Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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Cement Kiln Operators Better Hope that Their Control Technology Works: D.C. Circuit Vacates EPA’s Affirmative Defense Rule

Last week was hazardous air pollutant regulation week at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. First, as we reported, the Court affirmed EPA’s mercury air toxics rule, determining that EPA need not take cost into account in...more

4/23/2014 - Air Pollution Clean Air Act Energy Energy Policy Environmental Policies EPA Power Plants

D.C. Circuit Affirms EPA’s Utility Air Toxics Rule: An “Appropriate” Rule Need Not Be Justified By Cost-Benefit Analysis

Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed EPA’s rule setting limits for emissions of mercury and other air toxics from fossil-fuel-fired electric steam generating units. The focus of the decision – and the issue...more

4/17/2014 - Air Pollution EPA National Emissions Standards Trucking Industry

Enforcement of Municipal Stormwater Ordinances Is Tricky Business: Failure to Enforce an Ordinance Required Under a Permit Is Not...

Stormwater pollution has become an increasingly important problem. Part of the difficulty in solving it is that it’s not obvious who should be responsible. Should cash-strapped municipalities be on the hook or should it be...more

4/14/2014 - Environmental Policies EPA Industrial Stormwater Rule Storm Water

What’s the Difference Between ExxonMobil and Shell When It Comes To Climate Change? What’s A Trillion Tons (or Tonnes) Among...

Earlier this week, I posted about ExxonMobil’s shareholder disclosure. The bookend to ExxonMobil’s disclosure is the release of the Trillion Tonne Communique by the Prince of Wale’s Corporate Leaders Group. The Communique...more

4/14/2014 - Carbon Emissions Climate Change Exxon Mobil

Dispatches From the “Sue and Settle” Front: Trade Groups Do Not Have Standing to Challenge Settlements Regarding ESA Listing...

Last week, a federal court, for the fourth time, found that property owners’ groups do not have standing to challenge a settlement between the administration and conservation groups under which the administration agreed to...more

4/7/2014 - Endangered Species Act ESA Listings Fish and Wildlife Service Standing

ExxonMobil Admits Climate Change Is Real. It also Imposes an Internal Cost on Carbon. Still Not Enough to Get Any Love From the...

Last week, in response to shareholder requests that it disclose information regarding how climate change might affect it in the future, ExxonMobil released two reports, one titled Energy and Climate, and one titled Energy and...more

4/7/2014 - Carbon Emissions Climate Change Exxon Mobil Oil & Gas

Definitely a Victory For Regulations Over Guidance: EPA Issues Proposed Rule Defining Waters of The United States

The Supreme Court issued its decision in Rapanos almost 8 years ago and EPA has been struggling ever since to figure out what “waters of the United States” are within the meaning of the Clean Water Act. After several failed...more

3/31/2014 - Clean Water Act Environmental Policies EPA Water

Coal Companies, Don’t Look Behind; EPA May Be Gaining on You

As the lawyers among our readers know, the denial of a certiorari petition does not establish precedent. However, that doesn’t make it unimportant. Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied cert. in Mingo Logan Coal Co. v. EPA. ...more

3/25/2014 - Clean Water Act Coal Discharge of Pollutants Energy Policy Environmental Policies EPA Water

2 and 1/2 Strikes and the NGOs May Be Out: EPA Refuses to Exercise Residual Designation Authority

Stormwater regulation is a thorny issue. There is widespread agreement that nutrient run-off can be a significant problem, but little agreement on what to do about it, since stormwater infrastructure is normally managed by...more

3/20/2014 - Environmental Policies EPA NGOs Storm Water

How Powerful is the Endangered Species Act? Just Ask the Delta Smelt

The Endangered Species Act is a powerful tool for the protection of threatened and endangered species and their habitats. Just how powerful was made clear last week when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals largely reversed a...more

3/19/2014 - Delta Smelt Endangered Species Act Fish and Wildlife Service Standard of Review

The Federal Tail Should Not Wag the Non-Federal Dog: The Sixth Circuit Concludes that the Corps’ Review of Mountaintop Removal...

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled, in Kentuckians for the Commonwealth v. Army Corps of Engineers, that the scope of review by the Army Corps of Engineers of § 404 permit applications for fills related to...more

3/18/2014 - Environmental Claims Mining Mountaintop Removal NEPA

The Song Remains the Same: Cape Wind Wins Another Case and the Opponents Declare Victory

Late last week, in Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility v. Beaudreu, Judge Reggie Walton gave Cape Wind and its federal co-defendants an almost across the board victory in a series of challenges by Cape Wind...more

3/18/2014 - Energy Environmental Policies Renewable Energy Wind Power

Opacity Still Matters: Court of Appeals Affirms EPA’s NSPS for Particulate Matter

Last week, in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed EPA’s 2012 New Source Performance Standards for particulate matter emissions from fossil-fuel-fired steam electric generating...more

3/17/2014 - Air Pollution Clean Energy EPA

Yes, Virginia, NSR Really is a Preconstruction Permitting Program: Another NSR Enforcement Case Fails on Statute of Limitations...

