Environmental Energy & Utilities Construction

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2014 Legislative Update: Environment, Growth Management and Water

CS/CS/CS/HB 325 amends statutory provisions relating to the brownfield program and modifies the procedures for establishing a brownfield area. The bill also authorizes the local government designating a brownfield area to use...more

Capital Thinking: Energy

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY - SENATE ENR COMMITTEE VOTES TO APPROVE FERC NOMINEES, KEYSTONE XL BILL - On Wednesday, June 18, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee held a business meeting in executive...more

Supreme Court Strikes Down Part of EPA Greenhouse Gas Permit Rule but Leaves the Rule Mostly Intact

In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency, acting under the Clean Air Act, required all new sources that would emit more than threshold quantities of “greenhouse gases” to get a preconstruction “prevention of significant...more

You Decide: Green Globes v. LEED

The U.S. General Services Administration recently added Green Globes as an additional third-party green building certification system for federal government construction projects. With this addition, many are now asking about...more

Innovation with Clean Diesel Construction

When I hear that a real estate project is faced with environmental issues, the first thought that comes to mind is not one of compromise and collaboration. Instead I imagine pitchfork yielding activists, greedy developers and...more

Renewable Energy Update -- May 2014

Renewable Energy Focus: California’s net zero energy building to reshape U.S. construction industry - Alternative Energy News - Apr 15: California’s recent revisions to Title 24 put in place ambitious performance...more

IRS Will Issue Further PTC Start of Construction Guidance

On Friday, Christopher Kelley of the Treasury Office of Tax Legislative Counsel announced that the IRS would be issuing additional guidance to determine whether projects started construction in 2013 as is necessary to be...more

NREL Analyzes Production Tax Credit Extension Implications for U.S. Manufacturing

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which is a component of the U.S. Department of Energy, has published a report analyzing the implications of the extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for U.S....more

A Timely Reminder From the CSLB and a Funny Acronym to Boot

Growing up in Sacramento, California I remember it being so hot that you could feel your tennis shoes stick to the asphalt on the playground. As California enters it’s worst drought in 119 years concern over water has...more

Federal Agency Approvals Beyond the Scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

In the last month, two separate federal district courts have declined to extend the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 703-712 (MBTA), to federal agency approvals of projects that plaintiffs alleged could...more

Senate Finance Committee Passes Bill to Extend Certain Lapsed Tax Breaks

The Senate Finance Committee passed the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency Act (EXPIRE Act) on April 3, 2014. The legislation would renew through 2015 more than 50 tax incentives that either have lapsed or...more

City Fails to Adequately Mitigate "Urban Decay" and Energy Impacts of Big Box Retail Project

In the latest decision addressing challenges to "big box" projects under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"), on February 28, 2014, the California Court of Appeal invalidated the approval of a retail project in...more

EPA and the Army Corps Propose Rules Expanding Clean Water Act Jurisdiction, Potentially Affecting Everyone Who Uses Lands Where...

On March 25, 2014, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) jointly released a long-awaited proposed rulemaking that would redefine the scope of their shared jurisdiction...more

Wyden’s Extenders Bill Due March 31 - PTC Advocates Muster for the Fight

Senator Wyden (D-OR), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, stated that he will release his “extenders” bill on March 31 and that the included provisions will be renewed through the end of 2015. Senator Rockefeller...more

California’s New Building Energy Efficiency Standards to Go Into Effect July 1, 2014

California builders should be aware of a new set of energy efficiency standards set to go into effect on July 1, 2014. The California Energy Commission’s Energy Efficiency Standards (Standards) were promulgated in 1977 to...more

California High Speed Rail Authority Gains New Approvals to Move Project Forward: Eminent Domain Proceedings Commenced on Eight...

Despite recent obstacles, the California High Speed Rail Authority (the “Authority”) remains steadfast in its determination to complete the high-speed rail project (the “Project”), bolstered by recent approvals from various...more

SB 1270 Proposes Significant California Mining Reform

The recent submittal of significant proposed revisions to California's mining law, the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act ("SMARA"), signals potentially broad-reaching changes to the statute. On February 21, 2014, Senator...more

Environmental and Energy: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Issues Draft Environmental Monitoring Services...

On Wednesday, February 12, 2014, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a draft Commissioner Policy on Environmental Monitoring Services (the Policy). The proposed Policy updates DEC’s...more

Yes, Virginia, NSR Really is a Preconstruction Permitting Program: Another NSR Enforcement Case Fails on Statute of Limitations...

The trend of cases holding that the NSR provisions of the Clean Air Act constitute a one-time preconstruction review requirement got stronger earlier this month, as the decision in Sierra Club v. Oklahoma Gas and Electric...more

House Passes Energy Efficiency Bill

On March 5, 2014, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2126, the “Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014.” The bill was co-sponsored by Representatives David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.). The bill...more

The Construction Advantage – Issue 2

We hope you enjoy Bernstein Shur’s second edition of The Construction Advantage. This newsletter will provide you with insight into the current legal issues in construction, news and updates. Our goal is to provide practical...more

California Building Energy Efficiency Standards Delayed to July 1, 2014

The California Contractors State License Board (“CSLB”) has issued an Industry Bulletin providing further information regarding the delayed implementation of the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards which has been...more

Changes To California Title 24 Energy Use Requirements Effective July 1, 2014

On July 1, 2014, 2013 CALGreen, Part 11, Title 24, of the California Code of Regulations will go into effect. As a result, certain nonresidential additions and alterations will trigger compliance with more stringent...more

Governor's Budget Proposal Throws a Life Preserver to the High-Speed Rail Project

On the heels of Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenney’s decision halting an $8 billion bond sale for the construction of the California high-speed rail (“HSR”) project, Governor Jerry Brown has submitted a...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds BLM’s Environmental Assessment Allowing Expansion of the Reid Gardner Generating Station

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld summary judgment in favor of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding its assessment of the potential environmental impact of a proposed expansion of the Reid Gardner...more

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