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Category Archives: Environmental and approvals

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Air & Climate Forecast: December 2014

Latham & Watkins is pleased to present a complimentary 45-minute webcast on Thursday, December 11 at 9:00 am pacific/12:00 pm eastern. The webcast is presented by the Air Quality and Climate Change Practice and will address the following current air quality and climate change regulatory and policy updates: Implications of EPA’s Newly Proposed Ozone Standard EPA’s Aggressive … Continue Reading

CARB Invalidates Offsets for Facility’s Alleged RCRA Noncompliance

By Claudia O’Brien and Bart Kempf On November 14, 2014, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a final determination invalidating almost 89,000 previously-issued offset credits due to CARB’s conclusion that the facility at issue failed to comply with a permit issued under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).[1]  CARB reached this conclusion even … Continue Reading

Climate Action Plan for San Diego County Struck Down Under CEQA by Court of Appeal for Failure to Comply with Requirements for Plan Level Documents and Failure to Adequately Mitigate Associated GHG Impacts

By Chris Garrett, Daniel Brunton, Taiga Takahashi, Andrew Yancey, and Natalie Rogers On October 29, 2014, the Fourth District Court of Appeal of California upheld the Sierra Club’s challenges to the County of San Diego’s (“County”) approval of a climate action plan (“CAP”) and related significance thresholds under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).  In … Continue Reading

California Low Carbon Fuel Standard Overhaul Continues

By Joshua Bledsoe, Michael Dreibelbis, Michele Leonelli, and Aron Potash I. LCFS Readoption The California Air Resources Board (“ARB”) is on the cusp of readopting the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (“LCFS”) regulation to remedy legal defects in the initial adoption process found by the California Court of Appeal on July 15, 2013.  In conjunction with the … Continue Reading

Air & Climate Forecast: November 2014

Latham & Watkins is pleased to present a complimentary 45-minute webcast on Thursday, November 13 at 9:00 am pacific/12:00 pm eastern.The webcast is presented by the Air Quality and Climate Change Practice and will address the following current air quality and climate change regulatory and policy updates: Vapor Intrusion – or EPA’s Foray into the … Continue Reading

CARB Proposes Invalidating Offset Credits for Facility’s Alleged RCRA Noncompliance

By Claudia O’Brien and Bart Kempf For the first time since California established its cap-and-trade market for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has proposed canceling over 230,000 tons of offset credits due to a facility’s alleged potential failure to comply with unrelated environmental laws.[1]  CARB is proposing the invalidation even … Continue Reading

Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan to Streamline Permitting for 20,000 Megawatts of Renewable Energy

By Jennifer Roy, Marc Campopiano and Joshua T. Bledsoe On September 23, 2014, the California Energy Commission (“CEC”), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”), US Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), and US Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS”) for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Holds that Texas Public Utility Commission Can Limit Ability of Intermittent Wind Generators to Sell Their Power Under PURPA As “Firm Power,” Contrary to FERC and District Court

By Michael J. Gergen and Tyler Brown On September 8, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (“Fifth Circuit”), in a 2-1 decision, reversed an opinion by the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (“District Court”) and held that the Public Utility Commission of Texas (“PUCT”) acted within … Continue Reading

RFS Update: EPA Indefinitely Extends 2013 RFS Compliance Deadlines, Final 2014 RFS Still Awaited

By Ann Claassen As reported in a previous blog, EPA in June extended the compliance and attest engagement reporting deadlines for the 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to September 30, 2014 and January 30, 2015 (respectively). Today, EPA published a direct final rule that indefinitely extends reporting deadlines. 79 Fed. Reg. 46353 (Aug. 8, 2014) … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Denied Certiorari Regarding the Constitutionality of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard

By JP Brisson, Joshua Bledsoe and Michael Dreibelbis Today, the US Supreme Court denied certiorari regarding the constitutionality of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey.  The Court’s decision effectively affirms the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling that the LCFS does not facially violate the dormant … Continue Reading

FERC Conditionally Accepts CAISO and PacifiCorp Proposals to Implement a Regional Energy Imbalance Market in Western States

By Michael J. Gergen, Jared W. Johnson, and David E. Pettit On June 19, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) conditionally accepted revisions to the California Independent System Operator Corporation’s (“CAISO”) FERC Electric Tariff to implement the CAISO’s proposed Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”) that will allow neighboring balancing area authorities (“BAAs”) in … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Allows to Stand Ruling That Sources of Air Pollutants are Subject to State Common Law Tort Claims

