Joseph Koncelik

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It is a fundamental tenant of financial planning that you need to hedge against risk.  Investors are always cautioned to diversify their portfolios (i.e. have a mix of stock, bonds and cash).  Further diversify by investing in both U.S. and foreign companies.  As you age, become more conservative in your investing to hedge against risk. With recent developments on climate change, many parallels exist between making decisions regarding regulations of greenhouse gases and financial planning. …
  With headlines in the United States of intense wildfires out West and more frequent hurricanes hitting the Gulf and East Coasts, concern that the U.S. is already beginning to experience the impacts of climate change is growing.  While most recognize climate change is occurring, the debate over how to effectively address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions rages on. The Washington Post recently noted carbon taxes have been cited by the United Nations…
You would think that the regulatory reach of the Clean Water Act(CWA), which was passed in 1972, would be well settled law.  However, recent litigation has demonstrated that this is certainly not the case. Which Wetlands and Streams are Protected? The U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in multiple times on which wetlands and streams are regulated under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA).  The Court’s most notable ruling is Rapanos, a plurality…
Since the sunset of the very successful Clean Ohio Brownfield Revitalization Program, brownfield redevelopment has slowed in Ohio.  At a time when the economy is finally doing well, and real estate development is in full recovery mode, brownfields are still being passed over for less costly redevelopment options. This past week, Representative Arndt introduced House Bill 737 (Click on link hb737_00_IN) which would incorporate the CERCLA Bona Fide Purchaser Defense into Ohio Law.  The Greater
In a much anticipated move, the Trump Administration has proposed the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule as a replacement for the Obama Administration Clean Power Plan (CPP).  While the CPP was controversial from the start for it broad regulation of the power industry, the ACE rule will be controversial as it signifies a 180 degree turn from aggressive climate change regulation of the energy sector. Overview of CPP The CPP was finalized on October 23,…
The ruling in Upstate Forever and Savannah Riverkeeper v. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, LP expands the rights of citizens groups to bring suits for penalties and injunctive relief under the Clean Water Act even when a state EPA is actively involved in addressing the issue.  Furthermore, the court ruling allows claims to be brought even when the original spill ceased and all that remains is ongoing migration from a historical spill. Factual Background Back in…
Congress does not often pass environmental legislation, so the passage of the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act (BUILD Act) is noteworthy.  While the amount of federal funds available will still be far less than needed to move the needle, there are important changes to the law that will help facilitate brownfield redevelopment.  The most notable of these changes include: Protections for Local Governments-  Local governments will no longer trigger CERCLA liability…
On March 30, 2018, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a memorandum eliminating the authority of Regional Administrators to veto decisions by the Army Corps of Engineers to grant a permit for impacts to streams or wetlands.  The veto authority has been re-delegated to the U.S. EPA Administrator. Any project that results in a discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S. must obtain a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers under…
On January 22, 2018, U.S. EPA’s Assistant Administrator issued a memorandum to all U.S. EPA Regional Administrators that contained interim guidance on enforcement of environmental violations by State EPAs and the federal EPA.  The interim guidance is a significant shift away from the traditional federal/state balance on enforcement giving much greater leeway to the States. U.S. EPA has always been active in enforcement in states, even states that have delegated programs.  EPA traditionally has set…
On January 22, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in National Assoc. of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense that federal district courts have original jurisdiction to hear challenges to the 2015 Obama Administration Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule which defined the extent of federal jurisdiction over streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.  After the ruling, the Trump Administration was concerned that the 2015 WOTUS Rule may be effective before it completes it’s own…