The trend of cases holding that the NSR provisions of the Clean Air Act constitute a one-time preconstruction review requirement got stronger earlier this month, as the decision in Sierra Club v. Oklahoma Gas and Electric...more

3/17/2014 - Clean Air Act Enforcement Actions NSR Sierra Club Statute of Limitations

NSR Emissions Projections — Finally, An Area Where It is the Regulated Entity Which Is Entitled to Deference

Last spring, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that when power plant owners compare actual emissions to projected future actual emissions for the purpose of determining whether a project is subject to the Clean Air Act’s...more

3/5/2014 - Clean Air Act Environmental Policies EPA NSR

I Thought Redeveloping Brownfields Was a Good Idea: Apparently the Boston Globe Hasn’t Gotten the Message

In an article earlier this week, the Boston Globe reported on concerns that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is planning to weaken cleanup standards for hazardous waste sites in Massachusetts,...more

2/26/2014 - Brownfield Properties Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Policies

More Than Five Years Later, the Bush Administration Is Still Losing Environmental Cases

I previously noted that the record of the Bush administration in defending its rulemaking decisions was dangerously near the Mendoza Line. Indeed, even four years after Bush left office, it was continuing to lose decisions. ...more

2/24/2014 - Endangered Species Act Environmental Claims Environmental Liability Environmental Policies Fish and Wildlife Service National Parks

The Ninth Circuit Addresses NEPA’s Goldilocks Problem: How Many Alternatives Are Just Enough?

One of the critical elements of NEPA is that project proponents must assess the feasibility and impacts of not only the preferred alternative, but also a range of alternatives. However, there is a tension in NEPA, because it...more

2/20/2014 - Environmental Assessments Environmental Policies NEPA Trucking Industry

In Massachusetts, Regulatory Agencies Are Still (Almost) Always Right

The Massachusetts Endangered Species Act, or MESA, is similar in some respects to the federal ESA, but is definitely its own kettle of (endangered) fish. Indeed, after the decision by the Supreme Judicial Court yesterday in...more

2/19/2014 - Department of Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species Act Fish and Wildlife Service

The States Lose Another NSR (and NSPS) Enforcement Case: I Think I Detect A Trend

As I have previously noted, the government’s record in NSR enforcement cases has been going downhill, particularly with important defeats before the 3rd and 7th Circuits’ Courts of Appeals. The latest governmental defeat...more

2/10/2014 - Clean Air Act Enforcement Actions Environmental Claims Environmental Policies NSR

EPA May Rely — In Part — on Projects Funded Under the Energy Policy Act to Justify the Greenhouse Gas NSPS. That’s Its Story and...

As those following EPA’s efforts to promulgate NSPS for greenhouse gas emissions from new fossil fuel-fired electric generating plants know, EPA has come under fire for basing its proposal on demonstrations of feasibility at...more

2/10/2014 - Carbon Emissions Energy Energy Policy EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Oil & Gas Power Plants

Cooperative Federalism Is Even Messier Than We Thought: 21 States Oppose the Chesapeake Bay TMDL

Last fall, the District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania affirmed EPA’s TMDL for the Chesapeake Bay. As I noted at the time, Judge Rambo pointed to the sometimes “messy and cumbersome” nature of cooperative...more

2/7/2014 - Clean Water Act Environmental Policies EPA Pollution Control TMDL

EPA Is Not a “Bogeyman” According to a Sierra Club Poll: I’m Sure That Will Comfort Nervous Senate Democrats

The Sierra Club released a poll yesterday showing substantial support for EPA’s efforts to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. The poll was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, whose representative,...more

2/5/2014 - Carbon Emissions EPA Power Plants Sierra Club

EPA Inches Closer to a More Stringent Ozone Standard: When Will It Actually See the Light of Day?

On Monday, EPA released its second external review draft of an updated Policy Assessment on the national ambient air quality standard for ozone. It also released updated draft risk and exposure assessments. To no one’s...more

2/4/2014 - Air Quality Standards Environmental Policies EPA

BOEM Gives a Lesson on How Not To Survive NEPA Review

Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the plaintiffs that the Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to support oil and gas leasing in the Chukchi Sea was flawed. ...more

1/28/2014 - BOEM Environmental Impact Report Environmental Policies NEPA Oil & Gas

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