LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
The Clean Power Plan: A View from FERC

By J. Wylie Donald It was innocuous enough: Conference on Environmental Regulations; but the plainness of title belied what was going on at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the first public forum at FERC on EPA's Clean Power Plan. It played to overflow crowds. Notwithstanding arriving...

Ohio EPA Seeks Early Stakeholder Input on Sulfur Dioxide Rules

Ohio EPA is seeking early stakeholder input[1] on potential amendments to Ohio’s sulfur dioxide regulations as part of the five-year rule review process mandated by ORC §119.032, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ]. The rules, which are found at Ohio Administrative Code...

States Should Think Twice Before Refusing Any Response to EPA’s Clean Power Rules

The date is approaching for EPA to finalize its rules for controlling carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, and states are contemplating their responses to those rules. A number of commentators have recommended that states “just say no” to EPA and refuse to prepare state plans...

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...

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...

EPA Revises Its Regulatory Agenda, A Flurry of Activity Expected in the Next Few Months

Last week, the EPA-specific listing on the website of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs was updated with timelines on the EPA’s regulatory efforts. Of potential interest, in chronological order of expected release, are the following rules: • May 2015 (Final Rule). Clean Water...

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...

FERC’s Reaction to CEQ’s Greenhouse Gas Guidance: For Now, Business as Usual

On June 23, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an Order Denying Rehearing, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this order: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], of its earlier April 6, 2015 order, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this order: lexis.com | Lexis Advance...

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...

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...

OMB Begins Review of EPA Proposals to Curb Methane Emissions, Define Major Source

By Meredith Odato Graham In late June the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a highly-anticipated proposed rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for interagency review that would address methane emissions in the oil and natural gas sector. Earlier this year, EPA...

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...

EPA Proposal Limits Emissions for Methane and Other Volatile Organic Compounds

By Harry Weiss and Lorene L. Boudreau The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released proposed regulations that would set performance standards for emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from new and modified sources in the upstream and midstream oil and natural gas...

EPA Proposes New Methane Emission Rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken another step in its bid to address climate change by issuing proposed rules aimed at reducing methane emissions.[1] By their nature, the proposed rules will predominantly impact the oil and natural gas industries and come on the heels of the Clean...

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...

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...