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California Court Rules Against Air Resources Board over LCFS but Preserves 2017 Status Quo

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Max Friedman In two recent posts, we discussed how California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) had been thrown into a state of potential upheaval by two interrelated legal challenges commonly known as POET I and POET II, including a recent oral argument before the California Court of Appeal for the … Continue Reading

California State Court Poised to Destabilize Low Carbon Fuel Standard

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Max Friedman Big changes appear to be imminent for California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). As discussed in greater detail in our recent post, the LCFS currently is the subject of two interrelated legal challenges commonly known as POET I and POET II. Here we provide an update on recent proceedings before … Continue Reading

Twin Challenges to LCFS Advance in California Courts, With Potential Implications for State’s Overall Climate Stabilization Strategy

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Max Friedman Two related cases, advancing in parallel, have the potential to upend California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), whether via full suspension of the LCFS or carving out diesel fuels from the deficit and crediting regime.[1] Both cases involve challenges by POET, LLC (POET), a South Dakota-based ethanol producer, … Continue Reading

The Department of Energy’s Simplified IIP Process Goes Into Effect in November

By Sara Orr, Bobbi-Jo Dobush and Francesca Bochner On November 28, 2016, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) simplified Integrated Interagency Pre-Application (IIP) Process will go into effect.[i] The IIP is a voluntary, pre-application process intended to streamline and improve the permitting and siting process for qualifying electric transmission projects. In an effort to increase efficiency, the … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Addresses Subsequent Review Under CEQA; Rejects Lishman “New Project” Test

By Christopher W. Garrett, David Amerikaner, Lucas I. Quass and Samantha Seikkula In an opinion by Justice Kruger, the Supreme Court of California unanimously reversed the Court of Appeal in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District, Cal. Supreme Court, Case No. S214061 (September 19, 2016). The Court … Continue Reading

White House Issues Final NEPA Guidance on Climate Change

By Joshua Bledsoe, Sara Orr and Stacey VanBelleghem On August 2, 2016, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued its final guidance for federal agencies to assess the impact of their decisions on greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and also how such decisions may be impacted by a changing climate (e.g., future sea level … Continue Reading

US FWS Announces Record of Decision Streamlining Wind Energy Permitting for the Upper Great Plains

By Sara Orr and Bobbi-Jo Dobush On July 7, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its Record of Decision (ROD) for the Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS).[1] This is the final step in a process that US FWS, along with Western Area Power Administration (Western), embarked upon in … Continue Reading

Energy Storage Gets a Boost from Federal and Private Sector Actions

By Michael Gergen, David Pettit and Tara Rice On June 16, 2016, the White House hosted a Summit on Scaling Renewable Energy and Storage with Smart Markets. As a backdrop to the Summit, the Obama Administration announced new executive actions and 33 public and private sector commitments intended to accelerate the grid integration of renewable … Continue Reading

California Energy Agencies Advance Renewable Transmission Line Planning

By Marc Campopiano, Jennifer Roy, and Francesca Bochner California energy agencies and key stakeholders have finished the first step of a statewide planning process to evaluate transmission needs in the state and the region. This process, called the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative 2.0 (RETI 2.0), will culminate in recommendations to the legislature on where to … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County (Case No. S214061)

By Christopher Garrett, Daniel Brunton and Shannon Lankenau On May 4, 2016, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District (Case No. S214061), which addresses the standard of review that applies when a lead agency decides that changes or additions … Continue Reading

6 Key Takeaways from the FWS’s Proposed Update to the Eagle Act Rules

By Sara Orr, Jennifer Roy and Francesca Bochner On May 2, 2016, the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its second attempt to revise its rules authorizing eagle take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act). The rule would extend the maximum eagle take permit term from 5 to 30 … Continue Reading

Low Carbon Fuel Standard Challenged (Again) in California State Court

By Joshua Bledsoe and Max Friedman After a lengthy process of policy review and revision, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) re-adopted the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) on September 25, 2015. The LCFS is expected to contribute approximately 20% of the statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions required by 2020 under Assembly Bill 32. … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Releases Infrastructure Permitting Guidance

By Marc Campopiano, Andrea Hogan and Joshua Marnitz On September 22, 2015, the White House, through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), issued guidance to the heads of certain federal departments and agencies[1] (the Agencies) establishing metrics for the permitting and environmental review of infrastructure projects in … Continue Reading

