Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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Minnesota May Not Prohibit Power Sales That Would Increase Statewide CO2 Emissions. Why Not? Pick Your Reason.

If you needed any further proof that energy law is very complicated, Wednesday’s decision in North Dakota v. Heydinger should convince you. The judgment is simple – the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Minnesota...more

6/17/2016 - Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Dormant Commerce Clause Energy Sector Extraterritoriality Rules Federal Power Act Out-of-State Companies Power Purchase Agreements Preemption

Big Changes With LIttle Fanfare: The FHWA Proposes to Use GHG Emissions as a Performance Measure

This week, the Federal Highway Administration issued a Noticed of Proposed Rulemaking to promulgate performance measures to be used in evaluating federal funding of transportation projects. The requirement for performance...more

4/20/2016 - Carbon Emissions Federal Highway Administration Greenhouse Gas Emissions MAP-21 NPRM

A Substantive Due Process Right to Climate Change Regulation? What’s a Lonely Apostle of Judicial Restraint To Do?

Late last week, Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin concluded that the most recent public trust case, which seeks an injunction requiring the United States to take actions to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations to 350 parts per...more

4/14/2016 - Carbon Emissions Climate Change Due Process Public Trust Doctrine Waters of the United States

NSR Enforcement Staggers On: A Split Decision in Missouri

Given EPA’s recent run of defeats in its NSR enforcement initiative, it’s probably breathing a sigh of relief over last week’s decision in United States v. Ameren Missouri, regarding Ameren’s Rush Island coal-fired power...more

2/29/2016 - Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Coal-Fired Plants EPA NSR Operational Permits Power Plants Summary Judgment

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

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

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

The Clean Power Plan. Is Better Good Enough? Is More Defensible Defensible Enough?

So the Clean Power Plan is out. It’s difficult to be pithy about such a big, sprawling, mess, other than to say that it’s probably about as good as it could be, though that may not be enough. Here are a few items that have...more

8/5/2015 - Cap-and-Trade Carbon Emissions Clean Power Plan Emissions Trading System Energy Efficiency EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Renewable Energy

Two Strikes and Oklahoma’s Out (For Now): Another Challenge to the Clean Power Plan Is Rejected

On Friday, Judge Claire Eagan dismissed Oklahoma’s latest challenge to EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Yes, that plan. The one that hasn’t been promulgated yet....more

7/21/2015 - Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Clean Power Plan Coal-Fired Plants EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Ultra Vires

The Problem With Relying on Energy Efficiency to Reduce Emissions? People

The connection between energy use and emissions of air pollutants, including GHGs, is uncontroversial. It is also widely, if not universally, accepted that there is a lot of low-hanging fruit in energy efficiency. I agree...more

7/10/2015 - Carbon Emissions Energy Efficiency Greenhouse Gas Emissions

What is the Social Cost of Carbon? And Who Bears Those Costs?

As I noted last year, there has been significant criticism of the Integrated Assessment Models used to calculate the social cost of carbon. An article published this week in Nature Climate Change (not free), attempts to...more

1/15/2015 - Carbon Emissions Climate Change

I’m Still a Cockeyed Optimist When It Comes to Climate Change

Last week, NRG Energy announced plans to reduce CO2 emissions 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050. And this reduction is not from a 1990 or 2005 baseline; it is from 2014 emissions. NRG’s statement indicated that it had already...more

11/25/2014 - Cap-and-Trade Carbon Emissions Carbon Taxes Climate Change Energy Policy

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

10/23/2014 - Appeals Cap-and-Trade Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Climate Change Energy Energy Policy EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions

EPA Proposes to Eliminate Affirmative Defenses for Excess Emissions During Startups, Shutdowns, or Malfunctions — Get Ready for...

This past April, the D.C. Circuit struck down the part of EPA’s cement kiln rule that would have provided an affirmative defense to civil penalties for excess emissions resulting from unavoidable malfunctions. As we noted at...more

9/10/2014 - Affirmative Defenses Carbon Emissions Environmental Policies EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Governor Patrick Announces Climate Change Preparedness Initiatives: Not Everyone’s On Board

On Tuesday, Governor Patrick announced a series of climate change preparedness initiatives, including about $50 million in funds for a variety of programs. Before summarizing the plan, I’ll note that Massachusetts appears to...more

1/16/2014 - Carbon Emissions Climate Action Plan Climate Change Disaster Preparedness Environmental Policies Greenhouse Gas Emissions

EPA’s Proposed NSPS Rule for GHGs Is Finally Published in the Federal Register; I’m Still Skeptical

EPA’s Proposed New Source Performance Standards for greenhouse gas emissions from new sources was finally published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. At least fundamentally, it seems unchanged from the proposal released...more

1/10/2014 - Carbon Capture and Sequestration Carbon Emissions Environmental Policies EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Oil & Gas

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