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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forecast is Hazy For EPA’s Regional Haze Oversight Authority

Earlier this month, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed EPA’s disapproval of the Texas and Oklahoma regional haze state implementation plans, as well as EPA’s promulgation of its own federal implementation plan. The...more

7/25/2016 - Administrative Authority Appeals Clean Air Act EPA Jurisdiction Motions to Stay Proceedings Oil & Gas Order to Stay State Implementation Plans (SIPs)

Three Strikes and Mingo Logan Is Out: The D.C. Circuit Affirms EPA Withdrawal of Approval of Mountaintop Removal Disposal Sites

In 2013, the D.C. Circuit affirmed EPA’s authority to withdrawal approval of mountaintop mining disposal sites, even after the Army Corps has issued a Section 404 permit. In 2014, the District Court rejected Mingo Logan’s...more

7/22/2016 - Clean Water Act EPA NPDES Permits Section 404 Waste Disposal

Violations of Environmental Law Are About To Get More Expensive

On July 1, EPA promulgated an interim final rule making inflation adjustments to the civil penalties under statutes it administers. The adjustments are required by statute. The new amounts apply to violations that occurred...more

7/5/2016 - Civil Monetary Penalty Clean Water Act EPA Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 Final Rules

The Antarctic Ozone Hole Is Healing. Full Stop.

An article published Friday in Science reports that the Antarctic ozone hole is healing.  As the article notes, there was some previous evidence about global improvement in stratospheric ozone levels, but this is the first to...more

7/5/2016 - Climate Change Energy & Climate Debates EPA Ozone

TSCA Reform Is Real: EPA Publishes Its “First Year Implementation Plan”

On Wednesday, EPA released its “First Year Implementation Plan” for the recently enacted TSCA reform legislation. Before getting to the details, it’s worth emphasizing what a significant accomplishment it was to get...more

7/1/2016 - Chemicals EPA Federal Implementation Plans (FIP) Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

BLM Has No Authority To Regulate Fracking, At Least For Now

Yesterday, Judge Scott Skavdahl of the District of Wyoming held that the Bureau of Land Management did not have authority to regulate the environmental impacts of fracking. I think Judge Skavdahl probably got it right, but I...more

6/22/2016 - Administrative Authority Bureau of Land Management Congressional Intent Energy Policy EPA Fracking Oil & Gas Safe Drinking Water Act Underground Injection Wells

One Final Word on Peterborough Oil: Yes, MTBE Is An Additive

The final answer to the critical issue raised by the recent Peterborough Oil Company decision is that MTBE is an additive and is not, in MassDEP’s view, subject to the “oil exemption” under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan....more

6/9/2016 - Chemicals EPA Exemptions Groundwater Hydrocarbons MassDEP Oil & Gas PRP

More on the Peterborough Oil Case: Is MTBE An “Additive”?

Since yesterday’s post on the Peterborough Oil case, a little birdie told me that MassDEP may be taking the position that MTBE is covered by the “oil exemption”, because it is a hydrocarbon. If so, that would be good news...more

6/8/2016 - Chemicals EPA Exemptions Hydrocarbons MassDEP Oil & Gas PRP

EPA’s Final Methane Rule: Fighting Climate Change Up to January 20, 2017 — And Beyond

Dylan Thomas said “Do not go gentle into that good night.” Obama’s EPA is taking that advice to heart, pushing forward aggressively on its climate change agenda, even as January 2017 approaches. On Thursday, EPA issued its...more

5/17/2016 - Climate Change EPA Methane New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) Oil & Gas

Better Late Than Never: Massachusetts Moves to Obtain NPDES Delegation

Like most federal environmental programs, NPDES program authority is largely delegated to the states. Only four states aren’t delegated: Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Mexico. How is it that progressive...more

5/2/2016 - Administrative Authority Clean Water Act EPA NPDES State and Local Government Water Pollution

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