Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Analyzing the critical energy and environmental issues of the day

A reminder that new Prop 65 regulations become effective the end of this month and some key changes may directly affect online on-product warnings, internet sales, catalog sales and even on-TV sales.  The new regulations are explicit about the timing of the warning. Warnings must now be given prior to completion of the sale, not just prior to the exposure. This new timing has online sellers, resellers, and even TV sales programming scrambling to make…
In a tweet released August 6, President Trump offered his analysis of how to combat the ongoing human and ecological tragedy of one worst fire seasons of record. The president then directed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to take action to free up all that wasted water and solve the fire problem, which the Secretary dutifully did. On August 8, Secretary Ross directed NOAA Fisheries, the agency within the Department of Commerce that implements the…
On August 1, 2018 the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) issued a proposed decision that would adopt tweaks to the methodology used to calculate the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (“PCIA”) — the “exit fee” charged by California’s large investor-owned utilities (“IOUs”) on customers who begin taking electric service from community choice aggregation programs (“CCAs”). While the proposed decision would adopt short-term changes to make the PCIA calculation more accurate and equitable, it would defer developing…
Energy project developers interested in securing qualifying facility (QF) contracts in California for small power projects of 20 MWs or less may soon have new commercial opportunities because of a new Order Instituting Rulemaking issued on August 1 by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). A wide range of power projects can qualify as QFs, including solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric, and co-generation facilities. The new rulemaking will focus on the CPUC’s implementation of the…
On August 2, 2018, after many months of public rhetoric from the administration and the states, EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sought comment on a joint proposal to modify the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards for years 2021-2025. The Trump administration’s preferred modification would be a freeze on the standards at 2020 levels, but some alternatives are offered for comment. The administration also intends to revoke the waiver granted to…
On Monday, July 24, 2018, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a memorandum prohibiting BLM from requiring “compensatory mitigation” projects, except where specifically mandated by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). BLM will consider “voluntary proposals for compensatory mitigation,” but will not accept monetary payments as compensatory mitigation. “Compensatory mitigation” is defined as mitigation off site, so the memorandum does not address mitigation required on the project site itself. In issuing the…
The EPA Superfund Task Force was commissioned by then Administrator Scott Pruitt to develop recommendations for sweeping changes to the Superfund process to provide more clarity and efficiency to the process. The task force issued a long list of recommendations in July 2017 and EPA recently issued a report documenting the status of EPA’s implementation of the task force’s recommendations. EPA reports that it has completed 27 percent of the task force recommendations, but the…
Last Friday, the D.C. Circuit torpedoed a hydroelectric license issued in 2013 to Alabama Power Company because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) “declined to factor in the decades of environmental damage already wrought by exploitation of the waterway for power generation and that damage’s continuing ecological effects.” In doing so, the court rejected FERC’s attempt to follow its longstanding practice of limiting environmental review of past…
On June 11, the Supreme Court issued a one-sentence order affirming the Ninth Circuit’s 2016 judgment in United States v. State of Washington. In that case, the federal government sued Washington on behalf of several Indian tribes, asserting that culverts constructed by the state over decades blocked salmon runs for which the tribes held treaty fishing rights. The Court of Appeals ordered Washington to repair or replace the offending culverts. The Supreme Court split…
What meets the standard today may not meet the standard in 12 weeks. On August 30, 2018, California’s “safe harbor” Proposition 65 warnings are changing, increasing the information needed for those warnings and  imposing specific requirements on newly regulated industries, classes of products and internet sales. We’ve previously posted on this upcoming change. For more information on how to ensure compliance, click here.    …