LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
EU Seeks to Balance Emissions Controls and Global Competitiveness

The European Union has placed a growing emphasis on climate change policies in recent years, and the week of June 15–19 marked the 10 th annual European Union Sustainable Energy Week focusing on “sustainable mobility,” decarbonisation, and other energy topics. Earlier this year, the...

Supreme Court Ruling on EPA Mercury Rule: Utilities Wins the Battle, But Lose the War

By Jessica J.O. King The Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants from coal-fired power plants if the agency determines that such “regulation is appropriate and necessary” after studying the hazards the emissions pose to human health. EPA conducted...

Democratic Senators Introduce Carbon Tax Bill

On Wednesday, June 10, two Democratic Senators (Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Brian Schatz of Hawaii) introduced a bill that would impose a carbon tax of $45 per ton of carbon emissions. For other greenhouse gases, the bill imposes a carbon dioxide equivalent fee. The sponsors claim that the...

Pope Francis On Environmental Law

By Michael B. Gerrard The remarkable Encyclical Letter issued last month by Pope Francis could be read as a primer on the importance and idealized operation of many of our environmental laws. The headings below are mine; the text is from the Vatican. National Environmental Policy Act 183...

EPA Proposes to Redesignate Charlotte Area to Attainment for Ozone Standard

By Ryan W. Trail On May 21, 2015, EPA proposed to approve the State of North Carolina’s request to redesignate its portion of the bi-state, Charlotte-Rock Hill 8-hour ozone nonattainment area (the “Area”), to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards...

Back to the Future: EIA’s Analysis of EPA’s Clean Power Plan Concludes that Power Sector CO2 Emissions May Drop to 1980s Levels

In June 2014, EPA issued its proposed Clean Power Plan to regulate CO2 emissions from existing power plants under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this statute: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ]. The Clean Power Plan proposes to limit carbon emissions from...

EPA Issues SIP Call to Eliminate SSM Defense

By Channing J. Martin 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 differ from state-to-state, the defense generally offers...

EPA Proposes Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Finding for Aircraft Emissions

In a rule signed on June 10, 2015, EPA proposed to find that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from engines used in certain types of aircraft contribute to air pollution that endangers health and welfare under section 231(a) of the Clean Air Act. Further, anticipating that the International Civil Aviation...

There's Gold in Them Thar Coal Plants - You Just Have to Know How to Look For It

By J. Wylie Donald Last Tuesday night saw a few of us enjoying the charms of Virginia Beach as we recovered from a long day of coal plant demolition. (Lawyers in hard hats. Run from that.) Well, not exactly. We were attending a conference run by EUCI: Plant Retirement: Learning from Experience...

Pope Says No to Cap and Trade

By Tricia Caliguire "Pope Francis Stands Up to Climate Deniers," or so says the editorial board of the Newark Star Ledger . Yes, but the headline could have read, "Pope says No to Cap and Trade." In his ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON CARE FOR...

"Capacious" Term Dooms MATS Rule - Does It Say Anything About the Clean Power Plan?

By J. Wylie Donald The Energy Information Agency predicted the retirement of up to 60 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity generation by 2020. A significant contributor to that evolution was the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard or MATS Rule. Until now that is, because a 5-4 majority on the Supreme...

U.S. Supreme Court Invalidates EPA’s Regulation of Mercury from Power Plants

On June 29, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], and invalidated U.S. EPA's...

How the Supreme Court Just Delayed the Clean Power Plan

By Tricia Caliguire The Supreme Court’s decision in Michigan v. EPA , [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], holding that the Environmental Protection Agency should have considered costs when making the decision to regulate mercury emissions...

Supreme Court - EPA Must Consider Costs before Regulating Mercury Emissions from Power Plants

On June 29, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Michigan v. EPA, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to properly consider compliance costs before promulgating the Mercury and Air Toxics...

Michigan v. EPA – Setting the Stage for The Clean Power Plan and WOTUS

On June 28, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court filed its 5-4 ruling on the challenge to US EPA Mercury Air Toxics (MATS) rule. Michigan, et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 14-46 . http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-46_10n2.pdf . In short the decision reverses and remands the...

WA Court Affirms Best Available Climate Science As Basis For Emissions Reduction Goals

One year ago, eight young climate activists (ranging from 9 to 14 years old) petitioned Washington State’s Department of Ecology (“the Department”) to adopt and implement stricter greenhouse gas emissions regulations based on the most current and best available climate science. When...

Demand-Side Energy Efficiency in the Final Clean Power Plan

By Jessica Wentz, Associate Director and Postdoctoral Fellow President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have unveiled the final version of the Clean Power Plan —the nation’s first ever federal regulatory standards to address carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions from existing...

US EPA Publishes Proposed List of National Enforcement Initiatives for FY2017–19

On September 15, 2015, US EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance published a proposed list of national enforcement initiatives (NEIs) for fiscal years 2017–19. This latest NEI list includes NEIs from the last round (FY2014–16) as well as three new potential NEIs that US...

Proposed Rules Seek to Cut Methane Emissions at Landfills

By Ethan R. Ware , Partner, Williams Mullen EPA has issued a proposed rule and a supplemental proposal to a July 14, 2015 proposed rule that are designed to achieve additional reductions of landfill gas (LFG) and its components, including methane, by lowering the emissions threshold at which emission...

Revisions to Key Definitions in Virginia Air Pollution Program Add Flexibility

By Henry R. "Speaker" Pollard, V , Partner, Williams Mullen Changes to Virginia’s air program that recently took effect offer greater flexibility for manufacturers, electric utilities, and other major sources of air pollutants. These changes reduce the rigidity of two key Virginia...

Prompted by Independent Study, EPA Issues Notice of Violation to Volkswagen for Circumventing Federal Emissions Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) issuance of a notice of violation to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (collectively Volkswagen) appears to have further validated EPA’s and other federal agencies’ growing reliance on independent studies to pursue...

Clean Power Plan Published; Appeals Period Begins

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan was published in the Federal Register Friday, triggering a 60-day appeals period. Petitioners will have until December 22, 2015, to file appeals of the Clean Power Plan in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit...

How VW's Diesel Engine Debacle Will Impact Farmers

Volkswagen (VW) has been in the news lately after university researchers discovered its "clean diesel" emissions were as much as 40 times higher than EPA regulations allowed. VW apparently programmed its engine control unit (ECU) software to run on a more efficient setting—meeting EPA...

EPA Floats Proposed New Enforcement Initiatives for 2017 – 2019

The US EPA has proposed its National Enforcement Initiatives (“NEI”) for calendar years 2017 through 2019. US EPA develops a set of NEI every three years, focusing federal resources on industries with noncompliance issues on a regional or national scale, where federal attention can make a...

U.S. Energy and Environmental Policy and Law in the Making: The Clean Power Plan

It was a busy week for the United States and the Obama Administration’s Climate Change Initiative. On October 23, 2015, the Clean Power Plan was published in the Federal Register, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this rule: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ]. This official act triggered...