S&W Environmental, Natural Resources, Oil and Gas Law

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by Fred Breedlove The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s April 24-Month Study, published this week, as expected, signals a significant likelihood of reduced water deliveries in the Lower Basin of the Colorado River to Arizona, California, and Nevada. Not only does it suggest a high likelihood of Tier 1 reductions for 2022 and 2023, but it also suggests that the Lower Basin is at higher risk of confronting Tier 2 conditions. As I have discussed…
By Patrick J. Paul On April 19, 2021, America’s civil space program – the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) made history when its Mars Ingenuity helicopter made the first ever powered, controlled flight on another planet.  With it, the once comical world of the Jetsons becomes increasingly real. The solar-powered helicopter first became airborne at 3:34 a.m. EDT – 12:33 Local Mean Solar Time (Mars time) – when NASA’s Ingenuity team determined it would…
by Denise A. Dragoo During the recent General Session, the Utah Legislature enacted several major energy bills which confirm the State’s continued investment in, and support of, both conventional and renewable energy sources. The Legislature consistently chose to promote “all of the above” as the energy mix for a more reliable electric grid. Following austerity measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during six special sessions in 2020, the Legislature found itself with a…
by Michael W. Patten The local economies of many communities in the southwest are tied to the operations of large coal-fired power plants.  As those plants start closing, the communities can face significant disruption in their local economies through loss of jobs, tax revenues and other impacts.  How to address those impacts involves both federal and states issues, multiple states, many different governmental entities and a variety of non-governmental stakeholders. Some activity to address the…
by Michael C. Ford Changes are on the way for ASTM’s Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (“Phase I”) standard, the almost 30-year-old lynchpin of the transactional due diligence process.  The American Society for Testing and Materials (“ASTM”) – the group that publishes the Phase I standards under the designation “ASTM E 1527” – regularly reviews and updates its standards.  The current iteration – ASTM E1527-2013 – was first published in 1993, and was amended in…
by Sean M. Sherlock Environmental justice is a principle that has been around since at least the 1990s, with roots back to the 1960s. The US EPA describes environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” While environmental justice has been a concern for many decades, few laws have…
by Mitchell J. Klein As most people are aware, various public and private entities have filed lawsuits against fossil fuel producers alleging a variety of claims that seek to enjoin behavior and obtain damages as a result of the defendants’ contributions toward climate change. But the question arises as to whether the plaintiffs will be satisfied in suing only the producers of the fossil fuels. Anyone involved in the entire supply chain is a potential…
by Patrick J. Paul On February 23, 2021 the US Air Force issued a press release announcing its distribution of bottled water to homeowners and businesses immediately east of Luke Air Force Base following the discovery of Perfluoroctanoic (PFOA) and Perfluoroctane Sulfonate (PFOS) in drinking water samples. The Air Force Civil Engineer Center recently conducted sampling at water distribution points that provide water to users in the area to determine the levels of PFOA and…
by Amanda A. Reeve The Arizona’s First Regular Session of the 55th Legislature has been moving along at a pretty fast and steady pace. A total of 40 bills have already been sent to the Governor’s desk; and 32 of those have been signed into law with the remaining eight bills under consideration. These bills were fast tracked through the process because most of them were close to being sent to the Governor’s desk last…
by Sean M. Sherlock The South Coast Air Quality Management District (“SCAQMD”) is pursuing a new rule to regulate distribution warehouses. The SCAQMD’s focus is not on emissions generated by the warehouses or their equipment. Rather, its focus is on emissions from the trucks that make deliveries and pickups at these facilities. Proposed Rule 2305 is known as an “indirect source” rule, because it regulates facilities which are indirect sources of air pollutants. They are…