Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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MATS, Take Two: EPA Still Supports the Rule (And EPA Is Correct)

Late last week, EPA issued a Supplemental Finding, concluding that it is still “appropriate and necessary” to regulate hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired electric generating units. The Supplemental Finding was...more

11/25/2015 - Coal Cost-Benefit Analysis EPA MATS Michigan v. EPA Oil & Gas SCOTUS

Some Hard Truths About Addressing Climate Change

On November 23, 2015 Boston Globe had an op-ed by Joshua Goldstein and Steven Pinker concerning some “Inconvenient Truths for the environmental movement.” I’m sorry to say that I agree with pretty much every word of it. Why...more

11/24/2015 - Climate Change Economic Development Nuclear Power Renewable Energy Renewable Fuel

Washington Has A Public Trust Obligation to Address Climate Change — So What?

Last week, a trial judge in Washington State, in Foster v. Washington Department of Ecology, ruled that the Public Trust Doctrine requires the State of Washington to address climate change more aggressively. Greenwire’s...more

11/24/2015 - Arbitrary and Capricious Climate Change Environmental Litigation Greenhouse Gas Emissions Public Trust Doctrine

What Success Means For COP21

If you want to know what how a rational optimist defines success for COP21, take a look at Rob Stavins’s latest post. Here’s his “Paris Scorecard” for what success will look like...more

11/18/2015 - Climate Change Financing Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) Kyoto Protocol Reporting Requirements Transparency

Coming Soon to a Project Near You: Advance Compensation

Earlier this month, the White House released a Presidential Memorandum on “Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment.” If that portentous title isn’t enough to make...more

11/16/2015 - Environmental Policies Land Developers Mitigation Natural Resources Presidential Directives

Does the Impact of Climate Change on Financial Markets Have Anything In Common with Same-Sex Marriage?

A few months ago, I asked whether climate change nuisance and public trust litigation might have something in common with litigation challenging bans on same-sex marriage. The idea was that both types of litigation seemed...more

11/16/2015 - Climate Change Financial Markets Hedging Investment Portfolios Sustainability

When Is A Discharge to Groundwater a Discharge to a Water of the United States?

The Clean Water Act regulates discharges of pollutants to waters of the United States. That term is not understood to include groundwater. The Sierra Club was unhappy about alleged discharges to groundwater from coal ash...more

11/11/2015 - Clean Water Act Groundwater Solid Waste Surface Water Waters of the United States

Perhaps the Clean Air Act Really Doesn’t Preempt State Common Law Remedies

This week, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held, in Merrick v. Diageo Americas Supply, that the Clean Air Act does not preempt source state common law remedies seeking to control air pollution – even where the defendant is...more

11/9/2015 - Air Pollution Clean Air Act Common Law Claims Pollution Control Preemption

EPA To Rename OSWER: How About “The Office That Should Be Eliminated As Soon As Possible”?

According to the Daily Environment Report (subscription required), EPA is going to change the name of the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response to the Office of Land and Emergency Management. What a grand name; surely...more

10/30/2015 - Emergency Response EPA Solid Waste

What Do Opponents of the Clean Power Plan and the Oklahoma Sooners Have In Common?

So the Clean Power Plan has been published in the Federal Register. For those who cannot get enough, you can find all of the important materials, including EPA’s Technical Support Documents, on EPA’s web site for the CPP....more

10/26/2015 - Clean Power Plan Environmental Litigation EPA Federal Register

CERCLA Remains Ridiculous: A Remedy In Operation For 18 Years Is “Short Term”

Far too frequently, we are reminded just how hard judges must work to save CERCLA from itself. The decision last week in California River Watch v. Fluor Corporation is the most recent compelling example....more

10/22/2015 - CERCLA Contamination Environmental Litigation Fluor Hazardous Waste Remedial Actions

Alaska Needs to Drill For More Oil — It’s All the Fault of Climate Change

According to the BBC, Alaska Governor Bill Walker has concluded that more drilling for oil is necessary in order for Alaska to have the funds necessary to pay to mitigate the costs of climate change in Alaska. Such costs...more

10/14/2015 - Alaska Arctic Drilling Climate Change Governor Walker Mitigation Oil Reserves Relocation Assistance Well Drilling

The Sixth Circuit Stays the Waters of the United States Rule: Just a Plain Vanilla Preliminary Injunction — Not!

On October 9, 2015, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a nationwide stay against implementation of the “Waters of the United States” rule. The case is so weird, in so many ways, that I don’t even think I can count...more

10/12/2015 - Case Consolidation EPA Jurisdiction Nexus Order to Stay Preliminary Injunctions Rapanos v US SCOTUS US Army Corps of Engineers Waters of the United States

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 Toxic Substances Control Act (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

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