Legislative Update: California Passes Groundbreaking Legislation Increasing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Mandates, But Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Measures Fail

By Marc T. Campopiano, Joshua T. Bledsoe, Douglas Porter, Danny Aleshire, Jennifer Roy and Andrew Yancey The end of the California State Legislature’s regular session for the year culminated in a frenzy of action, with Assembly members scrambling to pass dozens of bills before midnight on September 12, 2015. The California Legislature voted on a package … Continue Reading

Court Limits Migratory Bird Treaty Act Applicability to Incidental Take

By Sara Orr and Jennifer Roy On September 4, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling in United States v. CITGO that a “taking” subject to prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) does not include the unintentional take of migratory birds. Reversing a district court decision and … Continue Reading

RETI 2.0: CEC and CPUC Plan for New Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative to Meet California’s Increasing Clean Energy Commitments

By Joshua T. Bledsoe, Marc T. Campopiano, and Max Friedman As California begins to turn the page on the first chapter of its efforts to combat climate change through AB 32 and to prepare for greater emissions reductions over the coming decades, the California Energy Commission (CEC) and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) are considering … Continue Reading

President Obama Announces Increased Support for Distributed Energy Projects and Eligibility of State Green Banks to Apply for DOE Loan Guarantees

By Michael J. Gergen, Joshua T. Bledsoe, David E. Pettit and Tara L. Rice President Obama recently announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Program Office (LPO) is expanding support for innovative “distributed energy projects” by adding $1 billion in available loan guarantees to support the deployment of these projects through the existing solicitations for … Continue Reading

California Energy Commission Report Projects Local Electric Reliability Deficits By 2021, Potentially Triggering The Need For New Natural Gas Power Generation

By Michael Carroll, Marc Campopiano and Max Friedman The California Energy Commission (CEC) has released an August 2015 report projecting local reliability shortfalls in the Los Angeles basin planning area as early as 2021. The deficits may require new natural gas power generation to maintain grid reliability. This finding is part of the Integrated Energy … Continue Reading

Court Rejects 30 Year Eagle Permit Rule on NEPA Grounds

Authors: Sara Orr and Jennifer Roy On August 11, 2015, the US District Court for the Northern District of California remanded a US Fish & Wildlife Service’s (FWS) 2013 final rule that had extended the maximum duration of eagle take programmatic permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act) from 5 years … Continue Reading

CAISO Takes Step to Allow Distributed Energy Resources to Compete in Wholesale Energy Markets

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Douglas K. Porter On June 10, 2015, the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) released a draft final proposal (the “Expanded Metering and Telemetry Options Phase 2, Distributed Energy Resource Provider”) that, if finalized, would represent an initial  step towards a regulatory structure that would result in distributed energy resources (“DERs”) … Continue Reading

DRECP Agencies Announce Phase I Updates

By Marc Campopiano, Joshua Bledsoe, Jennifer Roy, James Erselius Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (“DRECP”) is underway on the 9.8 million acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”). As discussed in our previous post, the four lead agencies responsible for the plan introduced a phased approach to … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Upholds City of San Jose Inclusionary Housing Set-Aside Ordinance

By Chris Garrett, Cindy Starrett and John Morris Today, the California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the City of San Jose’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, rejecting a facial constitutional challenge brought in California Building Industry Association (CBIA) v. City of San Jose (Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County et al.), S212072. The Court determined that, contrary to … Continue Reading

Bill to Streamline Federal Permitting for Major Energy and Infrastructure Projects Advances in the US Senate

By Andrea Hogan and Joshua Marnitz On May 6, 2015, the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs voted 12-1 in favor of a bill designed to streamline the Federal permitting process for major energy and infrastructure projects. The bill, first introduced in January 2015 by Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Claire McCaskill … Continue Reading

California’s Strict New Health Risk Assessment Guidelines May Increase Regulatory Burden on Industrial Uses and Development Projects

By Marc Campopiano and Max Friedman On March 6, 2015, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) updated its Guidance Manual for Preparation of Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) for the purpose of better characterizing exposure risks to children from air toxics.  Using the new Guidance Manual, HRAs are expected to estimate risks that … Continue Reading
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