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Category Archives: Environment

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NRC Seeking to Improve Relationships with American Indian Tribes

The relationship between the federal government and American Indian Tribes has taken on new relevance following protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline project. In this light, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been prescient in moving forward in a number of areas to clarify and improve its relationship with American Indian communities.

Renewable Fuels Association Calls On EPA and CFTC to Investigate RIN Markets

In an August 1, 2016 letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) called for an investigation into Renewable Identification Number (RIN) trading and recent increases in RIN prices.  RINs are the currency used for compliance with EPA’s Renewable Volume Obligations under the Renewable

Western Governors’ Association Urges Expanded Role for States in Administration of the Endangered Species Act

At the conclusion of its annual meeting earlier this month, the Western Governors’ Association adopted a broad policy resolution (2016-08) with specific recommendations for reform of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq.).  Not surprisingly, these recommendations envision a greater role for states in the management of threatened species and their habitat,

CFTC Agrees to Help EPA Police RIN Market

On March 15, 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the “Sharing of Information Available to EPA Related to the Functioning of Renewable Fuel and Related Markets.” The MOU purports to respond to widespread concerns about fraud in the Renewable

Emerging EPA CWA Regulations to Address Potential Hazardous Substances Releases

On February 16, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York approved a Consent Decree between environmental plaintiff groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that likely will result in comprehensive new requirements affecting companies that handle, store, transport or process hazardous substances. Envtl. Justice Health All. for Chem. Reform. v.

G2 LNG Awards FEED Contract to KBR

G2 LNG, LLC (G2) has awarded a contract for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Front End Engineering Design (FEED) engineering and FERC report pre-filing services to KBR Inc. for G2’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal on the Calcasieu Ship Channel in Louisiana.

EPA Proposed Rule: Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals

Today the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published in the Federal Register a long-awaited proposed rule that would establish sector-specific requirements for the management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals by a broad range of “healthcare facilities” (including hospitals, physician’s offices, long-term care facilities and retail pharmacies) and pharmaceutical reverse distributors.  The proposed rule, Management Standards for Hazardous

The Fifth Circuit’s Migratory Bird Treaty Act decision in Citgo has broad implications for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s enforcement and permitting programs

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed Citgo Petroleum Corporation’s criminal conviction in the Southern District of Texas and held that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act’s (MBTA) ban on bird “takings” only prohibits intentional acts that directly kill migratory birds. In addition to the operation of oil and gas facilities, the Fifth Circuit

Western District Texas Court Grants Summary Judgment for PBPA Plaintiffs and Vacates Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing Decision

In a first-of-its-kind ruling and a significant victory for state wildlife agencies, landowners, ranchers, farmers, and the oil and gas industry in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, in Permian Basin Petroleum Association (PBPA) et al. v. Department of the Interior (DOI), et al.,

White House and EPA Release Final Clean Power Plan With Significant Changes

On August 3, 2015, the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released the final Clean Power Plan, which establishes national carbon emissions standards for existing power plants pursuant to section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.  The Plan is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030,

Delfin LNG Submits Application for First Liquefied Natural Gas Export Deepwater Port

Delfin LNG LLC (Delfin) has submitted an application to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to construct, own, and operate the Delfin LNG Project (Port Delfin) under the Deepwater Port Act (DWPA). The proposed Project would be located approximately 50 miles off the coast of Cameron Parish, Louisiana in the

Supreme Court Remands EPA Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (“MATS”) for Failing to Consider Costs

On June 29, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) erred by failing to consider costs when deciding whether it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from power plants. See Michigan v. EPA, U.S., No. 14-46, slip op. (June 29, 2015).

U.S. FOREST SERVICE WITHDRAWS PROPOSED GROUNDWATER GUIDANCE: Sometimes the Government Listens

A concise Friday announcement in the Federal Register, 80 Fed. Reg. 35,299 (June 19,2015), brings notice that the U.S. Forest Service has abandoned plans for major revisions of its groundwater management policy, Forest Service Manual 2560, at least for the time being. Although the Forest Service attributed its reversal to a determination that the “proposal does

Fish and Wildlife Service evaluates new permit program for incidental takes of migratory birds

The Fish and Wildlife Service is evaluating the development of an incidental take permitting program under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The MBTA is a statute of very broad reach, prohibiting the killing of some 1,027 species of birds in the United States. The proposed program would affect planned energy and infrastructure projects that could

Ninth Circuit Upholds Alameda County’s Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance

On September 30, 2014, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California’s August 2013 ruling in Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), et al. v. Alameda County, et. al., No. 13-136833, holding that Alameda County’s Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance is constitutional under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

EPA Issues Final Cooling Water Intake Structure 316(b) Rule for Existing Facilities

On 19 May 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a long-awaited final rule establishing requirements governing the location, design, construction, and capacity of cooling water intake structures (CWIS) at existing power generating and manufacturing facilities. Pursuant to section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the EPA is required to establish the “best

Hogan Lovells Webinar: EPA’s Expanded “Waters of the U.S.” Definition: Navigating the Unprecedented Reach and Scope of New Rule

This CLE webinar will provide environmental counsel with an in-depth review of the EPA’s newly proposed revision that widely expands the reach of its rule defining “waters of the U.S.” The panel will examine the huge number of entities, businesses, and local governments that will be impacted as well as how—and the expected legal challenges

Secretary of the Interior’s Report on Landscape-Scale Mitigation Policy

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has released a Departmental report—including multiple “Near Term Policy Deliverables”—which responds to Secretarial Order No. 3330 (October 31, 2013).  In her Order, the Secretary challenged the Department and its constituent agencies, acting through its Energy and Climate Change Task Force, to “develop a coordinated Department-wide strategy to strengthen mitigation

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers issue proposed Clean Water Act jurisdiction rule

On 25 March 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released a joint proposed rule defining the jurisdictional reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The agencies also simultaneously issued an immediately effective interpretive rule to exempt a list of discrete agricultural conservation practices from CWA regulation under

European Commission publishes minimum principles for shale gas exploration

On 22 January 2014, the European Commission (Commission) published a “Recommendation on minimum principles for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons (such as shale gas) using high volume hydraulic fracturing” (Recommendation). The Recommendation sets out minimum core principles for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons (e.g., shale gas) using high-volume hydraulic fracturing. The Recommendation is

DOI Energy and Climate Task Force to Develop Mitigation Strategies for Projects on Federal Lands

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell’s first Secretarial Order, S. 3330, directs DOI’s Energy and Climate Task Force to prepare a comprehensive mitigation strategy for development projects on federal lands.  In a speech on October 31, Secretary Jewell first announced the new mitigation directive when she shared her vision of the Administration’s conservation agenda with

Decision in RCRA “Deadline” Suits: For the First Time, EPA Compelled to Review RCRA Rules by Court-Ordered Deadline

RCRA 2002(b) provides that each of EPA’s hazardous and nonhazardous waste rules “shall be reviewed [by EPA] and, where necessary, revised not less frequently than every three years.”  Until recently, no one had used this provision to obtain a court established deadline by which EPA must review and revise a waste rule.  In April 2012,