Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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You Can’t Estop the Government — Even When It Wants to Be Estopped

Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that arguably explains everything from why the Tea Party exists to why otherwise calm and sane executives suddenly lose all their hair. Perhaps most astounding,...more

8/22/2014 - Clean Air Act Environmental Policies EPA NAAQS Power Plants

EPA Refuses to Amend Its Backup Generator Rule: Demand Response Breathes Easier

Last Friday, EPA published notice that it would not be revising its regulations on backup generators in response to three petitions for reconsideration it had received after it promulgated its final rule in January 2013. The...more

8/22/2014 - Environmental Policies EPA Fuel Standards

EPA Publishes Final 316(b) Rule: Flexibility for Generators Means Litigation By Environmental Groups

Last Friday, EPA finally published its § 316(b) rule in the Federal Register. As we noted in May, the rule is more significant for what it does not do – require closed cycle cooling – than for what it does....more

8/20/2014 - EPA Final Rules NGOs Power Infrastructure Utilities Sector

It’s Really Difficult to Site a Highway in a Refuge

In an important decision last week, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals made clear just how high the hurdles are in the way of building highways in wildlife refuges. The decision in Defenders of Wildlife v. North Carolina DOT...more

8/12/2014 - Critical Habitat Department of Transportation Highways Infrastructure

How Much Deference Do States Get in Entering CERCLA Consent Decrees? Probably A Lot, But Perhaps Not As Much as You Thought

In Cannons Engineering, the First Circuit Court of Appeals famously stated that, when CERCLA consent decrees arrive at the courts of appeal for review, they do so “encased in a double layer of swaddling,” because both the EPA...more

8/6/2014 - CERCLA Consent Decrees Environmental Claims Environmental Policies EPA

The SJC Gives “Great Deference” to the Energy Facilities Siting Board. That’s An Understatement

In two related decisions last week, the Supreme Judicial Court issued three important rulings, and handed the Brockton Power Company one major problem in its long-running effort to build a combined-cycle gas plant in...more

8/5/2014 - Energy Power Plants Urban Planning & Development

More on the Reach of Sackett: Corps Jurisdictional Determinations Are Not Final Agency Action

Early last month, we noted that the decision in Luminant v. EPA suggested that the reach of the Supreme Court decision in Sackett is not unlimited. The Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit agrees. In Belle Company v. Corps of...more

8/5/2014 - Appeals EPA Judicial Review Sackett SCOTUS Subject Matter Jurisdiction US Army Corps of Engineers

Who Gets to Review EPA Actions? The Court of Appeals? The District Court? (Hint: The Answer Is Not “Neither One”)

The general rule under the Clean Air Act is that any: person may bring suit in district court against the EPA Administrator for an alleged failure to perform a nondiscretionary act or duty, and the district court has...more

7/31/2014 - Appeals Clean Air Act EPA Jurisdiction Rulemaking Process Sierra Club

Is Selenium the Coal Industry’s Kryptonite? Citizen Groups Obtain Summary Judgment Based on Water Quality Criteria Exceedances

Last week, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and other NGOs obtained summary judgment that Alex Energy had violated both its NPDES permit and its Surface Mining Permits due to exceedances of the West Virginia water...more

7/28/2014 - Coal Contaminated Properties Contamination Corporate Counsel Environmental Policies Water Water Quality Control Boards

An Update On Standing — Some Specifics Really Are Required

Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed EPA’s approval of Nevada’s State Implementation Plan for regional haze against a challenge by WildEarth Guardians. The decision isn’t earthshaking. However, because it...more

7/22/2014

EPA Wins Two Clean Water Cases in One Day: The Fourth Circuit Affirms a Narrow Construction of the Permit Shield Defense

Yesterday, I noted that the D.C. Circuit rejected challenges to EPA’s Enhanced Coordination Process and Final Guidance on Clean Water Act permitting for mining activities. It was not EPA’s only CWA victory. On the same day,...more

7/15/2014 - Clean Water Act Environmental Policies EPA Mining Water

Still Using Economic (and Safety) Arguments to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Massassachusetts Enacts Gas Leak Legislation

As I noted last year, there has been a concerted effort on the part of those fighting climate change to emphasize economic issues in connection with their policy proposals. That post concerned Senator Markey’s efforts to...more

7/14/2014 - Carbon Emissions Environmental Policies Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenge to EPA’s Final Guidance on CWA Coal Mining Permits: EPA Action Has to Be Really, Really, Final...

