Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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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

2/17/2017 - Clean Water Act Coal Mines EPA TMDL Toxic Exposure

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

2/15/2017 - Clean Energy Energy Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hydropower Renewable Energy Wind Power

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

2/15/2017 - Chevron Deference Critical Habitat En Banc Review Endangered Species Act (ESA) US Fish and Wildlife Service

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

2/10/2017 - Clean Air Act Climate Change Energy Sector Energy Storage Renewable Energy Sustainability

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

2/9/2017 - Carbon Emissions Carbon Taxes Climate Change Energy Sector EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Legislative Agendas

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

Stop the Presses: NPDES Permitees Must Comply With Their Permits

Earlier this month, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that NPDES permit holders must comply with all of the terms of their permits. I’m not sure why this should be earthshattering news, but the case does have some...more

1/18/2017 - Coal Industry Department of Environmental Protection NPDES Permits Water Quality

The NSR Regulations Still Make No Sense: The 6th Circuit Reverses the DTE Decision Based on a 1-Judge Minority Opinion

Last week, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed – for the second time – a District Court decision granting summary judgment to DTE Energy in the United States’ case alleging that DTE Energy had violated EPA’s NSR...more

1/17/2017 - Energy Sector Enforcement Actions EPA NSR Summary Judgment

EPA Wins a Round Against CLF in Residual Designation Authority Litigation

Earlier this week, Judge Mary Lisi, of the District Court of Rhode Island, dismissed the Conservation Law Foundation’s Residual Designation Authority law suit against EPA. CLF had asked the Court to order EPA to require...more

12/16/2016 - Conservation EPA Stormwater Discharge Permits

EPA Adds Vapor Intrusion to Hazard Ranking. Can You Say “Deck Chairs on the Titanic?”

EPA has finally issued a final rule including vapor intrusion in the Hazard Ranking System. The good news is that this is appropriate, because VI is one of the few real hazards regulated by the Superfund program. The bad...more

12/14/2016 - CERCLA EPA Hazardous Substances Public Health Superfund Vapor Intrusion

Some Regulations to Reduce GHG Emissions Probably Won’t Be Rolled Back By the New Administration.

This week, the Department of Energy finalized regulations to increase energy efficiency for central air conditioners and heat pumps. The regulations apply to products manufactured or imported into the United States beginning...more

12/9/2016 - DOE Energy Efficiency Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Did Trump’s Election Increase the Odds of NPDES Delegation in Massachusetts? I Sure Hope So.

As I noted last spring, the Baker administration had filed legislation to support NPDES delegation to Massachusetts. At the time, I supported the delegation effort and pleaded with my friends in the environmental community...more

12/7/2016 - EPA NPDES Presidential Elections Trump Administration

Does MassDEP Have Authority to Regulate Electric Generating Emissions Under Section 3(d) of the GWSA? I’m Not So Sure.

As I have previously noted, I sympathize with the difficulties faced by MassDEP in trying to implement the SJC decision in Kain. However, that does not mean that MassDEP can simply take the easy way out. After rereading...more

12/6/2016 - Climate Change DOE Electric Generation Suppliers Energy Policy Global Warming Solutions Act Greenhouse Gas Emissions MassDEP RGGI

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 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 Endangered Species Act (ESA) Environmental Policies EPA NEPA Political Candidates Presidential Elections Trump Administration

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

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