Power plant silhouetteEarlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an order granted EPA’s motion to hold the Clean Power Plan litigation in abeyance while EPA reviews the carbon pollution emission guidelines for existing power plants and the standards of performance of new, modified, and reconstructed power plants and, if appropriate, publishes proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding those rules. Review of the rules is required by President Trump’s Executive Order targeting climate change regulation (discussed further here).

The motion for abeyance was opposed by numerous parties, including cities and states; Calpine Corporation and municipal power companies; the American Wind Energy Association and Solar Energy Industries Association; and environmental organizations. They argued that Continue Reading Court’s 60-Day Abeyance of Clean Power Plan Litigation May Help Efforts to Suspend, Revise, or Rescind Rules

Environmental_Protection_Agency_logoThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a request for comment soliciting input from the public regarding existing environmental regulations that might be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification consistent with President Trump’s executive order regarding enforcing his regulatory reform agenda.

That order directed federal agencies to form Continue Reading EPA Seeks Input on Repeal, Replacement, or Modification of Environmental Regulations

Environmental_Protection_Agency_logoA memorandum issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s acting chief financial officer proposes program cuts to accommodate the Trump Administration’s proposed 31% budget reduction for FY 2018. The memo states that this resource level will require evaluating EPA’s priorities and “thinking differently about the best ways to accomplish [its] core statutory responsibilities.”

The proposed cuts make it clear that regulation of climate change or carbon pollution is no longer Continue Reading Cuts to EPA’s Budget Would Eliminate Climate Protection Programs, Other “Non-Core” Programs

Methane ImageThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has asked a federal appellate court to hold in abeyance an ongoing legal challenge to Obama-era methane emissions standards for new and modified sources in the oil and gas sector as EPA considers whether to change the standards or abandon them altogether. (Am. Petroleum Inst. v. EPA, D.C. Cir., 13-1108). The methane rule, finalized in 2016, established New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for methane emissions at new, modified and reconstructed oil and gas wells.  Dozens of states and industry groups filed legal challenges Continue Reading EPA Asks Court to Halt Methane Suit

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Fulfilling repeated campaign pledges to roll back the Obama administration’s climate change initiatives, President Trump signed a sweeping executive order yesterday targeting key Obama-era regulations, including the Clean Power Plan and emission standards for the oil and gas industry. The executive order states that it is in the interest of the nation to promote development of energy resources “while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation.” The multi-faceted approach taken by the order makes it clear that this Administration views any regulation of climate change or carbon pollution as “unnecessary.”  Continue Reading Trump’s Executive Order Takes a Multi-Faceted Approach to Eliminating Climate Change Regulation

gravel pit with an industrial gravel sorter machinery with beautiful sunburst color effectThe United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) issued a proposed rule on December 1, 2016 requiring hardrock mines to provide financial assurance demonstrating they are able to fund the costs associated with the future cleanup of the mines under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the federal statute designed to address releases of hazardous substances and the cleanup of hazardous waste sites nationwide. The new regulations, if finalized by the stated deadline of December 1, 2017, would add an additional
Continue Reading New Financial Responsibility Requirements on the Horizon for the Hardrock Mining Industry

Environmental_Protection_Agency_logoIn his opening statement at the Senate confirmation hearing for his appointment to the role of EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt stated that he will build on progress “in promoting a healthier environment and stronger economy for future generations by focusing on three core philosophies: rule of law, cooperative federalism, and public participation.” Each of those philosophies would return EPA’s authority to its “core mission of protecting the American people through common sense and lawful regulations.”

With respect to the rule of law, Pruitt noted that EPA’s role is limited by statute and criticized the agency for Continue Reading Pruitt Pledges to Rein in EPA

The United States Capitol buildingConsistent with campaign pledges from President-elect Donald Trump, Congressional Republicans are wasting no time in targeting key environmental regulations established during the Obama administration. On January 6, House Republicans used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to target the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule, finalized last year, seeking to reduce methane emissions from new, modified and reconstructed oil and gas wells.  Among other provisions, the rule established Continue Reading Congressional Republicans Waste No Time in Targeting Obama Environmental Rules

Environmental_Protection_Agency_logoOn January 11, 2017, EPA published notice of its intention to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking establishing financial responsibility requirements under Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) for facilities in the chemical manufacturing (NAICS 325), petroleum and coal products manufacturing (NAICS 324), and electric power generation, transmission, and distribution (NAICS 2211) industries.  CERCLA Section 108(b) regulations require regulated classes of facilities to demonstrate to EPA that they have Continue Reading EPA Considering Financial Responsibility Requirements for Chemical, Petroleum, and Electric Power Industries

President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt confirms that the Trump administration and its appointees will not continue to support attempts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address climate change.  Pruitt, who has referred to the debate regarding global warming as “far from settled,” has filed several lawsuits against EPA challenging regulations that limit such emissions from the coal, oil, and natural gas industries, including an EPA rule implementing the Clean Power Plan by requiring states to Continue Reading Scott Pruitt’s Appointment as Head of EPA Unlikely to Reverse Trends in Energy Generation