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit reversed Judge Reggie Walton’s decision from 2012 and affirmed EPA’s authority to adopt the “Enhanced Coordination Process” governing coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers in the processing...more

7/14/2014 - Clean Water Act EPA Final Guidance Land-Use Permits Permits US Army Corps of Engineers

The Reach of Sackett is Not Infinite: Regulated Facilities May Not Challenge EPA Notices of Violation

After the Supreme Court held in Sackett v. EPA that EPA must provide hearings to those to whom it issues unilateral administrative orders, the regulated community immediately began to wonder how broadly the ruling would...more

7/10/2014 - Administrative Hearings EPA Notice of Violation Sackett SCOTUS

83% of a Loaf Is Better Than None: The Supreme Court Affirms EPA’s Authority to Regulate “Anyway Sources”, But Rejects Regulation...

The Supreme Court affirmed EPA’s authority to subject 83% of greenhouse gas emissions to its PSD and Title V Operating Permit programs. However, EPA’s rationale for the rule did not fare so well, and EPA does not have...more

6/25/2014 - 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

Does Offshore Wind Finally Have The Wind At Its Back? DOI Announces Plan For Largest Auction To Date

Earlier this week, DOI Secretary Jewell joined with Governor Patrick to announce plans to auction more than 1,000 square miles on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Massachusetts for wind energy development. The auction,...more

6/23/2014 - Department of the Interior Energy Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Wind Power

More on EPA’s GHG Rule: I Am NOT Going To Set Odds on Whether the Rule Would Survive Judicial Review

Last week, in posting about EPA’s Clean Power Plan, I noted that some potential plaintiffs might face standing obstacles in seeking to challenge the rule, assuming it is promulgated as proposed. Today, I take a (very)...more

6/12/2014 - Carbon Emissions Clean Power Plan Energy Environmental Policies EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Power Plants

EPA May Be Regulating GHGs, But Private Litigation Still Looks to be On Shaky Ground

In a case of interesting timing, three days after EPA announced its proposed GHG rules for existing facilities, the D.C. Circuit affirmed dismissal of a case seeking an injunction against EPA and other federal defendants...more

6/9/2014 - Air Pollution Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Environmental Policies EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Public Trust Doctrine

EPA’s GHG Rule: The Really Big Picture View

As some folks may have heard, EPA proposed emission guidelines for GHG emissions from existing generating units on Monday. Obviously, the rule is a little too complicated to summarize in one blog post, though I’ll try to post...more

6/5/2014 - Carbon Emissions Environmental Policies EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Power Plants

When Does the Sixth Circuit Set EPA Rules for the Entire Country? When EPA Regulations Require National Uniformity

In a fascinating decision issued today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down EPA’s Summit Directive. The Summit Directive – sounds ominous – was issued in response to the 2012 decision in Summit Petroleum Corp. v....more

6/2/2014 - Environmental Policies EPA NSR Title V

When Is An Agreement Not To Purchase Electricity a Retail Sale? The DC Circuit Strikes Down FERC Order 745

Last Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down FERC Order 745, which required that demand response resources be compensated in the same way as traditional generation resources, at the “locational marginal price”,...more

5/29/2014 - Appeals Electric Generation Suppliers Electricity FERC Wholesale

The RGGI Annual Report for 2013: Do We Finally Have a Real Market for Allowances?

Potomac Economics has released the Annual Report on the Market for RGGI CO2 Allowances for 2013. Based on the data in the report, it appears that a functioning market for CO2 allowances is finally developing. What’s the...more

5/22/2014 - Carbon Emissions Emissions Trading System Energy RGGI

EPA Promulgates Final Cooling Water Intake Rule: Much Ado About Not Very Much?

On Monday, EPA finally announced promulgation of its long-awaited rule governing cooling water intake structures at existing facilities. The rule is certainly important, but it’s not earthshattering and it may be more...more

5/21/2014 - Environmental Policies EPA NGOs Water

Massachusetts Land Trusts Breath a Collective Sigh of Relief: The SJC Rules That There Is No Requirement to Promote Public Access...

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court today ruled that land trusts or other charities which own and preserve conservation land may take advantage of a state tax exemption on such land even if they do not affirmatively...more

5/16/2014 - Conservation Property Tax Public Access Laws Tax Exemptions

Coming To An Air Quality District Near You: A More Stringent Ozone NAAQS

As we have noted previously, EPA has had difficulty in promulgating a revised National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone. Whenever the revised NAAQS is issued – and EPA is under court deadline to propose a draft by...more

5/14/2014 - Environmental Policies EPA NAAQS Regulatory Standards

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