News & Analysis as of

Clean Power Plan Formally Published – Full Steam Ahead for Challengers!

The U.S. EPA formally published the final version of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan on Friday, October 23, an action which starts a 60 day period within which to challenge the rule. On the same day, 26 challenges...more

EPA Clean Power Plan Could Give a Big Boost to Tribal Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Efforts

EPA Clean Power Plan Could Give a Big Boost to Tribal Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Efforts On August 3, the EPA released the final rule for the “Clean Power Plan.” Considerably different in many material ways...more

EPA Releases Revised Ozone NAAQS

On October 1, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a prepublication version of a final rule establishing a new National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone. The final rule lowers the primary and secondary...more

A Brief Rant on Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

On September 29, 2015, I posted about the 3rd Circuit’s decision to remand EPA’s approval of Pennsylvania’s regional haze SIP. Although I think that the decision was important and largely unobjectionable, it did get one...more

Record Review Means That EPA Must Refer To the Record: The Third Circuit Remands EPA’s Approval of the Pennsylvania Regional Haze...

On Tuesday, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals remanded EPA’s approval of Pennsylvania’s regional haze SIP. The decision is a must-read for practitioners. It decides some important issues and provides important reminders for...more

Pierce Atwood Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar (RCC)

NEW REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS - Federal - Final 2014 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan and 2014 Annual Effluent Guidelines Review Report EPA is announcing the availability of its Final 2014 Effluent Guidelines...more

Clean Power Plan Finalized by Obama Administration and EPA — What's Next?

On August 3, 2015, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new set of final regulations aimed at reducing carbon output from power plants. The sweeping new Clean Power Plan (CPP) sets limits...more

EPA Rejects Georgia SIP’s Automatic Rescission Powers

Rarely does EPA propose to reject state regulations during review and approval of a State Implementation Plan (SIP) under the Clean Air Act. However, EPA did just that for the Georgia SIP which automatically rescinded...more

EPA nixes state exemptions on excess CAA emissions

Affirmative defenses commonly relied upon by facility operators to avoid civil and administrative penalties for violations of air emissions limitations during periods of facility startup, shutdown or malfunction (“SSM”) may...more

EPA Issues SIP Call to Eliminate SSM Defense

EPA has issued a final rule that requires 36 states to revise their State Implementation Plans to eliminate a well-known and often-used Clean Air Act defense for excess emissions. While specific elements of the defense...more

Nothing but Nonsense in New EPA Rule on Emissions

In response to a petition for final rule-making filed by the Sierra Club, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued on May 22, 2015, its final action requiring 36 states to revise their state implementation plans...more

Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction — No Longer Any Automatic Exemptions or Affirmative Defenses

Last week, EPA finally responded to the Sierra Club’s petition requesting that it eliminate exemptions and defenses for excess emissions resulting from startup, shutdown, or malfunction events. EPA concluded that it needed to...more

EPA Requires States to Revise and Tighten Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction Regulations

Action Item: In response to pressure from environmental groups, EPA has removed Clean Air Act affirmative defenses previously available to the regulated community for startups, shutdowns, or malfunctions (SSM Rule). The...more

EPA’s Final Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction (“SSM”) Rule: The Emperor’s New Clothes, Part II

The Final EPA Rule under the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) emissions standards for the Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction (“SSM”) Rule is out. EPA issued the Final Rule on May 22, 2015 and it’s even worse than when proposed. I...more

Half a Loaf May Not Be Too Bad: The 9th Circuit Affirms Most of EPA’s Approval of the San Joaquin Valley SIP

Earlier this week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted part of a petition challenging EPA’s approval of California’s SIP for ozone and PM 2.5 in the San Joaquin Valley.  While the trade press has been focusing on the...more

Ninth Circuit Issues Decision in Civil Rights Case in Review of California SIP

On May 8, 2015, in El Comite Para El Bienestar De Earlimart v. EPA, a Panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review filed by several groups that the court describes as “community...more

EPA and Sierra Club Reach Partial Settlement in Ozone SIP Litigation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Sierra Club have entered into a proposed consent decree that would partially resolve a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club against the agency. Notice of the proposed...more

Ninth Circuit to Consider Civil Rights Issue in Review of California SIP

On February 12, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in El Comite Para El Bienestar De Earlimart v. EPA, a case challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of provisions in a...more

In Post-Dudenhoeffer Decision, Class Action Plaintiffs Are Allowed to Pursue Their Claims For Fiduciary Breach Against Eastman...

A federal district court has permitted plaintiffs to pursue class actions against the fiduciaries of two Eastman Kodak defined contribution plans on the ground that those fiduciaries failed to prudently manage the plan funds....more

EPA Reverses Course on Malfunctions

EPA proposes eliminating all startup, shutdown and malfunction affirmative defense provisions from SIPS. On September 17, 2014, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a supplemental notice of...more

Transportation Projects Get A Lot Of Deference in Demonstrating Compliance With Air Quality Standards

In a decision late last month, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made clear just how much deference agencies can get under the Supreme Court decisions in Chevron and Auer. The question in NRDC v. USDOT was whether, in...more

Exemptions for Excess Emissions During Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction Are In Jeopardy – What Can You Do?

For many years, a number of state air regulations, including certain MEDEP, NHDES, and RIDEM regulations, have contained exemptions and/or affirmative defenses for excess air emissions occurring during startup, shutdown...more

Pierce Atwood Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar (RCC)

This monthly publication provides information on compliance deadlines, regulatory developments, and other developments in federal, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire environmental and land use laws. NEW REGULATORY...more

EPA Proposes to Eliminate Affirmative Defenses for Many Clean Air Act Violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule on September 5, 2014 that would prevent states from including affirmative defenses in their Clean Air Act state implementation plans (SIPs) for emissions...more

EPA Up 3-0 in Clean Air Cases: What it Means for Greenhouse Gas Regulations

The D.C. Circuit, by majority decision, upheld MATS, which requires coal- and oil-fired power plants to reduce emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, and other air pollutants. When the EPA adopted MATS in 2011, it did not...more

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