Environmental

With an increased interest in the resolving disputes efficiently and avoiding litigation where possible, the time may be right for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to clarify the process for settlement of pipeline safety compliance issues, whether through new rules or a written settlement policy. On the hazardous materials regulatory front, PHMSA has historically engaged in settlements that are guided by an express allowance for settlement under the regulations. The Agency has…
By: G. Trippe Hawthorne and Beau Bourgeois On April 23, 2019, by a vote of 94-0, House Bill 273, which is an overall update and revision to Louisiana’s Contractor’s Licensing Law, passed out of the Louisiana House of Representatives.  The reengrossed version of the bill, including amendments made in the House Committee on Commerce and  those made on the House Floor is available here. The bill was introduced and read in the Senate on…
The Committee has recommended that the UK government take the lead in reaching net-zero, through social, financial, and policy change. By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), a statutory body that advises the UK government on carbon budgets, has recommended that the UK government should commit to cutting greenhouse gases (GHGs) to net-zero by 2050 in an attempt to meet its commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement. The…
Save Lafayette Trees Litigation Update:  The Beat Goes On We last posted on this decision (currently published as Save Lafayette Trees v. City of Lafayette (Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Real Party in Interest) (1st Dist. 2019) 32 Cal.App.5th 148) and its significant CEQA/Planning and Zoning Law statute of limitations holdings in my February 26, 2019 post, which can be found here.  In that post, it was noted (among other things) that the Court’s…
During the spring’s customarily dreary weather, many states have been seeking out sunshine and wind. In the months of March and April alone, eight states in the US passed legislation in an attempt to either make the permitting process easier for solar and wind power or to commit to the use of renewable power by a certain date. The significant renewable energy legislation passed this spring are highlighted below:…
When the New Jersey courts issue an “unpublished opinion,” across the top of the first page is a warning.  “This opinion shall not ‘constitute precedent or be binding upon any court.’”  But sometimes such opinions are ones not to be ignored by lawyers and clients dealing with certain issues. In the Matter of Lacey Township Permit (Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, Docket No. A-3173-16T3, April 26, 2019) was an appeal by a citizens’…
On Monday, May 6, 2019, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (Oregon DEQ) denied a water quality certification under section 401 of the Clean Water Act for the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and its feeder pipeline, the Pacific Connector, to be located on Oregon’s southern coast.…
On April 15, 2019, the environmental group Columbia Riverkeeper (Riverkeeper) filed suit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, alleging that the Corps’ operation of the Chief Joseph Dam is in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Riverkeeper’s complaint raises important questions as to whether certain discharges from hydropower facilities trigger the need for an authorization under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination…
The Guide aims to improve climate-related risk disclosure in organizations’ mainstream reports. By Paul A. Davies and Kristina S. Wyatt The Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has issued an Implementation Guide designed to foster improved reporting of climate-related information. The TCFD has enjoyed widespread support since its formation in 2015, yet relatively few organizations are applying the TCFD’s reporting guidance to address climate impacts in their disclosure documents.[i] The new Implementation Guide…
On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 19-181 (SB19-181) into law.  SB19-181 was a controversial bill as it made its way through the Colorado Legislature, and it is now a controversial piece of legislation.  Indeed, SB19-181 passed the Colorado Legislature strictly along party lines, and it has now pitted some local Colorado communities against the oil and gas industry.…