Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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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

Stop the Presses! EPA Still Thinks that the MATS Rule Is a Good Idea

Last week, EPA issued its “Supplemental Finding”, confirming that it still believes that its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are “appropriate and necessary.” I don’t have much to add to our post at the time of the proposed...more

4/21/2016 - Chevron Deference Clean Air Act EPA MATS Mercury

EPA Continues to Dismantle Clean Air Act Affirmative Defenses — Blame It On the Judge(s)

On Wednesday, EPA published certain amendments to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in the Federal Register. EPA describes most of the changes as “technical corrections,” but there is one important substantive change. ...more

4/8/2016 - Affirmative Defenses Air Pollution Clean Air Act EPA MATS NRDC

CSAPR > BART: The Eighth Circuit Affirms Minnesota’s Regional Haze Plan

Environmental lawyers live for acronyms. Why is CSAPR > BART? Because EPA determined that, on net, EPA’s Transport Rule is “better than BART,” meaning that compliance with the Transport Rule yields greater progress towards...more

3/17/2016 - Arbitrary and Capricious Clean Air Act EPA Standard of Review

EPA’s Charles River Two-Step

At least since the Standells’ Dirty Water in 1966, cleaning up the Charles River has been on the mind of Bostonians (and Cantabrigians and those farther upriver). Notwithstanding significant recent progress, there remains...more

3/1/2016 - Clean-Up Costs EPA Municipalities Storm Sewers Storm Water Stormwater Discharge Permits

NSR Enforcement Staggers On: A Split Decision in Missouri

Given EPA’s recent run of defeats in its NSR enforcement initiative, it’s probably breathing a sigh of relief over last week’s decision in United States v. Ameren Missouri, regarding Ameren’s Rush Island coal-fired power...more

2/29/2016 - Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Coal-Fired Plants EPA NSR Operational Permits Power Plants Summary Judgment

In Cooperative Federalism, Who Gets Deference, EPA or the States? Can you say “Federal Supremacy”?

Earlier this week, the 9th Circuit denied Arizona’s challenge to EPA’s decision to reject Arizona’s SIP addressing regional haze requirements and instead promulgate its own federal implementation plan. The decision has a...more

2/26/2016 - Arbitrary and Capricious Chevron Deference Clean Air Act EPA Federal Implementation Plans (FIP) Judicial Review SIP Standard of Review Supremacy Clause

Stop the Presses. Superfund is Stupid.

I know that pointing out CERCLA’s stupidity has something of a dog bites man quality, but sometimes Superfund’s stupidity bears repeating. Today’s exhibit? New York v. Next Millenium Realty, in which Judge Feuerstein held –...more

2/12/2016 - CERCLA Contaminated Properties Environmental Litigation EPA Statute of Limitations Superfund

EPA and DOJ Cannot Sugarcoat This: SCOTUS Stays the Clean Power Plan

On February 9, 2016, the Supreme Court stayed EPA’s Clean Power Plan rule. No matter how much EPA and DOJ proclaim that this says nothing about the ultimate results on the merits, the CPP is on very shaky ground at this...more

2/10/2016 - Clean Power Plan DOJ EPA Judicial Review Order to Stay SCOTUS

Prognosticating the Ozone Standard Litigation: EPA to Win, Environmental Petitioners to Place, Murray Energy to Show

Last week, the “Public Health and Environmental Petitioners” challenging EPA’s decision not to reduce the ozone standard below 0.070 ppm filed their “Non-Binding Statement of Issues.” My crystal ball still tells me that the...more

2/1/2016 - Environmental Litigation EPA Final Rules Ozone Public Health

Does the Paris Agreement Provide EPA With Authority Under the CAA To Impose EconomyWide GHG Controls? Count Me Skeptical

In a very interesting article, Michael Burger of the Sabin Center and his co-authors suggest that, following the Paris climate agreement, § 115 of the Clean Air Act provides authority for EPA to develop economy-wide GHG...more

1/21/2016 - Administrative Authority Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Climate Change EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Paris Agreement Reciprocity Rules

Courts Must Determine The Economic Benefit Of Noncompliance In Assessing CWA Penalties

It is well-known that the “economic benefit of noncompliance” is one of the factors to be evaluated in setting penalties under the Clean Water Act. Thus, it is not surprising that, after an oil spill at Citgo’s facility in...more

1/5/2016 - Administrative Monetary Penalties Appeals Citgo Clean Water Act EPA Oil Spills

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