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Reports of the Death of the SEP Have Not Been Greatly Exaggerated

Last month, Attorney General Sessions barred DOJ from entering into settlements that provide for payments to non-governmental persons not a party to the dispute. At the time, I peered into my crystal ball and proclaimed that...more

EPA Fails to Justify Its Use of Surrogates for Certain Hazardous Air Pollutants

July 18, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals remanded EPA’s MACT standards for PCBs, polycyclic organic matter, and hexachlorobenzene to EPA. Rather than setting specific MACT standards for these compounds, EPA regulated...more

7/20/2017  /  Air Pollution , Appeals , EPA

EPA Delays Compliance with Massachusetts MS4 Permit

On July 13, 2017, EPA extended the compliance deadline for its General Permit for Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems for one year, until July 1, 2018. The move almost certainly prompted a collective sigh of relief...more

NGOs 1, Trump EPA 0: The First Skirmish in the Great Environmental Rollback War Goes to the Greens

Earlier this week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals handed environmentalists at least a temporary win in what I think was the first case to reach judicial decision in Scott Pruitt’s great environmental roll-back tour of...more

State Programs to Encourage Renewable Energy Are Constitutional (In Case You Were Worried)

Last week, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a District Court decision rejecting a challenge to Connecticut statutes intended to encourage renewable energy development in Connecticut. It’s a critical win, not just...more

EPA Does Not Have a Non-Discretionary Duty to Assess the Impact of Clean Air Regulations on Employment

On June 29, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit reversed a District Court decision and rejected the lawsuit by Murray Energy which argued that EPA had a non-discretionary duty under § 321(a) of the Clean Air Act...more

Meet the New WOTUS. Same as the Old WOTUS.

Earlier this week, EPA and the ACOE began implementing the Trump administration’s efforts to deconstruct the Obama rule defining “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. EPA and the ACOE submitted for Federal...more

Does the Concept of Regulatory Takings Comport With Original Intent?

On June 23, 2017, the Supreme Court issued an important regulatory takings case, refining the test to be used to determine what is the appropriate unit of property to use to assess the impact of a regulation. It’s an...more

6/26/2017  /  Coal Industry , SCOTUS , Takings Clause

Is It a Dividend? Is It a Tax? Could President Trump Care Less?

In February, I posted about the formation of the Climate Leadership Council and its push for what it calls its “Carbon Dividend” plan. In essence, it’s a gradually increasing carbon tax. The plan would be revenue neutral,...more

Climate Change Skeptics Occasionally Become Believers, But Believers Don’t Become Skeptics. Why Is That?

Greenwire today published a very interesting interview with Jerry Taylor, every climate advocate’s favorite Libertarian. The interview chronicles Taylor’s journey from climate skeptic to climate believer. For those of you...more

The Latest on Shareholder Climate Activity: BlackRock Begins Explaining Its Votes

We previously noted BlackRock’s recent shareholder votes in favor of increased reporting of climate risks by ExxonMobil and Occidental. Now, BlackRock has stepped it up a notch by including “vote bulletins” on its investment...more

Attorney General Sessions Bars Settlement Payments to Third Parties: RIP SEPs?

Earlier this week, Attorney General Sessions issued a brief memorandum barring DOJ from entering into any civil or criminal settlement that would provide for a payment by a defendant to any non-governmental person that is not...more

Trump’s “2 for 1” EO: Can You Say “Arbitrary and Capricious”?

On June 5, 2017, on behalf of our client, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Foley Hoag filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in the case challenging President Trump’s Executive Order 13771, the so-called “2 for...more

Shareholders Are Getting Restless; Climate Change Resolution Passes at Occidental

In March, I noted BlackRock’s increasing concern over climate. One element of its statement was “potential support for shareholder resolutions on climate risk”, where “management’s response to our prior engagement has been...more

Superfund Reform, Part 2: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Last week, I offered less than fulsome praise of EPA Administrator Pruitt’s announcement that he was taking control of remedial decision for big Superfund sites. Now, he’s followed up with a memorandum announcing...more

Scott Pruitt Just Solved All of the Problems with Superfund. Not.

Last week, EPA Administrator Pruitt issued a memorandum requiring that all Superfund remedies estimated to cost at least $50 million be approved by the Administrator. I’m not optimistic that this will cure, or even...more

5/17/2017  /  CERCLA , EPA , Hazardous Substances , Superfund

Will There Be a Trial on Climate Change Public Trust Claims? It’s Looking that Way.

Last November, the District Court of Oregon denied the motion of the United States to dismiss claims that the United States had violated a public trust obligation it owes to US citizens to protect the atmosphere from climate...more

Not “Too Big to Fail.” Too Big to Comply.

Last year, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the decision by District Judge David Hittner not to impose any penalties on ExxonMobil for violations alleged in a Clean Air Act citizens’ suit concerning ExxonMobil’s...more

Perhaps It Should Be Renamed the “Really, Really, Endangered Species Act”

Last Friday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a District Court decision ruling that the Fish & Wildlife Service decision that listing of the whitebark pine as endangered or threatened was “warranted, but precluded”...more

State Sovereignty, Meet the Supremacy Clause

Earlier this week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a District Court decision and vacated an injunction which had prevented the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from reintroducing the Mexican gray wolf onto certain...more

South Florida — The Front Lines of Climate Change?

Two related items about climate change resilience and adaptation caught my eye this week. First, the American Academy of Actuaries issued a report on “The National Flood Insurance Program: Challenges and Solutions.” Those...more

It’s Wise to Make Certain that Contracts Properly Allocate Future Environmental Compliance Costs

Last week, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that AEP, which entered into a consent decree requiring it to install certain pollution controls at its Rockport 1 and 2 power plants, could not force the owner of those...more

Does Chevron Ever Permit EPA to Rewrite a Statute? EPA’s Release Reporting Exemptions Are Struck Down

On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated EPA’s final rule governing reporting of air releases from animal feeding operations. The Court found that EPA had no statutory authority...more

Should Courts Defer to EPA’s Scientific Expertise if EPA Gets Rid of Its Expertise?

Earlier this week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges to the Federal Implementation Plan EPA promulgated after finding that Arizona’s regional haze State Implementation Plan was inadequate. I think that the...more

McDonalds Won’t Be Serving Utah Prairie Dog Burgers Any Time Soon

On Wednesday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals held that regulation of takes of the Utah prairie dog, a purely intrastate species, does not violate the Constitution. Reversing the decision below, the 10th Circuit joined all...more

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