Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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EPA and DOJ Cannot Sugarcoat This: SCOTUS Stays the Clean Power Plan

On February 9, 2016, the Supreme Court stayed EPA’s Clean Power Plan rule. No matter how much EPA and DOJ proclaim that this says nothing about the ultimate results on the merits, the CPP is on very shaky ground at this...more

2/10/2016 - Clean Power Plan DOJ EPA Judicial Review Order to Stay SCOTUS

If It Walks Like a Carbon Tax and Talks Like a Carbon Tax, (Then the GOP Hates It.)

On February 4, 2015, the White House released a fact sheet describing its efforts to create a “21st Century Clean Transportation System”. There’s a lot of interesting material in the plan, but all the headlines have been on...more

2/5/2016 - Carbon Taxes Clean Energy Obama Administration Tax Revenues

Prognosticating the Ozone Standard Litigation: EPA to Win, Environmental Petitioners to Place, Murray Energy to Show

Last week, the “Public Health and Environmental Petitioners” challenging EPA’s decision not to reduce the ozone standard below 0.070 ppm filed their “Non-Binding Statement of Issues.” My crystal ball still tells me that the...more

2/1/2016 - Environmental Litigation EPA Final Rules Ozone Public Health

Good Law Catches Up With Good Policy: The Supreme Court Upholds FERC’s Demand Response Order

The Supreme Court today affirmed FERC’s Order No. 745, which required that demand response resources be treated the same as generation resources when participating in wholesale electricity markets. I’m feeling vindicated,...more

1/26/2016 - Demand Response Electricity Energy Market Energy Policy FERC SCOTUS Wholesale

Massachusetts Updates Its Climate Song: I Can Get By With A Little Help From My (Canadian) Friends

Earlier this week, Massachusetts released its updated Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020. The headline for the press release was “Massachusetts on Track to Meet 25% Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target for...more

1/22/2016 - Canada Carbon Emissions Clean Energy Climate Change Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hydropower

Unlike Keith Richards, I Have Not Fallen Out Of A Tree

Last month, I went out on a limb and predicted that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals would not stay the CPP. Today, the Court vindicated my faith in judicial rationality and refused to grant a stay. In a brief order, the...more

1/22/2016 - Appeals Clean Power Plan Motion To Stay

Does the Paris Agreement Provide EPA With Authority Under the CAA To Impose EconomyWide GHG Controls? Count Me Skeptical

In a very interesting article, Michael Burger of the Sabin Center and his co-authors suggest that, following the Paris climate agreement, § 115 of the Clean Air Act provides authority for EPA to develop economy-wide GHG...more

1/21/2016 - Administrative Authority Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Climate Change EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Paris Agreement Reciprocity Rules

Courts Must Determine The Economic Benefit Of Noncompliance In Assessing CWA Penalties

It is well-known that the “economic benefit of noncompliance” is one of the factors to be evaluated in setting penalties under the Clean Water Act. Thus, it is not surprising that, after an oil spill at Citgo’s facility in...more

1/5/2016 - Administrative Monetary Penalties Appeals Citgo Clean Water Act EPA Oil Spills

Putting a Price on Clean Air

There has been a lot of scholarly discussion in recent years about the importance of putting a price on natural resources. The pricing issue has been particularly in the limelight in connection with the drought in the...more

12/17/2015 - Air Pollution China Drought Natural Resources Restaurant Industry

The Mercury Rule Lives To Fight Another Day: Vacatur Is Very Much Out of Fashion

On December 15, 2015, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to vacate EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. The decision was not a surprise. As I noted earlier this fall, there is a definitely trend towards refusing...more

12/16/2015 - Cost-Benefit Analysis Environmental Litigation EPA MATS SCOTUS Vacatur

The Paris Agreement: Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive

So COP21 resulted in an agreement. What’s a poor in-the-trenches lawyer to make of it? I think it’s pretty clearly a major step forward and reflects much more substantive progress than might have been expected. For a very...more

12/16/2015 - Carbon Emissions Climate Change Paris Agreement

Determining An Intent To Dispose Under CERCLA Remains a Puzzlement

Determining when a person has “arranged” for the disposal of a hazardous substance has long been difficult. The Supreme Court brought some clarity to the issue in Burlington Northern, when it said that...more

12/11/2015 - Burlington Northern CERCLA EPA Hazardous Waste Intent PCBs SCOTUS Superfund

Welcome to the Brave New World of eDisclosure

On December 9, 2015, EPA provided notice of its new “eDisclosure portal”. Going forward, self-disclosures under EPA’s Audit Policy and its Small Business Compliance Policy will be made via the web-based portal....more

12/11/2015 - Confidential Information Disclosure Requirements EPA Self-Disclosure Requirements Small Business

I’ll Go Out On A Limb; The CPP Will Not Be Stayed

I finally caught up with the brief filed by the government last week, opposing the motion to stay the EPA Clean Power Plan rule, pending full judicial review. I just don’t see the stay being granted (of course, I did not see...more

12/10/2015 - Clean Power Plan DOJ EPA Irreparable Harm Likelihood of Success Motion To Stay Public Interest

Does Colorado Support the Clean Power Plan? Yes. And No.

I have never understood why 43 states – including the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts – have independent elected attorneys general. I’m sure my new colleague, former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, would...more

12/9/2015 - Attorney Generals Clean Power Plan Environmental Litigation EPA

What Is a Water of the United States? EPA and the Corps Make It Easier To Know What They Think

While the litigation over the WOTUS rule wends its tortuous way through the courts, EPA and the Corps have not been idle. Earlier this month, they jointly issued a memorandum on their plans for improving the permitting...more

12/1/2015 - Databases EPA Jurisdiction US Army Corps of Engineers Waters of the United States

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

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