plants Wastewater

EPA Lowers the Ozone Standard to 70 PPB: Industry Isn’t Happy, But It Should Be

On October 1, 2015, EPA finally released its final rule revising the ozone NAAQS to 70 ppb. I do not spend much time peering into a crystal ball, but I will go out on a limb and say that the industry challenges to the rule...more

10/2/2015 - Air Quality Standards EPA Final Rules NAAQS Ozone

A Brief Rant on Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

On September 29, 2015, I posted about the 3rd Circuit’s decision to remand EPA’s approval of Pennsylvania’s regional haze SIP. Although I think that the decision was important and largely unobjectionable, it did get one...more

10/1/2015 - Cost-Benefit Analysis EPA Raw Data Metrics SIP

Record Review Means That EPA Must Refer To the Record: The Third Circuit Remands EPA’s Approval of the Pennsylvania Regional Haze...

On Tuesday, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals remanded EPA’s approval of Pennsylvania’s regional haze SIP. The decision is a must-read for practitioners. It decides some important issues and provides important reminders for...more

10/1/2015 - EPA Judicial Records National Emissions Standards Pollution Control Remand SIP

Can EPA Keep Winning By Losing? Another Court Remands An EPA Rule Without Vacatur

Last Wednesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals remanded EPA’s rule exempting stationary engines that operate up to 50 hours per year to supply non-emergency service to power providers from the EPA NESHAP for reciprocating...more

9/28/2015 - Appeals EPA Motion to Vacate NESHAP Remand

A Dangerous Product Does Not Necessarily Have A Design Defect

When the Town of Lexington detected PCBs in building caulk and then in indoor air in an elementary school built in 1960-61, it sued Pharmacia, alleging that Pharmacia sold a product – PCBs – with a design defect. In alleging...more

9/28/2015 - Design Defects Manufacturers PCBs TSCA Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

Why Is John Prine Involved In A Suit By Shareholder Activists?

In one of the more consequential legal decisions of recent times, Magistrate Judge Kelly Rankin ruled recently that she would not strike part of a complaint filed by shareholder activists against Peabody Energy Corporation,...more

9/25/2015 - Coal Industry Shareholder Activism Shareholder Litigation Shareholder Meetings

Perhaps Massive Purchases of Canadian Hydropower Would Not Be a Panacea

Governor Baker recently submitted Senate Bill No. 1965 to the Legislature. It calls for utilities to solicit long-term purchases of renewable energy. We are talking about as much as 1/3 of Massachusetts’ annual electricity...more

9/17/2015 - Canada Energy Sector Global Warming Solutions Act Governor Baker Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hydropower Pending Legislation Renewable Energy

Chicken Little Cannot Compare to the Opponents of the Clean Power Plan

Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the latest effort to stay EPA’s Clean Power Plan before it has even been promulgated in the Federal Register. The Court simply stated that “petitioners have not...more

9/10/2015 - Clean Power Plan Dismissals EPA Motion To Stay

Perhaps EPA’s NSR Enforcement Initiative Is Now Dead? EPA Loses Another

Last year, after a string of defeats for EPA in its NSR enforcement initiative, I suggested that the initiative was in trouble, but that EPA was probably not yet ready to concede defeat. After the latest blow, earlier this...more

8/31/2015 - Clean Air Act Enforcement EPA Injunctive Relief Notice of Violation NSR Statute of Limitations Title V Tolling Agreement

Two Days, Three Decisions, One Big Mess: Welcome to Judicial Review of the Waters of the United States Rule

On Wednesday, Judge Irene Keeley of the Northern District of West Virginia held that district courts do not have jurisdiction to hear challenges to EPA’s rule defining waters of the United States, because courts of appeal...more

8/28/2015 - Clean Water Act EPA Final Rules Injunctions Irreparable Harm Waters of the United States

No Short Cuts Allowed: The FWS Must Comply with NEPA Before Extending Programmatic Take Permits to 30 Years

Earlier this month, the Judge Lucy Koh set aside the Fish & Wildlife Service’s decision to extend its programmatic permit for bald and golden eagle takes from five to 30 years. The extension was sought by the wind industry...more

8/27/2015 - Environmental Impact Report Fish and Wildlife Service NEPA Permits Time Extensions Wind Farm

Stop the Presses: RGGI Works

When the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative was first implemented, there were questions regarding how much of an impact it would actually have on GHG emissions. I recall Ian Bowles, then Secretary of Environmental Affairs in...more

8/25/2015 - Economic Impact Analysis Emissions Trading System Greenhouse Gas Emissions RGGI

Is Superfund a Machine for Manufacturing Tea Party Members?

