Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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EPA Surrenders in the Regional Haze Dispute With Texas

As I noted when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed EPA’s disapproval of Texas’s regional haze plan, EPA had pretty much no chance of winning. Although the parties then stayed the litigation to talk settlement, EPA...more

11/30/2016 - Environmental Policies EPA Texas

DEP Is Trying to Implement Kain. How Are They Doing?

When the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Kain that § 3(d) of the Global Warming Solutions act requires MassDEP to promulgate emission limits for multiple source categories, requiring declining annual emissions enforceable in...more

11/21/2016 - Clean Energy Climate Change Global Warming Solutions Act Greenhouse Gas Emissions MassDEP RGGI

Let the Environmental Trade Wars Begin!

While speculation is rampant regarding just far President Trump will go to roll back progress on climate change in the United States, Nicolas Sarkozy has fired what might be called a metaphorical shot across Trump’s bow. In...more

11/15/2016 - Carbon Taxes Climate Change Donald Trump Presidential Elections Trump Administration

Trump’s Impact on Environmental Law? Let the Speculation Begin!

What will a Trump Presidency mean for environmental law? I’m not sure my crystal ball if better than anyone else’s, but here are a few quick thoughts...more

11/11/2016 - CERCLA Clean Power Plan Donald Trump Endangered Species Act (ESA) Environmental Policies EPA NEPA Political Candidates Presidential Elections

A Reminder of the Progress We’ve Made

Given how easy it can be to get discouraged about progress in addressing climate change, I think it’s helpful periodically to remember how much progress the U.S. has made in fighting air pollution. It thus seemed useful to...more

11/8/2016 - Air Pollution Climate Change

The Army Corps Is Nicer Than I Am

After the Supreme Court decided last spring that Army Corps of Engineers’ Jurisdictional Determinations are final agency action subject to judicial review, I advised the Corps to pick up its marbles and go home. The statute...more

11/3/2016 - Hawkes Co v United States Army Corps of Engineers Jurisdictional Determination (JD) US Army Corps of Engineers

Transportation CO2 Surpasses Power Sector CO2: Good News or Bad?

Last week, DOE announced that transportation sector CO2 emissions in the US exceeded power sector CO2 emissions for the first time since 1978. Why? The combination of increasing vehicle miles traveled in the transportation...more

11/2/2016 - Carbon Emissions DOE Transportation Industry

It’s Foreseeable That More Species Will Be Listed Under the ESA Due to Climate Change

The drumbeat of cases, either approving agency action under the ESA – or reversing agency refusal to act – due to habitat alteration resulting from climate change continues to grow. In February, the 9th Circuit reversed a...more

10/25/2016 - Climate Change Endangered Species Endangered Species Act (ESA) ESA Listings US Fish and Wildlife Service

EPA Must Evaluate Job Losses From Its Regulations: Blame Ralph Nader!

Last week, Judge John Preston Bailey ruled that EPA had violated a non-discretionary duty by failing comply with the requirement of § 321(a) of the Clean Air Act that it...more

10/25/2016 - Administrative Authority Clean Air Act EPA Hiring & Firing Murray Energy

FWS Goes Back to Square One On Listing the Wolverine. It’s Not Going to Be Any Easier This Time Around.

As we noted in this space in April, Judge Dana Christensen vacated the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to withdraw its proposed listing of a distinct population segment of the North American wolverine as threatened under...more

10/19/2016 - Climate Change Critical Habitat Endangered Species Endangered Species Act (ESA) ESA Listings US Fish and Wildlife Service

What a Surprise! Increased Renewal Energy Decreases GHG Emissions.

On October 12, 2016, the Energy Information Administration reported that “Energy-related CO2 emissions for first six months of 2016 are lowest since 1991.” The EIA gave three reasons for the drop in CO2 emissions. ...more

10/13/2016 - Carbon Emissions Clean Energy Climate Change Coal Energy Policy Global Warming Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hydropower Renewable Energy Solar Energy Wind Power

Massachusetts Innovates Again, This Time With New Climate Change Litigation

As an MIT grad and loyal resident (Go Sox!), I’m always happy to see stories about Massachusetts’ role in the innovation economy. Last week news arrived of more innovation in Massachusetts – this time on the legal front. ...more

10/5/2016 - Climate Change Exxon Mobil FEMA Flooding Rising Sea Levels Water Pollution

Stop the Presses: Nuclear Power Still Does Not Emit Greenhouse Gases

On Monday, the TVA announced that Watts Bar Unit 2 had successfully completed what is known as its final power ascension test. It is now producing 1,150 MW of power in pre-commercial operation. Though EnergyWire did report...more

10/5/2016 - Climate Change Dams Energy Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hydropower Nuclear Power

RGGI Is a Success Story. When Will It Be Obsolete?

