In May 2021, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) finalized a report containing toxicological profiles and associated Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs) for several perfluoroalkyls (PFAS), a family of chemicals marked by their persistence in the environment, bioaccumulation in human and animal tissue, and toxicity at extremely low levels (in the parts per trillion).[1] You may have seen PFAS flagged as contaminants of concern at sites across the country or seen…
If you’ve been involved with an energy project in Ohio any time in the last several decades, you may well already be familiar with the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA), which marks its 50th anniversary this year.[1] But for two important reasons, the OAQDA may become a lot more prominent over the next year. The OAQDA was established in 1971 under Ohio Revised Code (R.C.) Chapter 3706 to help the state meet the…
Update 7/16/2020: On July 6, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court significantly narrowed the scope of the District Court’s injunction by staying the order except as applied to the Keystone XL pipeline, pending resolution of the appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  This ruling puts NWP 12 back in effect as a basis to authorize utility line work, and also gives the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers some breathing room to…
Economic fluctuations bring about a number of difficult decisions for businesses operating in mining and energy industries in the form of staffing levels, production capacity increases or reductions, areas of expansion or contraction, supply chain challenges and overall business strategies.  With the current rollercoaster that commodity prices are on, in light of the demand ebbs and flows associated with the COVID-19 crisis, one common question in the industry is what are the options for a…
It may be 2020, but some big issues have carried over from the last decade at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, including the question of what the Commission will do to facilitate customer and third-party access to AMI (or “smart meter”) electricity consumption data.  As avid followers of the PUCO (all 14 of us) will remember, the state is heading toward near-universal AMI rollout for most of its investor-owned utilities.  Accordingly, a key focus…
On November 12, 2019, more than 300 employees at the BLM’s headquarters in Washington D.C. received letters saying they had 30 days to decide whether to move to Grand Junction, Colorado, or other regional offices, or lose their jobs.  For those electing to keep their jobs, they were given 90 days to move.  Consequently, on its current trajectory, the BLM headquarters in D.C. will be liquidated, decentralized, and relocated by the end of March in…
On October 7, 2019, Ohio’s newly promulgated net metering rule[1] takes effect.  This concludes a rule revision process dating back to 2012, although another iteration is possible after the conclusion of a pending Ohio Supreme Court appeal.[2]  For now, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has resolved a number of important issues regarding net metering[3]: Sizing:  Existing law requires a net metering system to be “intended primarily to offset…
Ohio’s longstanding energy policy debate came to a (temporary) conclusion on July 23, 2019, when Governor Mike DeWine (R) signed House Bill (HB) 6 into law.  The bill will have significant consequences for existing electricity resources in the region, as well as Ohio’s renewable portfolio standard and energy efficiency programs.  Of course, that’s only if HB 6 survives a referendum vote.  With the initial paperwork approved as of August 29, 2019, the opponents now have…
As the renewable energy industry continues to grow and alternative forms of clean energy (wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, biomass, etc.) proliferate nationwide, state lawmakers are more-than-ever discussing comprehensive approaches to energy policy.  Indeed, states across the country are rapidly reconsidering the diverse array of laws that impact energy developers / public utilities, including those related to the tax treatment of renewable energy facilities.   This article in particular focuses on Ohio’s property tax laws as applied…
In an effort to maintain nuclear generation, some States resorted to zero emission credits (ZECS), providing subsidies on the basis that such were necessary for “reliability” and energy mix.[i] Lacking an overall energy plan (either nationally or locally), the issue has become whether the wholesale electric generation market is competitive (as envisioned by the Energy Policy Act (“EPA”) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”))[ii] or remains subject to parochial regulation. The Electric Power…