Environmental Updates

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Bright Days for Large Scale Solar Operators; Sunstroke for the Smaller Players: Latest News on CfDs

National Grid has made its decisions as to eligibility for participation in the first Contracts for Difference auction but the auction process itself has been delayed as some applicants have asked Ofgem to review National...more

New Year, New NEPA Guidance: CEQ Takes on GHGs

At the conclusion of 2014, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released revised draft guidance for federal agencies evaluating the effects of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change as part of an...more

ANWR News: The Fine Print of President Obama’s Executive Action to Create Over 12 Million Acres of Wilderness

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is administratively implementing President Obama’s recommendation that certain lands in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska be designated as wilderness. FWS...more

Even Further Down the Rabbit Hole: New EU Legislation Adds to GMO Quagmire

A vote by European Union (EU) lawmakers in mid-January gave individual governments within the 28-nation bloc the authority to decide whether genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be grown and cultivated within their...more

Federal offshore wind auction held for sites off Massachusetts

Federal ocean energy managers have concluded an auction to lease over 350,000 acres off the Massachusetts coast to prepare for offshore wind development. Of the four parcels up for bid in today's auction, one was...more

Oil Production and Storage Facilities Must Maintain Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans

Small oil production and storage facilities often overlook their obligations to develop and implement oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans. These requirements have been issued by the USEPA under the...more

New Jersey Supreme Court: No Statute of Limitations for Private Claims for Contribution Under NJ Spill Act

Following principles of strict statutory construction and refusing to “unsettle a decades-long understanding in this State,” on January 26, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that there is no statute of...more

2014: natural gas, wind, solar led new projects

Natural gas, wind, and solar power projects dominated the rankings of new U.S. electric generation placed in service in 2014. According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff's December 2014 Energy...more

Illinois Pledges up to $30 Million for Solar Renewable Energy Credits

In 2014, the State of Illinois adopted its first solar renewable energy credit (SREC) program, establishing a “one-time supplemental procurement plan” (Procurement Plan) for SRECs. The Procurement Plan promotes solar...more

Obama Administration Anticipates Movement in Doomsday Clock

Last week the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) moved the minute hand on the Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight. Advancement of the clock hand symbolizes experts’ concerns on the threat of global catastrophe....more

NGOs Comment on EC's Working Conclusions Concerning Transparency Measures for Nanomaterials on the Market

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) posted on January 13, 2015, a paper entitled “NGO comments on Transparency measures for nanomaterials on the market: Working conclusions.” EEB, the Center for International...more

Case Could Alter the Reach of the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. District Court for the District of Utah attracted national attention with its November decision in People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in which it ruled...more

Energy & Environmental Update - January 2015 #3

In This Issue: - Energy and Climate - Congress - Administration - Department of Commerce - Department of Energy - Department of Interior - Environmental Protection...more

Recent Cases on Clean Air Act Preemption of Common Law Torts Upend Conventional Wisdom

Two recent appellate-level decisions allowing state common law tort claims against an intrastate emitting source to avoid Clean Air Act (CAA) preemption have surprised many CAA litigators. The outcome in both Bell v....more

Federal Judge Rules that State and Federal Law Preempts New Mexico’s Fracking Ban

On January 20, 2015 a U.S. District Judge overturned New Mexico’s ban on hydrocarbon extraction, which included a prohibition on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the state. (SWEPI, LP v. Mora County et al., Case No....more

Finding Fault with Fracking – Lawsuits and Earthquakes

Lisa Frick, our fictional Denton resident, who collected anti-fracking ordinance signatures to put on the Denton City Ballot now complains that fracking near old Texas Stadium caused earthquakes that harmed her twin sister...more

EU Agrees to Proposed List of Pesticides to be Identified as Candidates for Substitution

On January 27, 2015, the European Union (EU) Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed agreed to a proposed list of 77 pesticide active substances to be classified as Candidates for Substitution (CFS). ...more

New Jersey High Court Rejects Application of Six-Year Statute of Limitations to Spill Act Private Contribution Claims for...

In Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co., the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a six-year statute of limitations does not apply to private claims for contribution of costs incurred to remediate contaminated...more

Supreme People’s Court Issues Judicial Interpretation Addressing Environmental Civil Public Interest Litigation

On January 6, 2015, China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) issued a judicial interpretation on environmental civil public interest litigation, effective January 7, 2015....more

Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation: District Court Finds Expert Proof Insufficient to Prove Causation (1/15)

Causation is often the biggest hurdle a plaintiff must clear in proving a toxic tort case. For that reason, it would be expedient if a plaintiff could get to trial on the issue of causation merely by showing that...more

NMFS Issues New BiOp for Pesticide Effects on Pacific Salmon, but the Methodology Used and Mitigation Proposed Remain...

On January 20, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued its latest Biological Opinion (BiOp) in a series of BiOps evaluating potential effects of pesticide use on salmon in the Pacific Northwest....more

California Supreme Court To Resolve Appellate Court Split on Federal Preemption in Railroad Regulation

On December 10, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted petition for review in Friends of the Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority to resolve a split between the First and Third District Courts of Appeal. (230...more

General Permits Are Also Entitled to a Permit Shield

On Tuesday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the “permit shield” provisions of the Clean Water Act protected ICG hazard from Sierra Club claims that effluent from ICG Hazard’s Thunder Ridge mine caused exceedances...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court's misapplication of the pollution exclusion and disregard for policyholders' business and purpose in...

Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued two opinions in which it held that pollution exclusions barred coverage for third-party claims resulting from alleged contamination of water due to the seepage of cow manure and...more

FERC and EPA's Clean Power Plan

Following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2014 proposal to regulate carbon emissions from electric power plants and other major sources, federal energy regulators have scheduled a series of public technical...more

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