Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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Can the Majority and the Dissent Both Be Wrong? The Supreme Court Remands the MATS Rule

The short answer is, yes, though the majority is more wrong. In fact, the issue in Michigan v. EPA seems so simple that the MATS rule could have been affirmed in a two-page opinion. Judge Scalia notes that the word...more

6/30/2015 - Chevron Deference Clean Air Act EPA MATS Michigan v. EPA SCOTUS

If Congress Wants to Limit EPA’s Discretion, Perhaps It Should Do a Better Job Legislating

Earlier this week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected both industry and environmental group petitions challenging EPA’s determination of what is a solid waste in the context of Clean Air Act standards for incinerators...more

6/8/2015 - Auto Manufacturers Automotive Industry Chevron Clean Air Act EPA Manufacturers RCRA Solid Waste

When Does a Judge Refuse an Unopposed Motion to Enter a Consent Decree?

Last week, Judge John Copenhaver refused to allow a motion by the United States to enter a consent decree that would have resolved government claims against DuPont concerning alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, CERCLA,...more

5/1/2015 - CERCLA Clean Air Act Consent Decrees DuPont EPCRA Judges Manufacturing Facilities

No Competitors In My Backyard?

In Paradise Lost, John Milton wrote that “easy is the descent into Hell, for it is paved with good intentions.” A modern environmental lawyer might say that the road to waste, inefficiency, and obstruction is paved with good...more

3/2/2015 - Business Litigation Citizen Suits Clean Air Act Competition EPA

Proof and Causation Matter: District Court Declines to Penalize ExxonMobil in Texas Citizen Suit

On Wednesday, Judge David Hittner, of the District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in a decision long enough to require two separate pdfs, declined to impose an injunction or penalties (plaintiffs sought...more

12/19/2014 - Citizen Suits Clean Air Act Exxon Mobil

When Is a Solid Waste Not a Solid Waste? An Eternal Question

This year, EPA has proposed a rule to regulate GHG emissions from existing sources, the legality of which turns, in significant part, on the definition of a “source” under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. It has also...more

12/11/2014 - Clean Air Act EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Proposed Regulation RCRA Solid Waste Waters of the United States

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

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

What a Shock?! Nebraska’s Early Challenge to EPA’s Clean Power Plan Is Dismissed

Opponents of EPA’s Clean Power Plan have not been willing to wait until a final rule has been promulgated before challenging EPA’s authority. On Monday, Nebraska’s challenged was dismissed – not surprisingly – as premature....more

10/9/2014 - Clean Air Act Clean Power Plan Energy Policy Act EPA Federal Funding Technology

Yes, Virginia, It Is Possible To Win A Fee Award Against An Environmental NGO

Last week, Judge Walter Smith, Jr., ordered the Sierra Club to pay more than six million dollars – yes, you read that correctly – to Energy Future Holdings and Luminant Generation, after finding that the Sierra Club’s Clean...more

9/4/2014 - Citizen Suits Clean Air Act Coal-Fired Plants Fee Awards Oil & Gas Sierra Club

You Can’t Estop the Government — Even When It Wants to Be Estopped

Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that arguably explains everything from why the Tea Party exists to why otherwise calm and sane executives suddenly lose all their hair. Perhaps most astounding,...more

8/22/2014 - Clean Air Act Environmental Policies EPA NAAQS Power Plants

Who Gets to Review EPA Actions? The Court of Appeals? The District Court? (Hint: The Answer Is Not “Neither One”)

The general rule under the Clean Air Act is that any: person may bring suit in district court against the EPA Administrator for an alleged failure to perform a nondiscretionary act or duty, and the district court has...more

7/31/2014 - Appeals Clean Air Act EPA Jurisdiction Rulemaking Process Sierra Club

83% of a Loaf Is Better Than None: The Supreme Court Affirms EPA’s Authority to Regulate “Anyway Sources”, But Rejects Regulation...

The Supreme Court affirmed EPA’s authority to subject 83% of greenhouse gas emissions to its PSD and Title V Operating Permit programs. However, EPA’s rationale for the rule did not fare so well, and EPA does not have...more

6/25/2014 - BACT Clean Air Act Climate Change Environmental Policies EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Permits Power Plants SCOTUS Title V Utilities Sector Utility Air Regulatory Group v EPA

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

The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth — And the Supreme Court Says EPA Therefore Has Discretion in Regulating Wind-Borne Pollution

The Supreme Court today reversed the D.C. Circuit and affirmed EPA’s Transport Rule (known more formally as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule). Whatever the hopes and dreams of the upwind states and the industry opponents,...more

4/30/2014 - Clean Air Act EPA SCOTUS Transport Rule

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

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

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

The Third Circuit Reinstates Nuisance Claims Against Cheswick Generating: Bad Idea

On Wednesday, in Bell v. Cheswick Generating Station, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals revived class action nuisance claims brought by residential property owners living within one mile of GenOn’s Cheswick Generating Station....more

8/23/2013 - Clean Air Act Environmental Policies EPA Nuisance SCOTUS

We Still Don’t Need No Stinkin Cooperative Federalism: The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Holds that GHG Sources Require PSD...

Last Friday, I posted about the limits to EPA’s cooperation with states in the name of “cooperative federalism” under the Clean Air Act. On the same day, in Texas v. EPA, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals only emphasized my...more

7/30/2013 - Chevron Clean Air Act EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Permits PSD SIP

Cooperative Federalism? We Don’t Need No Stinkin Cooperative Federalism

Last Friday, the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Oklahoma v. EPA, affirmed EPA’s rejection of Oklahoma’s state implementation plan setting forth its determination of the Best Available Retrofit Technology, or BART,...more

7/25/2013 - Clean Air Act EPA Federalism Political Debates SIP Technology

Mississippi v. EPA: Support of the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee is Not Necessary to Affirm EPA’s NAAQS

On Tuesday, in Mississippi v. EPA, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed EPA’s 2008 NAAQS for ozone of 0.075 ppm. However, it remanded EPA’s decision to set the secondary NAAQS, for public welfare, at the same...more

7/25/2013 - Clean Air Act Environmental Impact Report Environmental Policies Environmental Review EPA NAAQS

Section 126 of the Clean Air Act and Cooperative Federalism: EPA May Cooperate with the Downwind State Rather than the Upwind...

On Friday, in GenOn REMA v. EPA, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that, in response to a petition from a downwind state under § 126 of the Clean Air Act, EPA may issue a rule imposing emission limits on a source in the...more

7/16/2013 - Air Pollution Clean Air Act Environmental Claims Environmental Liability EPA NAAQS SIP

One Step At A Time Is Just Too Late: The DC Circuit Strikes Down EPA’s Deferral of GHG Regulation of Biomass Emissions

On Friday, in Center For Biological Diversity v. EPA, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down EPA’s rule deferring regulation of GHG emissions from “biogenic” sources. ...more

7/15/2013 - Biomass Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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