A group of PRPs received an oversight cost bill pursuant to a CERCLA consent decree. (The following details are intentionally vague to protect both the innocent and the guilty.) The bill was for several hundred thousand...more

8/24/2015 - CERCLA Consent Decrees EPA Superfund Tea Party

Obama’s Climate Action Plan: Next Step, Landfill Methane

Having gotten the Clean Power Plan out the door, EPA has moved on to another target of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan: landfill methane emissions. Late last week, EPA proposed both new emission guidelines for...more

8/19/2015 - Clean Air Act Clean Power Plan Climate Action Plan EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Landfills MATS Methane

The Clean Power Plan. Is Better Good Enough? Is More Defensible Defensible Enough?

So the Clean Power Plan is out. It’s difficult to be pithy about such a big, sprawling, mess, other than to say that it’s probably about as good as it could be, though that may not be enough. Here are a few items that have...more

8/5/2015 - Cap-and-Trade Carbon Emissions Clean Power Plan Emissions Trading System Energy Efficiency EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Renewable Energy

The Problem With Using Economic Incentives to Reduce Water Use? People

Earlier this month, I noted that demand side management policies need to take human behavior into account if they are going to be successful. The same is apparently true for policies to reduce water consumption in...more

7/31/2015 - Drought Incentives Rebates Water Water Conservation Water Usage

The D.C. Circuit Sends EPA Back to the Drawing Board to Fix Its Transport Rule Emissions Budgets

The Clean Air Act’s good neighbor provision prohibits upwind states from emitting air pollutants in amounts that will “contribute significantly to nonattainment” of a national ambient air quality standard in a downwind state....more

7/30/2015 - Air Quality Standards Appeals Clean Air Act EPA EPA v EME Homer City NAAQS

EPA Hubris, July 2015 Edition

Anyone who reads this blog must have seen the explosion of reports in the trade press that EPA ignored significant criticism from the Army Corps of Engineers in promulgating its Waters of the United States rule. I have not...more


The Earth Once More Spins Calmly On Its Axis; EPA’s Updated Hex Chrome MACT Rule Is Affirmed

On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed EPA’s update of its hexavalent chromium MACT rule. Suffice it to say that this was a little easier than review of the power plant MACT rule....more

7/23/2015 - Boiler MACT Rule EPA National Emissions Standards Nexus

Two Strikes and Oklahoma’s Out (For Now): Another Challenge to the Clean Power Plan Is Rejected

On Friday, Judge Claire Eagan dismissed Oklahoma’s latest challenge to EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Yes, that plan. The one that hasn’t been promulgated yet....more

7/21/2015 - Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Clean Power Plan Coal-Fired Plants EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Ultra Vires

The 10th Circuit Affirms Colorado’s RPS; The Dormant Commerce Clause Remains Dormant

When Colorado enacted a referendum petition strengthening its renewable portfolio standard, the Energy and Environment Legal Institute sued, arguing that the RPS violates the dormant commerce clause, because it harms...more

7/15/2015 - Appeals Dormant Commerce Clause Referendums Renewable Energy Renewable Portfolio Standards

The Ninth Circuit Reminds Us — Again — Just How Powerful the Endangered Species Act Is

On Tuesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Commerce Department’s designation of critical habitat for the southern distinct population segment of green sturgeon, once again reminding us just how difficult it is...more

7/10/2015 - Appeals Critical Habitat Economic Impact Analysis Endangered Species Endangered Species Act Environmental Protection Act U.S. Commerce Department

The Problem With Relying on Energy Efficiency to Reduce Emissions? People

The connection between energy use and emissions of air pollutants, including GHGs, is uncontroversial. It is also widely, if not universally, accepted that there is a lot of low-hanging fruit in energy efficiency. I agree...more

7/10/2015 - Carbon Emissions Energy Efficiency Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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