Inside Energy & Environment

Developments in law and policy of energy, commodities and environment

FERC recently proposed to streamline its market power rules so that generators in markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators would no longer need to demonstrate a lack of horizontal market power in order to charge flexible market-based rates.  Instead, FERC will rely on the existing market monitoring and mitigation measures approved for those markets to guard against exercises of market power. This proposal will significantly simplify the regular market power filings…
Despite its deregulatory efforts in other areas, the Trump administration continues to enforce pesticide laws rigorously as part of its stated goal of returning EPA to its “core mission.”  EPA regulates pesticides pursuant to its authority under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”), 7 U.S.C. § 136 et seq.  “Pesticides” are broadly defined to include any substance intended for destroying, mitigating, or repelling any pest, which include not only insects and rodents…
DOE’s authorizations to export natural gas, including LNG, from the U.S. impose reporting requirements regarding the destination of the exported gas and certain contracts regarding its supply and sales.  DOE recently modified one of those requirements in a significant way and proposed sharper guidelines for complying another to minimize regulatory burdens and reduce administrative uncertainty.  These changes in DOE policy will be of interest to LNG export authorization holders and their counterparties in gas sales…
Nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia announced this week a new regional initiative to cap and reduce greenhouse gas pollution from the transportation sector.  Much remains to be decided before the program takes effect, however. Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington D.C.[1] aim to cap carbon emissions from combustion of transportation fuels, and invest the proceeds into low-emission and improved transportation infrastructure, including by…
Carbon pricing is seen by many as an effective means of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity generation.  California and several Eastern states have enacted “cap and trade” emission allowance programs, which have forced generators in those states to pay a price for their CO2 emissions.  With the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan not being implemented, there is currently no federal policy in place that would result in carbon pricing for electricity.  In a…
COP 24 negotiations culminated in the 2018 “Paris Rulebook” (“Rulebook”) but fell short of resolving all issues implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement (“Agreement”).  In 2019 and subsequent years, we expect dynamic debates between negotiators on at least five key issues: How to implement voluntary market mechanisms under Article 6 of the Agreement, How to increase collective ambition through each country’s voluntary pledges, How to recognize the IPCC 1.5◦C Report’s scientific findings, Setting a…
On December 15, 2018, climate negotiators in Katowice, Poland reached agreement on a “Paris Rulebook” (“Rulebook”) which will implement the Paris Agreement (“Agreement”).  Reactions to the ambitiousness of the Rulebook have been mixed.  Although negotiators found some common ground on specific reporting and transparency rules, they could not reach consensus on implementing more ambitious voluntary market mechanisms, including the linking of global carbon markets. This is the first of a two-part series discussing…
On November 13, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched its Cleaner Trucks Initiative (CTI), which will decrease nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by updating the existing NOx standard for heavy-duty trucks. EPA’s announcement comes just as the California Air Resources Board (CARB) updated its Heavy-Duty On-board Diagnostic (HD OBD) requirements and prepares to implement its own Phase 2 GHG regulation for heavy-duty vehicles and trailers.…
As more companies recognize the value of enhanced sustainability reporting and publicize the positive environmental features of their products and services, they should also be attentive to greater public scrutiny of “green” claims.  Companies that engage in greenwashing – asserting exaggerated, misstated, or immaterial environmental claims – are increasingly exposed to reputational damage and legal battles, as regulators, investors, and civil society actors dedicate more resources to scrutinizing environmental claims.  Companies also face growing pressure…
A recent amendment to the Federal Power Act (FPA) that will become effective March 27, 2019 sets a $10 million threshold for requiring Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) prior approval of public utility mergers and consolidations.  That amendment also calls for FERC to adopt a rule requiring public utilities to simply notify FERC of mergers and consolidations with a value over $1 million but less than $10 million.  At its recent public meeting, FERC approved…