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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.

Due to its suddenness and severity, overnight the COVID-19 outbreak has rearranged the priorities of corporate legal departments. Things that were of top-of-list importance yesterday have likely been replaced by action items that were inconceivable just a few weeks ago. Additionally, the “all-hands-on-deck” approach to managing the crisis is likely to last for some time and perhaps longer than any of us could have imagined. There are going to be many legal issues of great strategic importance that simply won’t receive the attention they require; likewise, there will be day-to-day issues that could also be overlooked. Environmental monitoring and reporting requirements could be among those. Continue Reading Environmental Compliance During COVID-19 Business Disruption

After Congress passed the Safe Explosives Act to address explosives safety and security following 9/11, the law and the regulations promulgated in its wake applied broadly to everyone who acquires or uses explosives. Since ATF’s regulations weren’t specifically written for mining and ATF personnel are not usually drawn from the mining industry, there easily could have been a lot of conflict and confusion. Thankfully, the ATF worked with the mining industry to educate operators about the new laws and regulations, to provide guidance and answer questions. Brian Hendrix walks through the regulations in the latest edition of Rock Products, available here.

Back in November, MSHA head David Zatezalo indicated that MSHA’s initiative to “blur the lines” between coal and M/NM enforcement had ended. As an apparent follow-up, in late December MSHA released a new, unified M/NM and coal inspection handbook, and has now started training investigators on the new handbook.

Continue Reading MSHA Unveils New Unified Inspection Handbook