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In the latest edition of Rock Products, Daniel Fanning discussed the Trump administration’s second in a two-step act to un-muddy the waters with a new rule defining the scope and reach of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). This act reversed the course set by the Obama administration in 2015, a rule that lent itself to justifying the regulation of WOTUS areas far beyond the banks and boundaries of cognizable water bodies. Read Daniel’s analysis here.

Daniel Fanning recently published an article in Coal Age on the Trump Administration’s new rule defining the scope and reach of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). This act reversed the  Obama Administration’s course, one that justified the regulation of WOTUS areas beyond the banks and boundaries of cognizable water bodies. Read the article here.

In a move to provide relief for taxpayers developing renewable energy projects and producing electricity from sources such as wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, trash, and hydropower, the IRS has issued Notice 2020-41 which adds an extra year to the four year “Continuity Safe Harbor” for certain projects that began construction in 2016 or 2017. Continue Reading IRS Extends Continuity Safe Harbor from 4 to 5 years.

The economy may be stalled, but the use of Nationwide Permit (NWP) 12 just opened back up for non-oil and gas pipeline projects. A recent decision rocked the permitting community as a judge vacated NWP 12 outright because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by not consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prior to reissuing NWP 12. However, earlier this week, Judge Morris amended the remedy provided in his April 15, 2020 order, which vacated all continuing use of NWP 12. Continue Reading Nationwide Permit (NWP) 12 Re-Opened for Non-Oil and Gas Pipeline Projects

On Monday May 4, 2020, the Department of Commerce issued a news release announcing the start of a Section 232 investigation on imports of “Laminations and Wound Cores for Incorporation Into Transformers, Electrical Transformers, and Transformer Regulators.”  This investigation is effectively an examination of whether or not to expand the current Section 232 tariffs on steel to include these products.

Husch Blackwell has been following these developments closely and has published a thorough analysis here. We encourage clients to contact our International Trade and Supply Chain team should they wish to submit comments on this Section 232 investigation.

Like other segments of the economy, the renewable energy industry is dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several states still have restricted business activities and are only now considering lifting those restrictions. Many equipment suppliers, contractors, and project owners have sent or received force majeure notices under their respective contracts and disputes may arise over whether a COVID-related delay in performance is excused. Continue Reading Is COVID-19 a force majeure event that excuses performance on renewable energy construction projects?

On Friday, May 1, 2020, President Trump issued a new Executive Order (the Bulk-Power Order) to prohibit transactions within the U.S. for the acquisition or installation of certain “bulk-power system electric equipment” which is sourced from foreign adversaries. In the Bulk-Power Order, President Trump expressed a determination that “the unrestricted foreign supply of bulk-power system electric equipment constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States” and declared a national emergency “with respect to the threat to the United States bulk-power system.”

 

Husch Blackwell’s Energy & Natural Resources team has been  following the Bulk-Power Order closely and offers in-depth analysis here. If you have any questions concerning this topic in the meantime, please contact John Crossley, Cacki Jewart, Grant Leach or Chris Reeder.

 

 

Husch Blackwell’s Environmental practice group has collected the latest enforcement actions from various federal and state agencies tasked with regulating environmental policy in one convenient location, available here. The group will update this resource periodically as new guidance and rulemakings are handed down.

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If you have questions or concerns about environmental compliance in the context of COVID-19, please contact Amy Wachs or your Husch Blackwell attorney.

Shelter-in-place strategies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted the U.S. workplace. However, unlike a typical office environment, mines cannot operate without employees on property. In order to prepare for the outbreak, every employer should spend some time assessing the risk to their workforce and confirming whether or not they have reason for concern about employee exposure. Those with elevated risks should take further action. Donna Pryor outlines the actions mines can take in the latest edition of Coal Age magazine. Read more here.