Environmental Updates

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Environmental issues written by leading professionals.
News & Analysis as of

SunEdison: A Cautionary Tale?

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stuart Bernstein recently approved SunEdison’s proposed sale of $144 million of solar and wind assets to NRG Energy. The sale continues SunEd’s string of dispositions this year following its April...more

Smart Document Control: Know When To Hold ‘Em, Know When To Fold ‘Em

In many ways a smart document control policy is like the lyrics in a Kenny Rogers song: “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.” Almost all environmental statutes and regulations require that certain...more

Virginia DEQ Proposes to Amend its Enforcement Manual

Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) plans to amend key portions of its enforcement manual (the “Manual”). The Manual details key enforcement policies of the agency and is used by DEQ to guide almost every...more

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. Maine May Privatize Welfare Program Maine’s ASPIRE program, currently run by the state’s...more

California Supreme Court Rejects "New Project" Test In High Profile CEQA Suit

“Enough already!” Reading between the lines, this is what a seemingly exasperated California Supreme Court appears to be saying in its latest California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) decision?Friends of the College of...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service Revise Endangered Species Act Petition Process

On September 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Agencies) published a final rule that revises the regulations governing the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) petition process. ...more

RGGI Is a Success Story. When Will It Be Obsolete?

When RGGI was first implemented, I heard Ian Bowles, then Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs in Massachusetts, say more than once that the purpose of RGGI wasn’t really to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or jump...more

Agencies Chart the Future of US Offshore Wind Development

The US Department of Energy (DOE) and US Department of the Interior (DOI) recently announced an updated national strategy to facilitate the responsible development of offshore wind energy in the United States, with a goal of...more

CEMEX Settlement Bolsters EPA Air Enforcement Initiative

Earlier this year, EPA announced revised National Enforcement Initiatives (“NEIs”) beginning October 1, 2016 for fiscal years 2017-2019. Among other areas of concentration, EPA’s NEIs include the expansion of a previous air...more

My Project Changed—Is My EIR Still Valid: A New California Supreme Court Case Provides Guidance

Change is inevitable. Many times between project approval and project construction fluctuations in market conditions, financing terms or other factors mandate project changes. Do the changes require a further or modified...more

2016 Chemical Data Reporting submission extended

On September 16, 2016, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention extended the Chemical Data Reporting 2016 submission deadline from September 30, 2016 to October 31, 2016. ...more

California Supreme Court Rejects "New Project" Test for Modifications to Previously Approved Projects

On September 19, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo Community College District (Case No. S214061). The Supreme Court held that...more

“New and Improved” is Not Always a Good Slogan Under CEQA

Marketing departments in major corporations love to describe products as “new and improved” in order to convince you that the product is something you need. In many cases though, you already have the product; the new and...more

Comments Due November 1, 2016 on Proposed Update to Framework for Biotechnology Regulation

On September 18, 2016, the Obama Administration issued two major documents in connection with its ongoing efforts to modernize the federal Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology. The first document, a...more

WARNING: California’s Proposition 65 Warning Requirements are Changing

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) recently finalized substantial amendments to the regulations governing the provision of warnings required by “Proposition 65” (a/k/a the “Safe Drinking...more

EPA’s Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Pose Challenges for Industry, Particularly Importers

Importers, retailers, and others that sell goods containing plywood or other composite wood products face significant compliance challenges from EPA’s new Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products (the Standards)....more

CEQA Allows Developers to Recover Administrative Record Costs when Reimbursing Agency

Appellate Victory for Developers and Public Agencies - A developer can recover the cost of preparing a California Environmental Quality Act administrative record, even when the lead agency, not the developer, actually...more

Supreme Court Addresses CEQA Subsequent Review Rules in San Mateo Gardens Case

The California Supreme Court provided needed clarification to some aspects of the operation of CEQA’s “subsequent review” rules (Pub. Resources Code, § 21166; CEQA Guidelines, § 15162) in its highly anticipated opinion, filed...more

Proposition 65: OEHHA Adopts Revisions to Its Proposition 65 Warning Regulations

On August 28, 2016, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) adopted revisions to its Proposition 65 (Prop 65) Article 6 regulations covering "clear and reasonable warnings"...more

EPA IG's Concerns About Oversight of Hospital Disinfectants Reinforces Need for Robust Infection Control Programs

On September 19, 2016, the Inspector General (IG) for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the latest in a long line of reports identifying flaws in EPA’s process for ensuring the efficacy of hospital-grade,...more

Prop. 65 Conference Focuses on Compliance With New Warning and Settlement Regulations

The Prop. 65 Clearinghouse held its annual conference in San Francisco recently, and the speakers and panelists had a number of recommendations for both retailers and manufacturers following the adoption of Proposition 65’s...more

BLM Moves Forward with Phase I of Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) has now been approved, paving the way for streamlined permitting and environmental review of qualified renewable energy projects on Bureau of Land Management...more

EPA Issues Strategy to Address the Mismatch Between the Federal Hazardous Waste Rules and the Retail Sector

On September 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA” or the “Agency”) issued a strategy for addressing growing concerns about the application of the federal hazardous waste regulations under the Resource...more

Corporate Social Responsibility and Compliance: Commitment at the Top

This is the fifth in a series of posts reflecting excerpts from a chapter that I authored on corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) for the Corporate Legal Compliance Handbook. Integrating CSR into the framework of a...more

Merging Companies Tesla and SolarCity Among Entities Advocating Wider Role for Electric Storage Resources in RTO and ISO Markets

In early August, Tesla Motors Inc., a manufacturer of advanced electric vehicles and battery energy storage systems, announced a deal to buy SolarCity Corporation, a developer of distributed energy resources, particularly...more

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