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EPA Will NOT Second-Guess Generators’ Projections of Future Emissions Under the NSR Program

I’ve noted numerous times that the NSR program is incomprehensible gibberish. These are scientific and objective comments. The most recent example of this is the DTE litigation, in which a one-judge minority somehow ended...more

12/12/2017  /  EPA , NAAQS , NSR

Attacking Invasive Species Requires Serious Measures — A Judicial Opinion with Beatles Annotations

Everyone knows what a problem invasive species can be. Difficult problems require difficult solutions. In a recent case decided by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, the scope of the government’s authority to address one...more

Texas Now Has More Wind Than Coal Capacity. So Far, Trump Has Not Saved Coal.

On November 28, 2017, The Houston Chronicle reported that electric generation capacity from wind now exceeds that of coal in Texas. That’s not even counting Vistra’s recent announcement that it intends to close three...more

Climate risk? Credit risk! Moody’s Warns State and Local Governments

Earlier this week, Moody’s Investors Service announced issuance of a report (payment required) warning that: “the effects of climate change, including climbing global temperatures, and rising sea levels, are forecast to...more

Significant Nexus Lives! (For Now, In the 9th Circuit)

On November 27, 2017, the 9th Circuit affirmed the conviction of a Joseph Robertson, Montana man who: “discharged dredged and fill material into the surrounding wetlands and an adjacent tributary, which flows to Cataract...more

AG Sessions Speaks. No More Guidance. Make It So.

Last week, Attorney General Sessions sent a memorandum prohibiting the use of guidance in place of notice and comment rulemaking “when purporting to create rights or obligations binding on members of the public or the...more

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

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