Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use Energy & Utilities

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OPR Releases Preliminary Discussion Draft of CEQA Guidelines Amendments for Public Comments

On August 11, 2015, the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released a Preliminary Discussion Draft of Changes to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines (Preliminary Discussion Draft). The OPR...more

U.S. EPA Proposes Methane Limits for Oil and Gas Industry

On August 18, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rules to limit emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), from certain new and modified facilities in the oil and natural gas industry. The...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - August 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus: Clean Water Act rule faces challenges from both sides - Courthouse News Service - Aug 18: A widely publicized new rule clarifying the definition of ’waters of the United States’ under the...more

Six Things the Private Sector Should Know About EPA's Final Vapor Intrusion Guidance

The cumulative impact of the EPA guidance is to require the generation of more data, which means more sampling and analysis, more frequent and stringent remediation, and potentially higher remediation costs. At long...more

EPA Launches Proposed Measures to Cut Methane and VOC Emissions from Oil & Gas Industry: Agency Clarifies Permitting Requirements...

Draft New Source Performance Standards to Reduce Methane and VOC Emissions - The oil and gas sector is the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) latest target regarding the reduction of GHG emissions. The White House...more

Northern Pass proposes new transmission plan

The developer of a proposed $1.4 billion electric transmission line connecting Quebec to New Hampshire has released a revised route for the project, following public opposition to earlier plans. The new vision for the...more

From Playa Lakes To Prairie Potholes: Four Things Energy Companies Need to Know About the WOTUS Rule

Have one or several playa lakes on or near a well pad in the Permian Basin? An access road nearby an ephemeral tributary of the Green River in the Uintah Basin? A pipeline that traverses lands dotted with prairie potholes in...more

EPA Proposes New Clean Air Act Standards for Methane and VOC Emissions by the Oil and Natural Gas Sector

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has released the text of a draft proposed rule that seeks to amend the new source performance standards (“NSPS”) addressing methane and volatile organic compounds (“VOC”) from...more

Obama’s Climate Action Plan: Next Step, Landfill Methane

Having gotten the Clean Power Plan out the door, EPA has moved on to another target of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan: landfill methane emissions. Late last week, EPA proposed both new emission guidelines for...more

EPA Proposal Limits Methane, Other Emissions in Oil, Natural Gas Sector

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released proposed regulations that would set performance standards for emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from new and modified sources in the...more

Federal District Court Strikes Down Eagle Act Rule

On August 11, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California struck down the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s so-called “30-Year Rule,” which had extended from 5 years to 30 years the duration of...more

Wrap-Up of Federal and State Chemical Regulatory Developments, August 2015

EPA Issues Direct Final Rule On Significant New Use Notification Electronic Reporting: On July 20, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a direct final rule amending the Toxic Substances Control Act...more

EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Structure, Implications for the Grid, and Next Steps

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Clean Power Plan (Plan) in its final form on August 3, 2015. The rule reshapes energy policy nationwide by setting state-by-state greenhouse gas emissions...more

Windfarm Industry Suffers Setback as Court Rejects 30 Year Eagle Permit Rule

On August 11, 2015, a district court in Silicon Valley remanded a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule issued in 2013 that had extended the potential term of incidental take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle...more

Avoiding NEPA – Even for “Worthy Goals” – Is Never Advisable

From the very first day of my legal career, clients have asked me some variation of this question: “Why can’t we just prepare a shorter Environmental Assessment (EA) or even issue a Categorical Exclusion (no analysis at all)...more

Court Strikes Down FWS Rule for 30-Year Eagle Incidental Take Permits

In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) issued a rule increasing the maximum duration from five to 30 years of programmatic permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to “take” bald or golden eagles...more

EPA Issues a Draft Methane Challenge Reduction Program for the Oil and Gas Sector

Comments on Program Due September 1 - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a voluntary Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program, through which oil and natural gas companies can make and track...more

EPA Finalizes Significant Changes to the Clean Power Plan

On August 3, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration’s landmark effort to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants...more

Proposed Policies for Implementing B.C.’s New Water Sustainability Act Available for Comment

On July 30, 2015, the British Columbia government released four discussion papers for public comment outlining proposed new policies for regulations under the Water Sustainability Act. These papers are important as much of...more

Supreme Court Tells EPA Cost Does Matter

The Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) placed national limits on mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants. The agency projected MATS to prevent 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700...more

Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges – Newly Issued and Newly Challenged

U.S. EPA issued a new Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Industrial Activities on June 4, 2015, replacing the 2008 general permit, which expired in September 2013 and had been administratively...more

Obama Announces Clean Power Plan, Fights to Follow

On August 3, 2015, President Obama announced the finalization of the long-awaited Clean Power Plan, a policy primarily intended to further the commitment to combatting global warming. The Plan focuses on the electric power...more

Feinstein Introduces the California Emergency Drought Relief Act

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced a bill last week to help address ongoing and future drought in California. The bill, known as the California Emergency Drought Relief Act (Act), is expected to be folded into broader...more

President Obama Implements Sweeping New Rules to Control Climate Change

On August 3, 2015, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) utilized executive action to call for a major societal shift on climate change policy. The new rules, dubbed the Clean Power Plan, are intended...more

CPP Sets First National Standards Limiting Power Plants' Carbon Pollution

President Obama unveiled the final Clean Power Plan (CPP) rule on Aug. 3, 2015, which sets forth a historic and ambitious regulation for cutting greenhouse-gas pollution. The CPP establishes the first-ever national standards...more

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