When RGGI was first implemented, I heard Ian Bowles, then Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs in Massachusetts, say more than once that the purpose of RGGI wasn’t really to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or jump...more

9/27/2016 - Clean Energy Clean Power Plan Energy Efficiency Greenhouse Gas Emissions Renewable Energy RGGI

EPA Eliminates “But For” Causation From the Exceptional Events Rule: Tort Professors Everywhere Get Excited

On Monday, EPA promulgated amendments to its “Exceptional Events” Rule. The rule is important, particularly in the Western states, and most particularly in connection with EPA’s latest iteration of the ozone NAAQS. EPA’s...more

9/21/2016 - Burden of Proof But For Causation EPA NAAQS

Governor Baker’s Executive Order on Change: Good News; Still Work To Be Done By MassDEP

Last Friday, Governor Baker issued Executive Order 569, “Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth.” EO 569 will advance climate policy in Massachusetts in a number of important ways. It also...more

9/19/2016 - Climate Action Plan Climate Change Executive Orders Global Warming Solutions Act Governor Baker Greenhouse Gas Emissions MassDEP Oil & Gas

Back to the Fracking Drawing Board for BLM? Fracking’s Risks Are Too Obvious to Ignore

Last week, Judge Michael Fitzgerald granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs in a citizen suit alleging that BLM’s Environmental Impact Statement prepared to address whether to open certain lands in California to mineral...more

9/14/2016 - Bureau of Land Management Fracking NEPA Summary Judgment

DOE and DOI Release the New National Offshore Wind Strategy: Perhaps Prosperity Is Finally Just Around the Corner

Last Friday, DOE and DOI issued an update of their National Offshore Wind Strategy. It’s a moderately aggressive strategy, seeking to deploy at least 86 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2050. The report highlights both the...more

9/13/2016 - DOE Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Wind Power

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

9/8/2016 - Agency Deference Appeals BACT Biomass Coal Mines EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Natural Gas Oil & Gas Permits Sierra Club

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

9/1/2016 - Appeals Bylaws Home Rule States Municipalities Property Owners State and Local Government Wetlands

Citizen Suits Remain a Potent Weapon

Although citizen groups have suffered some defeats in Clean Air Act cases in the NSR/PSD context recently, a decision last week in a different kind of CAA case is a reminder of just how powerful a weapon citizen suits can be,...more

8/31/2016 - Citizen Suits Clean Air Act Injury-in-Fact Power Plants Standing

The Arbitrary and Capricious Standard Remains Deferential: The Corps’ Nationwide Permit 21 Survives Review

Late last week, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges to the Army Corps’ Nationwide Permit 21, which allows small surface mining projects to proceed without individual permits under § 404. ...more

8/16/2016 - Agency Deference Arbitrary and Capricious Mining Permits Section 404 US Army Corps of Engineers

The Social Cost of Carbon Passes Its First Judicial Test

Earlier this week, the 7th Circuit affirmed the Department of Energy’s new energy efficiency requirements for commercial refrigeration equipment. This is a big deal in its own right, simply because the numbers are really...more

8/13/2016 - Chevron Deference Conservation DOE Energy Efficiency Energy Sector Environmental Assessments

A Foolish Consistency Is the Hobgoblin of Little Minds: So Said Emerson, So Says EPA

On Wednesday, EPA issued a final rule amending its “Regional Consistency Regulations.” The new rule provides that EPA will only follow adverse judicial decisions in the areas of the country where such judicial decisions are...more

8/8/2016 - Clean Air Act EPA Federal v State Law Application Regional Consistency Rule State Implementation Plans (SIPs)

Chevron Deference Lives! EPA’s Boiler Rule (Mostly) Survives Review

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit largely upheld EPA’s Boiler MACT rule. The industry challenges were a complete washout. The environmental petitioners won one significant victory and a number of smaller ones....more

8/2/2016 - Air Pollution Boiler MACT Rule Carbon Emissions Chevron Chevron Deference Clean Air Act EPA

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