Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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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 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

EPA Does Not Have a Nondiscretionary Duty to Revise PSD Regulations When It Amends a NAAQS

On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that EPA does not have an obligation to amend PSD regulations for a criteria pollutant within two years of revising the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for that...more

12/4/2014 - Appeals Clean Air Act EPA NAAQS PSD

EPA Finally Proposes a Revised Ozone Standard, Sort Of

Yesterday, EPA finally proposed a revised ambient air quality standard for ozone – except that the agency is still hedging its bets. The Clean Air Science Advisory Committee had previously supported a revised ozone NAAQS of...more

12/1/2014 - Air Quality Standards Energy Policy EPA

Superfund Rant For a New Congress

So the new Congress will be controlled by the GOP. The House and Senate will consider various bills to reign in EPA authority. Here’s one relatively modest suggestion for congressional consideration: amend CERCLA to limit...more

11/12/2014 - CERCLA Environmental Policies EPA Superfund

Regulation of GHG Emissions Becomes Real: Hyundai and Kia Settle For $350 Million

If readers have been wondering when GHG regulation would truly feel real, EPA may have delivered the answer yesterday, with its announcement of a $350 million settlement with Hyundai and Kia over allegations of violations of...more

11/5/2014 - Auto Manufacturers Automotive Industry EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hyundai Kia Settlement

EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Potentially New and Improved?

On Tuesday, EPA issued a Notice of Data Availability, requesting further comment on some specific issues that have been raised since it published its draft Clean Power Plan in June. My immediate reaction? My head hurts....more

10/30/2014 - Clean Power Plan Coal Industry Energy Efficiency Energy Policy EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Natural Gas Oil & Gas Renewable Energy

News Flash: Cap-and-Trade Remains the Most Efficient Way to Reduce Emissions

Notwithstanding Congressional gridlock on climate change legislation, cap-and-trade remains the tried and true efficient method for reducing air emissions. Although the acid rain provisions of the Clean Air Act are the most...more

10/23/2014 - Appeals Cap-and-Trade Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Climate Change Energy Energy Policy EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions

More Sauce For Standing the Goose: Industry Associations Cannot Challenge EPA’s E15 Rule

I have previously noted that standing is a double-edged sword. Most commonly, the regulated community uses standing to keep citizen plaintiffs out of court. However, as the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals demonstrated...more

10/22/2014 - E15 Blend Environmental Policies EPA Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Standing

UCS Says to Add More Renewables to the Clean Power Plan; If It’s Better, Does that Make It Best?

The Union of Concerned Scientists today announced release of a report which attempts to document that the renewable energy “building block” in EPA’s Clean Power Plan is not sufficiently aggressive. The report argues that,...more

10/15/2014 - Clean Power Plan EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Information Reports Renewable Energy

What a Shock?! Nebraska’s Early Challenge to EPA’s Clean Power Plan Is Dismissed

Opponents of EPA’s Clean Power Plan have not been willing to wait until a final rule has been promulgated before challenging EPA’s authority. On Monday, Nebraska’s challenged was dismissed – not surprisingly – as premature....more

10/9/2014 - Clean Air Act Clean Power Plan Energy Policy Act EPA Federal Funding Technology

EPA Really Does Have Authority To Withdraw Specifications Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act

Last year, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that EPA has authority to withdraw its approval for the specification of sites for the disposal of fill material, even after the Army Corps has issued a permit for the...more

10/3/2014 - Appeals Clean Water Act EPA Industrial Discharges Mining Section 404 US Army Corps of Engineers

The Atmosphere Is a Public Trust. So What?

The last frontier of citizen climate litigation has been state-based litigation alleging that states have a public trust obligation to mitigate climate change. As I have previously noted, I’m skeptical that these cases are...more

10/2/2014 - Climate Change Environmental Policies EPA Public Trust Doctrine

The SAB Enters the “Waters of the United States” Fray: Guess Which Side the Scientists Support

The Science Advisory Board has now provided its advice to EPA and the ACOE concerning their proposed rule clarifying the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. In a brief letter that can only...more

9/23/2014 - Clean Water Act EPA Farm Bureau Science Advisory Board US Army Corps of Engineers Waters of the United States

EPA Proposes to Eliminate Affirmative Defenses for Excess Emissions During Startups, Shutdowns, or Malfunctions — Get Ready for...

This past April, the D.C. Circuit struck down the part of EPA’s cement kiln rule that would have provided an affirmative defense to civil penalties for excess emissions resulting from unavoidable malfunctions. As we noted at...more

9/10/2014 - Affirmative Defenses Carbon Emissions Environmental Policies EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions

How Low Will They Go? A Lower Ozone NAAQS Begins to Have An Air of Inevitability

On Friday, EPA released its “Policy Assessment for the Review of the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.” EPA staff concluded: that it is appropriate in this review to consider a revised primary O3 standard level...more

9/4/2014 - Air Quality Standards EPA NAAQS

You Can’t Estop the Government — Even When It Wants to Be Estopped

Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that arguably explains everything from why the Tea Party exists to why otherwise calm and sane executives suddenly lose all their hair. Perhaps most astounding,...more

8/22/2014 - Clean Air Act Environmental Policies EPA NAAQS Power Plants

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