National Environmental Policy Act

News & Analysis as of

Managing Water Releases From Dams to Protect Fish: A Tale of Good Legislation and Bad Engineering

Earlier this week, the 9th Circuit found that the Bureau of Reclamation had authority under 1955 legislation to order additional releases of water to the Trinity River from the Lewiston Dam beyond the amount designated in an...more

Wrap-Up of Federal and State Chemical Regulatory Developments, February 2017

TSCA/FIFRA/NTP - EPA Proposes Regulation Of TCE Use In Vapor Degreasing Under TSCA Section 6(a): On January 19, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule under Section 6(a) of the...more

Fifth Circuit Rejects Petition For Banc Rehearing In ESA Case Markel Interests, LLC v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

On February 13, a sharply divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit , by a vote of 8 to 6, rejected a petition seeking an en banc rehearing of the court’s initial decision in the case of Markel Interests, LLC, et...more

What’s Old Is New Again: Expedited Review of Energy Infrastructure Projects Under Trump’s Executive Order

While the two Presidential Memoranda expediting review and approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines grabbed much recent attention, an Executive Order issued the same day could have a broader impact by...more

Buckle-Up, Uncertainty Paves a Bumpy Road Ahead: Environmental Regulation Under the Trump Administration

Sutherland attorneys are closely watching the developments concerning changes to environmental regulation under President Trump. This article begins a series of communications with our clients on developments of particular...more

DOI Releases Scoping Report on Coal Leasing Reforms

On January 11, 2017, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) within the Department of the Interior released a scoping report analyzing a wide range of proposed reforms to the federal coal leasing program, administered by the BLM....more

Important news for mining companies with existing or future projects in the California desert

BLM releases maps showing 1.3 million acres of proposed mining withdrawal - On January 13, 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) released maps showing the areas that BLM, on December 28, 2016, proposed to...more

Clean Water Act Nationwide Permits Reissued: Permit Streamlining Remains Intact

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) on Jan. 6, 2017, published a final rule reissuing its Clean Water Act Nationwide Permits (NWPs) with some modifications (88 Fed. Reg. 1860). The NWP program authorizes streamlined...more

Utility-Scale Battery Storage Systems: Legal Issues and Opportunities

Federal and state government mandates and incentives, combined with technological advances, have dramatically increased renewable energy sources during the past decade. Variable renewable energy sources such as solar and wind...more

California Sues Federal Government Alleging Inadequate Environmental Review of Offshore Drilling Proposal

In one of her last major legal actions before leaving office as California’s Attorney General, Kamala Harris, along with the California Coastal Commission (jointly the “Attorney General”), filed suit against various federal...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Revamp of Eagle Permit Rule: What You Need to Know

On December 16, 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule (Final Rule) revising its 2009 regulations establishing requirements for issuance of permits for “non-purposeful take” of bald and...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Final Revised Eagle Rule

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published notice in the Federal Register of a long-anticipated final rule revising its eagle permitting regulations (Revised Eagle Rule). Concurrent with the Revised Eagle...more

District Court’s NEPA Judgment Vacated In Case Rendered Moot

On December 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decided the case of Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, et al., v. North Carolina Department of Transportation, et al. The Fourth Circuit concluded that, “[b]ecause...more

Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act — Highlights

Below is a snapshot of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act water-300x200(S. 612) passed late last week by the Congress. The President has indicated that he will sign the bill. Title I of the Act is...more

Forecast for Energy and Environment Regulations

President-Elect Donald Trump has promised to bring back jobs in the coal industry and reduce regulations that could inhibit economic growth. His transition team has already begun arriving at federal agencies to review the...more

9th Circuit Rejects NEPA Challenges To Planned 1.9-Mile Underground Light Rail Extension Project in Downtown LA

On December 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in the case of Japanese Village, LLC v. Federal Transit Administration, et al., affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgement to the government...more

Securing Rights-of-Way to CO2 Pipeline Corridors in the United States

In the previous article in this series The Future of Carbon Dioxide Injection EOR in the United States, we discussed the sources and cost of CO2 supply for enhanced oil recovery (“EOR”) in the United States and the benefits...more

Dakota Access Pipeline: Down but Not Out

On Dec. 4, 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not decide on Dakota Access LLC’s easement application until the Corps prepares an environmental impact statement. The decision is significant in that...more

FERC Rejects Sierra Club’s Request for Rehearing and Green Lights $3.5B LNG Export Facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana

On November 23, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) confirmed its authorization of the construction of a $3.5 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana and rejected the...more

Environmental Groups Sue Federal Agencies Again in Unending Legal Battle Over Offshore Oil Development

On November 11, 2016, the Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”) and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper jointly filed suit against several federal agencies including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and...more

TVA’s Tree-Cutting Policy Gets the Axe

On November 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided the case of Sherwood, et al. v. Tennessee Valley Authority. The Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s ruling that a complaint filed by many...more

The Department of Energy’s Simplified IIP Process Goes Into Effect in November

On November 28, 2016, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) simplified Integrated Interagency Pre-Application (IIP) Process will go into effect. The IIP is a voluntary, pre-application process intended to streamline and...more

Infrastructure Gets Top Billing from President-Elect Trump

President-Elect Trump’s election night statement specifically called out infrastructure, above all other domestic policy concerns, as a focus of his new Administration. Despite some initial rumblings from the conservative...more

Trump’s Impact on Environmental Law? Let the Speculation Begin!

What will a Trump Presidency mean for environmental law? I’m not sure my crystal ball if better than anyone else’s, but here are a few quick thoughts...more

North Carolina Federal Court Gives Go Ahead for Shooting Range on Public Land

The U. S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina recently upheld approval by the U.S. Forest Service (“USFS”) of a recreational shooting range in North Carolina’s Nantahala National Forest. The case is...more

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