By Michael G. Romey, Aron Potash and Gregory Fuoco (summer clerk) On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not review a decision by the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit allowing state common law tort claims against sources of air pollutants.  This spells uncertainty for emitters, who now must look … Continue Reading

State Water Quality Control Board to Consider General Waste Discharge Requirements for Recycled Water Use on June 3, 2014

By Julia E. Stein and John C. Heintz On June 3, 2014, partially in response to lingering drought conditions throughout the state, the California State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) will consider adopting a “general” waste discharge requirements (“WDR”) permit for the use of treated recycled water for non-potable uses such as agricultural irrigation, landscape irrigation, … Continue Reading

Waters of the United States Proposed Rule

By Paul Singarella, Claudia O’Brien and David Amerikaner The proposed rule to revise the definition of “waters of the United States” under the federal Clean Water Act, which originally was announced on March 25, 2014 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), formally was published in the Federal … Continue Reading

White House Announces Methane Reduction Strategy

By Joel Mack, Eli Hopson and Ben Lawless On March 28, 2014 the White House announced its Methane Reduction Strategy  (“MRS”) containing the broad outlines of a multi-agency strategy to reduce methane emissions  from four major sources: the oil and gas industry, cattle and dairy farming, coal mining, and  landfills. The MRS is part of … Continue Reading

Federal Approval of Tule Wind Project Upheld in District Court on NEPA, Migratory Bird Act, and Bald & Golden Eagle Act Claims

By Christopher W. Garrett, Daniel P. Brunton and Taiga Takahashi On March 25, 2014, in The Protect Our Communities Foundation et al. v. Jewell et al. [Click here to view the opinion], the US District Court for the Southern District of California issued a decision on a challenge to the Tule Wind Project and found in … Continue Reading

Court of Appeal Confirms AB 32 Target Is Proper CEQA Significance Threshold

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Christopher W. Garrett The strongly worded opinion in Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Case Number B245131)(CBD v. CDFW) by the Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District has confirmed that analyzing a project’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) … Continue Reading

Decision on Cape Wind Offshore Wind Farm

By Christopher W. Garrett, Daniel P. Brunton and Taiga Takahashi On March 14, 2014, in Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility et al. v. Beaudreu et al. [click here to view opinion], the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision on multiple challenges to the Cape Wind Offshore Wind Farm based on alleged violations of … Continue Reading

Navigating Climate Regulation on Dual Tracks: Experts Discuss the Promises and Pitfalls of AB 32 and the Clean Air Act

By Andrew H. Meyer The United States has no comprehensive climate legislation for regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  But in recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has acted under its existing Clean Air Act (CAA) authority to regulate GHG emissions from mobile sources, and is in the process of formulating and finalizing a number of … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Upholds NEPA and NHPA Analysis for Hawaii High-Speed Rail System

By Christopher Garrett, Daniel Brunton and Andrew Yancey  On February 18, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and the Department of Transportation Act to the Federal Transit Administration’s approval of a 20-mile high-speed rail project through downtown Honolulu, Hawaii.  … Continue Reading

Air & Climate Forecast: January 2014

Latham & Watkins is pleased to present a complimentary 45-minute webcast on Wednesday, January 22 at 9:00 am pacific/12:00 pm eastern. The webcast is presented by the Air Quality and Climate Change Practice and will address the following current air quality and climate change regulatory and policy updates: Implications of the recently released 2012 data … Continue Reading

Court Orders California Department of Public Health to Issue Final Chromium-6 Regulations by Spring 2014

By Michael S. Feeley, John C. Heintz, Bobbi-Jo Dobush and James J. Chang On December 17, 2013, Judge Evelio Grillo of the Alameda County Superior Court ordered the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to finalize regulations establishing drinking water standards for hexavalent chromium (Cr-6) by Spring 2014.  The court held that CDPH must submit … Continue Reading

Ocotillo Wind-Energy Project Prevails in NEPA and Migratory Bird Treaty Act Challenges

By Christopher Garrett, Daniel Brunton, and Taiga Takahashi On November 6, 2013, in The Protect Our Communities Foundation v. Salazar, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California rejected a challenge to the Ocotillo wind-energy project based on the National Environmental Policy Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Court’s holding on … Continue Reading

Secretary’s Order Encourages Mitigation Efficiency and Predictability for Infrastructure Development Projects on Federal Lands

By Laura Godfrey Zagar and Andrew Yancey On October 31, 2013, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell issued Order No. 3330 to establish a Department-wide mitigation strategy that focuses on mitigation opportunities at the landscape level.  Order No. 3330 is part of a larger effort required by President Obama’s May 17, 2013 Memorandum for all federal agencies … Continue Reading
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