Environmental Energy & Utilities Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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EPA Methane Rules Are Coming

“Remember, I can do anything to anybody”, deranged and murderous Roman emperor Caligula to his grandmother (Julia, widow of Tiberius and herself no stranger to things done to other people as and when they pleased)....more

FERC staff recommends against Bear River dam

Staff of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have recommended against licensing a dam, reservoir, and hydropower project proposed for the Bear River near Preston, Idaho. The case involves a 2013 application by...more

Can Solar Reboot Your Coal-Fired Plant Site?

The future of coal-fired plants is not bright. With regulations weighing on them, many plant operators are powering down and asking themselves what’s next for their sites. Solar offers viable options for reusing a plant site....more

Coming Soon To A Roof Near You: Solar Panels (At Least If You Live in SF)

This week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors enacted an ordinance that will require that the developers of all new buildings of 10 floors or less that apply for building permits after January 1, 2017 install solar PV or...more

New Laws Reform California’s Surface Mining and Reclamation Act

True to his word, Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills, AB 1142 and SB 209, into law on Monday to reform California’s Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA). Now, before getting too excited, keep in mind that the new...more

Sustainable Development Update - April 2016

Sustainable Development Focus - Green Buildings are good for the environment, occupants, and the bottom line - CBRE - Apr 14 - Green buildings are good for the environment—that is well known. But what benefits...more

Court Holds that the Bureau of Indian Affairs is Not Obligated to Ensure Migratory Bird Treaty Act or Bald and Golden Eagle...

On March 29, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted summary judgment in favor of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) in a lawsuit involving the grant of a lease to Tule Wind, LLC for...more

Federal dams and preliminary permits

U.S. federal entities own dams with untapped hydropower potential that could be developed by private parties -- but a recent regulatory decision highlights the difficulty of winning key approvals when the federal dam owner...more

Renewable Energy Projects Are Making Impacts in Several Ways – – Nationally and Worldwide

Renewable energy investments (primarily solar and wind generation) set a record in 2015 with a collective investment of $286 billion. This according to a report from the United Nations Environment Progamme. (Climate Central...more

What is President H.R. Clinton’s Energy Policy?

Even as the number of 2016 presidential candidates in both parties has dwindled, the media -- particularly television news -- has yet to focus on an in-depth discussion of the candidates’ policy proposals. While it was...more

Colorado House Votes Down Bill Giving Local Authorities Power Over Fracking

Two Democrats joined the Republicans in the Colorado House of Representatives on April 4, 2016, to defeat a bill that sought to assert local government control over oil and gas drilling. Drilling operations in Colorado have...more

EPA Proposes Significant Expansions of Its Risk Management/Accidental Release Prevention Program

On March 14, 2016, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published proposed revisionsto the Risk Management Program (RMP) (also known as Accidental Release Prevention) rule at 40 CFR Part 68, under Section 112(r) of the...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - April 2016

Environmental and Policy Focus - Justices suggest support for landowners in wetlands case - Bloomberg - Mar 30 - U.S. Supreme Court justices across the ideological spectrum signaled in oral argument this week...more

Utah conduit hydropower project qualifies

Federal energy regulators have issued a letter determining that a proposed Utah hydropower project meets criteria for development without needing a hydropower license. Castle Valley Special Service District's proposed Ferron...more

Gas Company May Challenge Local Ordinance Prohibiting Deposit of Flowback Water into Underground Injection Wells

A Federal Magistrate Judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that an oil and gas exploration company may challenge a township ordinance that makes it unlawful to deposit flowback water into underground injection wells within the...more

California floating offshore wind project proposed

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is moving toward the prospect of leasing sites for commercial wind energy development in federal waters offshore California. A January 2016 request by Trident Winds, LLC for a lease...more

West Branch storage project relicensed

Earlier this month U.S. hydropower regulators issued a new license for the West Branch Project, which includes water storage facilities on the West Branch of the St. Croix River in Maine. The Federal Energy Regulatory...more

Colorado conduit hydropower project

A proposed hydroelectric project in Colorado has received a federal determination that it qualifies as a "qualifying conduit hydroelectric facility" and thus is not required to be licensed under Part I of the Federal Power...more

Alaska tidal permit surrendered

Five years after applying for and receiving a preliminary permit to study a proposed Alaska tidal energy project, the project developer has surrendered that permit. At issue is ORPC Alaska 2, LLC's proposed East Foreland...more

Wisconsin municipal hydro project license extended

Federal energy regulators have granted a Wisconsin city's request to extend its hydropower project license for five years to allow time for comprehensive river corridor planning. The March 17 order was the result of a...more

FERC rules off-grid micro-hydro needs no license

Federal hydropower regulators have granted reconsideration of a 2015 order finding licensing required for an off-grid micro-hydropower project proposed in Massachusetts. Based on newly submitted evidence that the proposed...more

NY offshore wind zone announced

U.S. ocean energy regulators are advancing plans to lease sites off New York for potential commercial wind energy development. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's designation of a Wind Energy Area could...more

Estimating Upstream GHG Emissions

On Saturday, March 19, 2015, the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada (“ECCC“) published its proposed methodology for estimating the upstream greenhouse gas (“GHG“) emissions associated with “major oil and gas...more

Washington tidal power license surrendered

U.S. hydropower regulators have accepted a Washington public utility district's application to surrender its license for an unconstructed tidal power project. Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington...more

Proposed Amendments to BLM’s Planning 2.0 Initiative Could Significantly Impact the Management of Public Lands

On February 25, 2016, the United States Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) published proposed amendments to its land use planning rules as a part of its “Planning 2.0” initiative that was launched in May 2015. The purpose of...more

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