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South Florida — The Front Lines of Climate Change?

Two related items about climate change resilience and adaptation caught my eye this week. First, the American Academy of Actuaries issued a report on “The National Flood Insurance Program: Challenges and Solutions.” Those...more

It’s Wise to Make Certain that Contracts Properly Allocate Future Environmental Compliance Costs

Last week, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that AEP, which entered into a consent decree requiring it to install certain pollution controls at its Rockport 1 and 2 power plants, could not force the owner of those...more

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

Exxon Case Against AGs Transferred to New York: Judge Kinkeade Fires a Parting Shot

On Wednesday, Judge Ed Kinkeade ordered that Exxon Mobil’s suit against NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey be transferred to the Southern District of New York.  The AGs must...more

The Latest Executive Order: Any Kind of Consistency Is the Hobgoblin of Little Minds

Make no mistake, the Executive Order signed by President Trump at EPA yesterday is a big deal. Time will tell whether the Administration’s U-turn on the Obama rules currently in litigation, such as the Clean Power Plan and...more

Promulgation of TMDLs Does Not Create a Non-Discretionary Duty to Require NPDES Permits

When EPA approved total maximum daily loads for the Charles River, but failed to require NPDES permits for persons discharging stormwater to the Charles, CLF sued. CLF alleged that EPA violated a non-discretionary duty when...more

Wind Powers Texas. What Does That Say About the Future of Coal?

According to Bloomberg BNA (subscription required), last week, for the first time ever, more than 50% of the load in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas service area was supplied by wind power. This is the state that...more

Court Orders EPA to Promulgate Air Toxics Standards: A Taste of What’s to Come?

On March 22, 2017, federal Judge Christopher Cooper ordered EPA to promulgate emissions standards for 13 sources of hazardous air pollutants by June 30, 2020. EPA admitted that it missed statutory deadlines to do so; the...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

Has EPA Region I Lost Its Treasured Independence?

Earlier this month, Trump transition team member David Schnare sent a memorandum to EPA Assistant Administrators and Regional Administrators. The one-paragraph memo directs AAs and RAs...more

If a Climate Change Report Falls in the White House, Does Anyone Hear It?

This week, the National Academy of Sciences Committee tasked with reviewing the Climate Science Special Report, issued by the Obama administration, basically blessed it. They had some comments, but I’ve been through the NAS...more

Investors Don’t Think That Climate Change Is A Hoax: Black Rock Is Losing Its Patience

Black Rock, which manages more than $5 trillion in assets, has released a statement on how it “engages with climate risk.” The statement has three main elements. ...more

3/14/2017  /  BlackRock , Climate Change , Investors

The Conservative Case for Chevron Deference: Chapter 2

In January, I argued that conservative opposition to the Chevron doctrine seemed inconsistent with conservative ideology and I noted, at a practical level, that opposition to Chevron does not always yield the results...more

The Executive Order on the WOTUS Rule: Will It Really Reduce Regulatory Uncertainty?

March 2nd, 2017, President Trump issued another executive order on the environment, this time directing EPA to revisit the EPA rule defining Waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act. It’s a curious order, for a...more

The Wages of Trespass Is A Big, Fat, Penalty

Last year, I blogged about the 9th Circuit decision in United States v. Estate of E. Wayne Hage, in which the Court reversed a District Court decision rejecting United States claims that Hage had trespassed on federal lands...more

Managing Water Releases From Dams to Protect Fish: A Tale of Good Legislation and Bad Engineering

Earlier this week, the 9th Circuit found that the Bureau of Reclamation had authority under 1955 legislation to order additional releases of water to the Trinity River from the Lewiston Dam beyond the amount designated in an...more

EPA Has a Nondiscretionary Duty to Review West Virginia’s Failure to Submit TMDLs

Acting in response to state legislation, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection ceased work on promulgation of total maximum daily loads related to ionic toxicity. Ionic toxicity is a consequence of...more

Wind Power Is Now the Largest Installed Renewable: 82,000 MW And Counting

According to the American Wind Energy Association blog, installed wind capacity in the United States has reached 82,000 MW. That puts it past the 80,000 MW of installed hydropower capacity and makes wind the largest...more

Six 5th Circuit Judges Oppose USFS’s Critical Habitat Designation: Sounds Like Certiorari to Me

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals just denied en banc review in a case involving the Fish & Wildlife Service’s designation of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog. There are only 100 of these “shy” frogs left, and none...more

Climate Change Will Increase Peak Energy Demand By More Than We Thought: More Storage, Perhaps?

In an interesting study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors predict that climate change will have a more significant impact on peak energy demand than had previously been...more

The Conservative Uphill Slog for a Carbon Tax

Earlier this week, the Climate Leadership Council rolled out The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends (note the absence of the “T” word in that title!). It’s a serious proposal and, if we lived in a world of facts, rather...more

EPA Wins Another Round In PSD Litigation: More Evidence that the Program Is Flawed.

Last Monday, in a comprehensive, 189-page opinion, Judge Rodney Sippel ruled that Ameren Missouri had violated EPA’s PSD regulations by failing to get permits for upgrades in 2007 and 2010 at its Rush Island facility. As I...more

1/30/2017  /  EPA , Maintenance , Permits , PSD

The Conservative Case For Chevron Deference

With GOP control of Congress and the White House, conservatives appear to have Chevron deference in their crosshairs. Put simply, I don’t get it. There are at least two good reasons why conservatives should prefer Chevron...more

1/23/2017  /  Chevron Deference , Conservatives , EPA , NPDES , Water
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