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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

The Conservative Case for Chevron Deference, Chapter 3 (Plus an Auer Bonus!)

The conservative cases in support of Chevron deference keep arriving. This week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed EPA’s federal implementation plan for compliance with its regional haze regulations by the Navajo...more

A Lumber Mill Biomass CoGen Need Not Consider Other Fuels In Its BACT Analysis. Other Sources Should Be So Lucky.

Ever since EPA began considering how BACT analysis would be applied to greenhouse gas emissions, there has been concern that EPA would use its BACT authority to “redefine the source” – with the particular concern that BACT...more

I Hate Home Rule

Massachusetts is a Home Rule state (Commonwealth, actually, but that’s a separate issue). Our 351 cities and towns can pretty much legislate as they please, so long as the local action is not preempted. Our state Wetlands...more

No Deference to State Settlements Under CERCLA? No Problem!

I will confess that I do enjoy being correct. In 2014, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to defer to a state agency determination of the procedural and substantive fairness of a CERCLA consent decree. Various parties...more

Forecast is Hazy For EPA’s Regional Haze Oversight Authority

Earlier this month, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed EPA’s disapproval of the Texas and Oklahoma regional haze state implementation plans, as well as EPA’s promulgation of its own federal implementation plan. The...more

NEPA Does Not Require An Agency To Guarantee Project Compliance with Environmental Laws

In an interesting decision last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges to BLM’s decision to issue a right-of-way permit for Tule Wind’s plan for a wind farm southeast of San Diego. It’s not exactly...more

If You Don’t Like Nukes, Petition Congress: The D.C. Circuit Affirms the NRC’s GEIR On Nuclear Waste Storage

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges by several states and the NRDC to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement analyzing the impacts of continued on-site storage...more

5th Circuit Vacates Verdict for ExxonMobil in CAA Citizen Suit: Still Not Much of a Win for the Plaintiffs

Last Friday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a District Court decision which had refused to impose penalties on ExxonMobil for various violations of the Clean Air Act at ExxonMobil’s Baytown refinery. While the...more

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

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

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

The D.C. Circuit Sends EPA Back to the Drawing Board to Fix Its Transport Rule Emissions Budgets

The Clean Air Act’s good neighbor provision prohibits upwind states from emitting air pollutants in amounts that will “contribute significantly to nonattainment” of a national ambient air quality standard in a downwind state....more

The 10th Circuit Affirms Colorado’s RPS; The Dormant Commerce Clause Remains Dormant

When Colorado enacted a referendum petition strengthening its renewable portfolio standard, the Energy and Environment Legal Institute sued, arguing that the RPS violates the dormant commerce clause, because it harms...more

The Ninth Circuit Reminds Us — Again — Just How Powerful the Endangered Species Act Is

On Tuesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Commerce Department’s designation of critical habitat for the southern distinct population segment of green sturgeon, once again reminding us just how difficult it is...more

Half a Loaf May Not Be Too Bad: The 9th Circuit Affirms Most of EPA’s Approval of the San Joaquin Valley SIP

Earlier this week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted part of a petition challenging EPA’s approval of California’s SIP for ozone and PM 2.5 in the San Joaquin Valley.  While the trade press has been focusing on the...more

5/26/2015  /  Appeals , Energy Sector , EPA , NAAQS , Ozone , SIP

EPA Is Not an Expert in Determining Electric System Reliability

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed and remanded EPA’s rule allowing backup generators to operate for up to 100 hours per year as necessary for demand response. It’s an important decision that could have lessons...more

Perhaps a Corps Jurisdictional Interpretation is Final Agency Action After All

After Sackett, the question on everyone’s mind was “How far does it go?” The first test of that question was the decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals – not known as a bastion of liberalism – in Belle Company v. Corps...more

Fish Two, Water Withdrawals Zero: The 9th Circuit Affirms Another Biological Opinion

On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dealt another blow to traditional operation of the massive water projects that supply California’s Central Valley. The Court reversed those parts of a District Court opinion that...more

EPA Does Not Have a Nondiscretionary Duty to Revise PSD Regulations When It Amends a NAAQS

On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that EPA does not have an obligation to amend PSD regulations for a criteria pollutant within two years of revising the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for that...more

12/4/2014  /  Appeals , Clean Air Act , EPA , NAAQS , PSD

FERC’s Order 745 — Still In Effect For Now

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed its mandate vacating FERC Order no. 745, regarding demand response. The mandate is stayed at least until December 16, 2014, by which point FERC must petition the Supreme Court for...more

10/27/2014  /  Appeals , Chevron Deference , FERC

News Flash: Cap-and-Trade Remains the Most Efficient Way to Reduce Emissions

Notwithstanding Congressional gridlock on climate change legislation, cap-and-trade remains the tried and true efficient method for reducing air emissions. Although the acid rain provisions of the Clean Air Act are the most...more

EPA Really Does Have Authority To Withdraw Specifications Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act

Last year, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that EPA has authority to withdraw its approval for the specification of sites for the disposal of fill material, even after the Army Corps has issued a permit for the...more

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