The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced this morning that it will offer 110,091 acres of the Outer Continental Shelf (ICS) in the Carolina Bay Area for lease this coming May.  The Carolina Bay Area lease sale follows the recent lease sale in the New York Bight and demonstrates the Bind Administration’s commitment to establishing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind production by 2030.  BOEM’s Federal Register notice may be found here. Continue Reading BOEM Presses Forward with Offshore Wind Development in the Carolina Bay

On March 21, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued a highly-anticipated Proposed Rule that proposes to require public companies to disclose climate-related risks in their registration statements and annual reports filed with the SEC. The Proposed Rule, titled The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors, will mark a watershed moment for ESG transparency and corporate compliance if finalized. Continue Reading The SEC Proposes Mandatory Climate-Related Disclosures

Last week’s blog post on NEPA and renewable energy development discussed how NEPA intersects with legal challenges brought against wind and solar projects.  On March 9, 2022, concerned residents from the Town of East Hampton, New York filed suit to overturn the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) and Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) approval of the South Fork Wind Farm Project (South Fork Project).  In Mahoney v. Dept. of Interior, No. 2:22-cv-1305, plaintiffs allege violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, and Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Act by BOEM and the Corps. Continue Reading Property Owners Lodge a NEPA Challenge to the South Fork Offshore Wind Farm Project

Under current law, there are significant tax benefits for renewable energy projects in the United States.  These benefits include nonrefundable ITC and PTC tax credits and depreciation deductions.  From the perspective of a renewable energy developer, however, such tax benefits may be difficult to use effectively.  Currently, ITC and PTC tax credits are nonrefundable, meaning that developers with tax liability lower such credit will face difficulties effectively utilizing such excess credit.  Developers face a similar problem with depreciation deductions, as these will only operate to reduce taxable income.  If a developer does not have enough taxable income to utilize these depreciation deductions, it will be difficult to effectively utilize such excess. Continue Reading Direct Pay Proposals in the Build Back Better Act and Observations from Industry Insiders

2021 witnessed a new but familiar competition among stakeholders for the use and enjoyment of the Outer Continental Shelf.  Last year, interested parties initiated five lawsuits against the first federally approved offshore wind farm, Vineyard Wind I (located off the coast of Nantucket).  And 2022 has so far continued the trend with a new challenge to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) designation of Wind Energy Areas in the New York Bight in late January.  These legal challenges echo the arguments marshaled in numerous lawsuits across the Nation to delay or prevent oil and gas development on public lands.  Developers seeking to participate in the energy transition can learn from the experience of oil and gas development on federal lands. Continue Reading Legal Challenges to Renewable Energy Development, and How NEPA Can Help

On February 17, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an updated policy statement on the certification of new interstate natural gas facilities (Updated Policy Statement). This Updated Policy Statement replaces the Commission’s previous policy statement issued in 1999, which relied primarily on the existence of precedent agreements between the pipeline applicant and its shippers to establish evidence of need for a proposed interstate natural gas facility. Under the previous policy statement, if a proposed natural gas pipeline project was able to establish through precedent agreements with shippers that there was demand for the increased capacity, the Commission generally found that the proposed project was in the public interest and issued the certificate. Continue Reading FERC Updates Gas Pipeline Certificate Policy Statement and Issues Interim Policy Statement on GHG Emissions

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is acting to improve the safety of hydroelectric generation projects.  Hydropower regulation is the oldest area of FERC’s jurisdiction, dating back to the 1920s.  The latest developments in this area of FERC regulation focus on safety. Continue Reading FERC Acts to Improve Safety at Hydroelectric Projects

Last week, the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) held its second of two intergovernmental stakeholder meetings to discuss offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico.  The February 2, 2022, meeting follows BOEM’s receipt of a second round of scoping comments for a proposed environmental assessment (EA) of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for offshore wind leasing. Continue Reading BOEM Takes Another Step Toward Leasing the Outer Continental Shelf for Offshore Wind

Husch Blackwell Partner Brian Hendrix published an article with Rock Products analyzing why after more than 40 years in operation, MSHA chooses enforcement as its favorite tool. MSHA’s work cycle has always been “inspect, cite, penalize, repeat.” Obviously, MSHA continues to investigate accidents, roll out new regulations, issue guidance, provide compliance assistance, etc., but those efforts are either directly related to or take a back seat to enforcement. Find out more by reading the article on Rock Products‘ website.