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

EPA’s EJSCREEN: Making Citizen Environmental Suits Just a Little Bit Easier

I have previously noted that EPA, perhaps recognizing that an unfriendly Congress will lead to budgetary constraints on government enforcement, has been trying to facilitate citizen enforcement efforts. EPA’s latest move on...more

6/16/2015 - Citizen Suits EPA

No, Virginia, You Can’t Challenge a Rule that Hasn’t Even Been Promulgated

Easy way to tell when you’ve lost your appeal? When a pithy judge starts making fun of you in the first sentence of the opinion. In a case that was only ever going to have one outcome, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals...more

6/10/2015 - Clean Power Plan EPA Jurisdiction Power Plants

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

Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction — No Longer Any Automatic Exemptions or Affirmative Defenses

Last week, EPA finally responded to the Sierra Club’s petition requesting that it eliminate exemptions and defenses for excess emissions resulting from startup, shutdown, or malfunction events. EPA concluded that it needed to...more

6/1/2015 - Affirmative Defenses EPA Exemptions SIP SSM Periods

EPA Defines “Waters of the United States”. The Sky Has Not Fallen.

Yesterday, EPA and the Army Corps finally released their long-awaited rule defining “waters of the United States.” I’m actually with EPA and the Corps on this one. It’s an important rule, and I’m glad that EPA and the Corps...more

5/29/2015 - Clean Water Act EPA US Army Corps of Engineers Waters of the United States

Half a Loaf May Not Be Too Bad: The 9th Circuit Affirms Most of EPA’s Approval of the San Joaquin Valley SIP

Earlier this week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted part of a petition challenging EPA’s approval of California’s SIP for ozone and PM 2.5 in the San Joaquin Valley.  While the trade press has been focusing on the...more

5/26/2015 - Appeals Energy Sector EPA NAAQS Ozone SIP

Is There Any End to Post-Closure Care Under RCRA?

Late last month EPA issued draft guidance on adjusting post-closure periods under RCRA. It’s not good news. ...more

5/13/2015 - Contaminated Properties Draft Guidance EPA RCRA Remediation

EPA Is Not an Expert in Determining Electric System Reliability

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed and remanded EPA’s rule allowing backup generators to operate for up to 100 hours per year as necessary for demand response. It’s an important decision that could have lessons...more

5/4/2015 - Appeals EPA FERC Greenhouse Gas Emissions NERC Reliability Standards

The Stormwater Mess Continues in Massachusetts: CLF and CRWA Sue EPA

In February, we noted that the Conservation Law Foundation and the Charles River Watershed Association had threatened to sue EPA for failing to require that “commercial, industrial, institutional, and high density residential...more

4/30/2015 - Discharge of Pollutants EPA MassDEP Storm Water Stormwater Discharge Permits

EPA Really Has A Lot Of Discretion In Deciding Whether to Promulgate Water Quality Standards

When a number of citizen groups petitioned EPA to determine that it is necessary under the Clean Water Act to promulgate water quality standards for nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River Basin and the Northern Gulf of...more

4/13/2015 - Clean Water Act EPA Standard of Review

Conservative Support for a Carbon Tax? Hope Springs Eternal

I have long thought that the best argument for market-based approaches to climate change mitigation was the clunkiness of the alternative. However much time EPA has spent trying to make the GHG regulations efficient, no one...more

3/25/2015 - Carbon Taxes Energy Policy EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Legislative Agendas

What’s a Significant Nexus? The Answer, My Friend, Is Flowin’ Through the Ditch.

Even assuming that the “significant nexus” test from Justice Kennedy’s concurring opinion in Rapanos defines waters of the United States subject to Clean Water Act jurisdiction, the question remains what establishes a...more

3/16/2015 - Clean Water Act EPA Federal Jurisdiction

Self Righteousness Still Does Not Help the Environmentalists’ Cause

Fully five years ago, I noted that the cavalier treatment by government officials of FOIA requests made by opponents of government policy revealed a degree of self-righteousness that was both offensive and self-defeating –...more

3/3/2015 - Environmental Policies EPA FOIA

MassDEP — A Voice of Reason in the Stormwater Permitting Debate

EPA has been working to craft a general permit for small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems for quite some time. The most recent draft permit, published last September, has received significant comment, most recently...more

3/3/2015 - EPA General Permit MassDEP Storm Water

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

The Impact of the Clean Power Plan on Reliability: Now We Have Dueling Assessments

In November, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation provided its “Initial Reliability Review” of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. NERC raised a number of concerns about the impact of the CPP on reliability....more

2/18/2015 - Clean Power Plan Electricity EPA NERC Power Infrastructure

Déjà Vu All Over Again: CLF and CWRA Try Once More to Get EPA to Regulate Stormwater Discharges to the Charles River

In 2008, EPA made a preliminary determination to use its residual designation authority (RDA) under the Clean Water Act to designate stormwater discharges from two or more acres of impervious surfaces in the Lower Charles...more

2/12/2015 - Charles River Watershed Clean Water Act EPA Stormwater Discharge Permits

A Federal Court Rules that Increased Conductivity Impairs a Stream — How Shocking!

On Tuesday, Chief Judge Robert Chambers ruled that Fola Coal Company violated the Clean Water Act by discharging mine waste with sufficiently high levels of conductivity to cause or materially contribute to impairment of...more

2/2/2015 - Chevron Deference Clean Water Act Coal Industry Discharge of Pollutants EPA

Coming Soon to a Settlement Near You: Next Generation Compliance

In a memorandum issued earlier this month, EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement Cynthia Giles encouraged use by EPA staff of “Next Generation Compliance Tools” in civil settlements. Some of the tools are more “next...more

1/27/2015 - EPA Strategic Enforcement Plan

It’s All Connected: EPA Finally Determines that the Science Supports an Expansive Definition of Waters of the United States

On Thursday, EPA issued its final report on Connectivity of Streams & Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review & Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence. The Connectivity report is intended to support EPA’s rule clarifying the...more

1/16/2015 - EPA Information Reports Inland Waterways US Army Corps of Engineers Waters of the United States

EPA Extends The Schedule For Issuing Its Power Plant Carbon Rules

As most readers know, EPA has extended its schedule for issuing its rules addressing GHG emissions from both existing, and new and modified, power plants. EPA expects to issue the rules in the Summer of 2015. Only time will...more

1/13/2015 - EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulatory Standards Time Extensions

CCRs Dodge a Hazardous Waste Bullet: EPA Regulates under RCRA Subtitle D

On Friday, EPA finally released its final rule regulating coal combustion residuals. Facility owners breathed a sigh of relief, as EPA chose to regulate under Subtitle D of RCRA, rather than under the cradle-to-grave...more

12/24/2014 - Coal Coal Ash EPA Final Rules Hazardous Waste RCRA

EPA Releases FY 2014 Enforcement Results: Maybe Less Enforcement Is Good News

Last week, EPA released its report on Enforcement Annual Results in EPA Regions for Fiscal Year 2014. As always, the report is worth reading, if only for the interactive map which shows where EPA has brought various kinds of...more

12/22/2014 - Enforcement Enforcement Statistics EPA

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

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