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Opposing NPDES Delegation to Massachusetts Is So 20th Century

On November 14, 2017, the Boston Globe joined most local environmental organizations in opposing delegation of the NPDES program to Massachusetts. How wrong is this? Let me count the ways....more

11/15/2017  /  Boston Globe , EPA , NPDES

Coming Soon to a Northeast or Mid-Atlantic State Near You: Regulations on Carbon Emissions From Transportation

On November 13, 2017, eight states in the Transportation Climate Initiative issued a joint statement pledging to pursue regional solutions to GHG emissions from transportation. The statement does not identify any specific...more

When Is a Discharge to Groundwater Subject to the Clean Water Act? Can You Say “Significant Nexus”?

Whether the Clean Water Act regulates discharges to groundwater has been a topic of significant debate.  At this point, there seems to be something of a trend in the cases towards concluding it does, but it remains true that...more

11/13/2017  /  Clean Water Act , Coal Ash , Groundwater

If the Apocalypse Approaches, But the Administration Ignores It, Will It Make a Sound?

Last week, the government released the Climate Science Special Report, the first volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. It makes grim reading – or perhaps more accurately, grim reaper – reading. Here’s what we...more

Sometimes Guidance Actually Provides Guidance

As regular readers know, the tension between guidance and regulation is one of my favorite topics. My view is that, in general, guidance is too often used simply to avoid notice and comment rulemaking and that, once issued,...more

It’s the Externalities, Stupid.

Last week, the Lancet Commission on pollution and public health (free registration required) released a study on the annual costs of pollution. There’s bound to be argument about the specifics, but it’s difficult to argue...more

Pruitt Banishes “Sue and Settle” – A Solution In Search of a Problem?

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a Directive prohibiting the practice of “sue and settle.” He also issued a Memorandum to senior staff explaining in more detail some of the concerns about “sue and settle.” They are two...more

10/17/2017  /  Citizen Suits , EPA

How Wrong Does a District Court Have to Be to Abuse Its Discretion?

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a District Court decision allocating 100% of CERCLA response costs at a San Diego Superfund site to TDY Holdings, which operated an aeronautical manufacturing plant from 1939 to...more

Court Rejects BLM’s Efforts to Unbalance the Scales of Justice

On October 4, 2017, Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte granted summary judgment to plaintiffs and vacated the Bureau of Land Management’s notice that it was postponing certain compliance dates contained in the Obama BLM rule...more

First Electric Generation. Then Transportation. What About Buildings?

October 2, 2017, EnergyWire (subscription required) reported that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has unveiled a plan to cap fossil fuel use in buildings in New York City. (I haven’t seen the specific plan, but it is...more

We’re Number 1! (And California Isn’t)

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy just released its 2017 Energy Efficiency Scorecard.  After sharing the top spot with California in the 2016 Scorecard, Massachusetts is back where it belongs – alone at the...more

What the Frack Is Up With BLM’s Fracking Rule?

Last week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed as prudentially unripe appeals of last year’s District Court decision striking down BLM’s 2015 fracking rule. The District Court ruled that BLM had no authority to issue...more

The Drumbeat Continues: Another Court Rejects an FEIR For Not Properly Considering Climate Change

Last week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a District Court decision approving a decision by the Bureau of Land Management to approve new leases on mines that account for 20% of U.S. coal production. ...more

How Imminent Are the Impacts of Climate Change in Everett?

On September 13, 2017, Judge Mark Wolf dismissed part of the Conservation Law Foundation’s claims in its litigation against ExxonMobil concerning ExxonMobil’s Everett Terminal facility. The opinion is both interesting and...more

9/15/2017  /  Climate Change , Exxon Mobil , FEMA

If China Can Cap-and-Trade Auto Fuel, Why Can’t We?

Bloomberg reported earlier this week that: China will soon unveil a mandatory cap-and-trade credit program for electric cars, starting the countdown for carmakers to be in compliance with stricter rules on emissions and...more

Trump’s 2-For-1 Order: Still Arbitrary and Capricious After All These Months

In June, I posted about Foley’s brief in support of those challenging Executive Order 13771, the so-called “2 for 1” EO. By ignoring the benefits of existing and proposed regulations, the Order ignores the purposes behind...more

Cooperative Federalism Requires Cooperation From Both Sides

In 2011, the National Parks Conservation Association sued EPA for failure to enforce the regional haze requirements of the Clean Air Act. EPA and the NPCA settled in 2012, establishing a schedule by when SIPs or FIPs had to...more

What’s a Court to Do When EPA Misses a Statutory Deadline?

Earlier this week, a divided 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed entry of a consent decree between the Sierra Club and EPA, resolving litigation over EPA’s failure to promulgate attainment designations for the sulfur...more

The Arbitrary and Capricious Standard Remains in the Eye of the Beholder

In a very interesting – and extremely rare – case, Emhart Industries has successfully defended itself against a unilateral administrative order issued by EPA under CERCLA, on the ground that key decisions made by EPA were...more

State Street Global Advisors Gets on the Climate Disclosure Express — In a Big Way

Earlier this month, State Street Global Advisors joined the chorus of money managers urging corporate boards, particularly those in “high-impact sectors” – meaning “oil and gas, utilities and mining” – to do a better job...more

Does NEPA Require Assessment of Downstream GHG Emissions Resulting From Gas Pipelines?

Last week, a divided panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that FERC violated NEPA in failing to assess downstream greenhouse gas emissions resulting from construction of the Sabal Trail pipeline, part of the...more

The Social Cost of Carbon: Not Too Speculative for NEPA

Earlier this week, the Judge Donald Malloy of the District Court for the District of Montana granted summary judgment to the Montana Environmental Information Center on several of its claims alleging that the Office of...more

The Montreal Protocol Is Not a Climate Change Statute

Earlier this week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down part of an EPA rule promulgated pursuant to the Montreal Protocol. The section that was struck down would have required manufacturers of HFC-134a, which is not...more

Coming Soon To a Massachusetts Facility Near You: More Citizen Enforcement?

Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs went live with two new web sites intended to increase the public availability of information concerning regulated entities in Massachusetts. The...more

Real Superfund Reform Would Not Place It At the Center of EPA’s Core Mission

Earlier this week, Scott Pruitt released the results of the Superfund Task Force he established in May.  Though skeptical, I was pleased at the creation of the task force and goals he established for it.  With the release of...more

7/28/2017  /  EPA , Superfund
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