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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

 

In a four-part series recently published in Law360, Husch Blackwell’s energy regulatory group analyzed the significant aspects of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) most recent installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). The first article focused on the QER’s discussion of the critical role that the nation’s electricity industry plays in supporting the country’s economy and national security.  The second installment examined the QER’s emphasis on grid security. The third focused on Continue Reading Dissecting DOE’s Recent Quadrennial Energy Review

Flag of Colorado waving.Today, the Colorado Court of Appeals held that the Denver district court erred when it dismissed the suit of Colorado youth who challenged the dismissal by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (the “COGCC”) of their rulemaking petition.  Martinez v. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, 2017COA37 (March 23, 2017).  The district court had affirmed the COGCC’s dismissal concluding that the COGCC lacked the authority to consider a proposed rule that would require the COGCC to adjust the balance between the development of oil and gas resources and the protection of public health, safety, and welfare under the Oil and Gas Conservation Act (the “Act”).

The court of appeals concluded Continue Reading Kids’ Climate Suit Can Move Forward in Colorado State Court

Seal_of_the_United_States_Securities_and_Exchange_Commission.svgThe Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) requires disclosure relating to social and environmental performance if the information would be “material” to the reasonable investor. Climate change issues may need to be disclosed with respect to the costs of environmental compliance, material legal proceedings, risk factors, management’s discussion and analysis of financial conditions and results of operations, and physical impacts of climate change. But even broader disclosure on environmental, social, employee, and human rights issues is required by pending European Union legislation and various sustainability reporting, standards, and rating organizations like the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.

The SEC has sought comments on which sustainability and public policy issues are important to informed voting decisions, whether to require line-item disclosures on such issues, and which sustainability reporting frameworks to consider in developing additional requirements. SEC appears likely to expand reporting beyond what is required by current guidance, and the scope of its expansion could have a significant impact on publicly-traded companies’ sustainability reporting practices. Watch here for updates on the release of new SEC guidance or regulations regarding environmental, social, and governance disclosures.

Flag_of_CaliforniaCalifornia’s Proposition 65, also called the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the consumer products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. Under recent changes to the law, companies in the oilfield business and gasoline service business will need to make warning signs more specific in order to Continue Reading Changes to California’s Prop 65 Warning Requirements to Impact Energy Industry

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

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Robert Horn
Adam Sachs
Adam Sachs

During his confirmation hearing to become Secretary of Energy, former Texas Governor Rick Perry sensibly walked back his 2011 recommendation that the Department of Energy (DOE) be eliminated. After a few weeks on the job, it is now apparent that the secretary not only thinks the DOE should continue to exist but recognizes it’s an essential element of our national security.

President Trump’s inaugural address called for an “America First Energy Plan.”  Although admittedly short on details, the Trump plan seems to Continue Reading Around the Horn: Perry, Policy & Politics

No RegulationsAs we reported in a previous blog post, President Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memorandum entitled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review” to all federal executive departments and agencies implementing a regulatory freeze on new and pending regulations.  This post provides some further information and insight into the freeze and the specific impacts it has had and will have on final and proposed environmental, health, safety, and pipeline regulations.

Technically speaking, the directive is not an executive order and does not have the effect of law.  Thus, federal agencies are left with considerable discretion regarding how to implement it.  The directive was issued with the intent of Continue Reading Trump Administration’s Regulatory Freeze Impacts Environmental, Health, Safety, and Pipeline Regulations

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Bob Horn
Adam Sachs
Adam Sachs

I’m Adam Sachs, a partner in Husch Blackwell’s energy practice and a registered DC lobbyist. I will be joined in these semi-regular blog posts by my colleague and longtime Washington lawyer, Bob Horn.  Bob served in the Ford administration, ran Detroit Edison’s federal affairs operations, co-founded the Republican National Lawyers Association, and most recently served as a member of the Trump transition team.  I have extensive Capitol Hill experience, having served in senior policy and legal positions since the mid-1980’s.  My most recent Hill gig was serving as committee counsel to now assistant Democratic leader James Clyburn of South Carolina. Continue Reading Around the Horn: Trump DOE/EPA Nominations and Energy Policy Initiatives

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Acting FERC Chairman, Cheryl A. LaFleur

The abrupt resignation and departure (effective February 3, 2017) of former FERC Chairman Norman Bay will leave the Commission without the minimum 3-commissioner quorum needed for the Commission to act. Regulated entities can expect a flurry of activity at the Commission this week, while Commissioner Bay is still voting. As a former FERC Chairman, I believe Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur, a Democrat, will do her best to conduct the agency’s business after Bay’s departure, but there are limits to what she and remaining Commissioner, Collette Honorable, can do.

The first order of business will be to Continue Reading FERC Acting Chairman LaFleur Expected to Try and Minimize FERC’s Quorum Problem