A client alert issued today by Husch Blackwell’s environmental practice group details a major reversal of Obama-era policy by the Trump Administration.  The EPA announced it will not issue final regulations under CERCLA Section 108(b) imposing financial responsibility requirements on the hardrock mining industry. Abandoning a December 1, 2016 proposed rule, the EPA emphasized that after carefully evaluating public comments, statutory authority, and the extensive record it had concluded that the minimal environmental risk involved in modern mining practices combined with existing state and federal financial assurance requirements made the proposed rule unnecessary and unduly burdensome.  Read the entire client alert here.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is in the process of renewing its General Permit to Discharge under the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit, Permit No. TXR150000, issued on February 19, 2013 and effective on March 5, 2013, which authorizes discharges from construction sites into surface water in the state.  The new permit will go into effect March 5, 2018 and will expire five years from the effective date.

Developers and other parties that currently hold an authorization to discharge stormwater under the existing permit will want to take note of the provisions in the new permit for obtaining renewed authorization to discharge; for large construction activities: Continue Reading Texas Developers, Mark Your Calendars for March: Changes Coming for Texas Stormwater Permit

Renewable energy developers believed to have dodged a bullet in the Senate’s tax reform bill face newfound concerns as the upper chamber works toward expected final passage this week. While the Senate bill preserves important Production Tax Credits (PTCs) that had been significantly rolled back in the House, it also contains a provision which would severely undercut the value of tax equity credits relied upon by institutional investors to justify upfront investments in wind and solar projects. Continue Reading “Base Erosion Tax” Poses Newfound Threat to Wind and Solar Development

FERC recently reviewed its regulations to determine if they “potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources,”  as required Executive Order 13783.

In conducting this review, FERC focused on the following four jurisdictional areas:

  1. Hydropower Licensing
  2. Liquid Natural Gas (“LNG”) Facility and Natural Gas Pipeline and Storage Facility Siting
  3. Centralized Electric Capacity Market Policies in PJM, ISO-NE, and NYISO
  4. Generator Interconnection Policies

Continue Reading FERC Review Finds Few Regulations That Burden Energy Production

The U.S. EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have proposed to delay the effective date of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule which clarifies which waters and wetlands fall under federal jurisdiction. According to the agencies, the delay is necessary to help avoid confusion among home builders, contractors, and miners.

The 2015 WOTUS rule has an effective date of August 28, 2015, but Continue Reading EPA and Army Corp Propose to Delay Effective Date of WOTUS Rule

Late last night, the Senate Finance Committee voted its massive tax overhaul bill out of committee, retaining Production Tax Credits (PTC) important to the wind industry. The House version, which cleared the lower chamber earlier in the day, significantly scaled back these credits.

After taking a week off to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, the full Senate is expected to Continue Reading Senate Battle Over PTC Heating Up

As expected, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its massive tax overhaul plan today, largely along party lines.  The House package significantly scales back important production tax credits (PTCs) which renewable industry supporters believe have jump-started new investment.  All eyes now turn to the Senate as a backstop to keep these incentives in place. Continue Reading House Passes Tax Overhaul Plan, PTC Cuts Intact

The Texas Public Utility Commission has a new member with Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) appointment of Arthur D’Andrea to a six year term.  D’Andrea currently serves as assistant general counsel to Gov. Abbott and was previously an assistant solicitor general for the Texas Attorney General’s office.

This makes Gov. Abbott’s second appointment of the year, having named Continue Reading Gov. Abbott Appoints New Public Utility Commissioner

Last night the Senate Finance Committee released its own tax overhaul bill, which will be taken up next week by the committee.  The legislation retains important tax credits for wind developers, setting up a likely showdown with the House of Representatives during conference committee negotiations over the legislation before the end of the year.

The Production Tax Credit (PTC) enjoys outspoken support from an important bloc of Republican Finance Committee members, including Continue Reading Senate Version of Tax Bill Retains Incentives for Renewables

This morning the House Ways & Means Committee rejected an amendment attempting to restore existing tax breaks for wind energy projects.  This essentially leaves it up to Iowa Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and other historically strong supporters of wind energy to protect these incentives in the Senate Finance Committee version of the bill.  The Republicans’ slim majority in the Senate, especially given Sen. Grassley’s prior threats that wind energy tax credits will be eliminated “over my dead body,”  suggests there may be Continue Reading House Ways & Means Rejects Amendment to Restore PTC