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Category Archives: Environmental and approvals

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Carbon Trading: A New Dawn in China

By Paul Davies and R. Andrew Westgate This document is a translation of the recently released Tentative Measures for the Administration of Trading of Carbon Emissions Rights promulgated by the National Reform and Development Commission (“NDRC”) on December 10, 2014.  As discussed in a recent article by Latham & Watkins partner Paul Davies, this development represents the … Continue Reading

Low Carbon Fuel Standard Overview

Joshua Bledsoe and Michael Dreibelbis of Latham & Watkins, recently co- wrote a LCFS Fact Sheet with the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). The article is available on IETA’s website and below: The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (aka Assembly Bill 32 or “AB 32″) mandates a reduction in California statewide greenhouse gas … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Orders California’s First Mandatory Water Restrictions

By Paul Singarella, Lucas Quass and John Morris On Wednesday April 1, 2015, in the wake of the state’s four-year drought and a winter that brought record-low snowfalls, Governor Brown issued an executive order mandating statewide water use restrictions for the first time in California’s history (the “Executive Order”).  The Executive Order follows on the … Continue Reading

Legislature Approves $1 Billion Drought Relief Legislation; Governor Brown Expected to Sign

By Paul Singarella, Daniel Brunton and Lucas Quass California Legislature Enacts Bill Package on Drought  On Thursday March 26, 2015, the California Legislature adopted legislation which it describes as allocating approximately $1 billion to emergency drought relief in the state.  As more than 50 percent of the new appropriations target flood control, it remains to … Continue Reading

Don’t Skip the Credits: The Oft-Overlooked Importance of Air Emission Credits in Mergers and Acquisitions

By Michael Scott Feeley and Aron Potash There is no shortage of environmental matters to navigate when buying a company or facility.  Environmental counsel must first lead a diligence effort that delineates the target’s environmental footprint and then suss out the environmental risks and liabilities attendant to the deal.  This diligence process often involves Phase … 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

Agencies Modify Strategy with Desert Renewable Energy Plan Over Concerns From Local Agencies, Industry and Environmental Groups

By Marc Campopiano, Josh Bledsoe, Jennifer Roy, and James Erselius Concerns from local agencies, industry, and environmental groups over the long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”)/Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (“DRECP”)—a renewable energy and conservation plan covering 22.5 million acres of desert located in seven Southern California counties—have caused … Continue Reading

White House Updates Draft Guidance on Climate Change Considerations in NEPA Review

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Stacey L. VanBelleghem On December 18, 2014, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released revised draft guidance on the consideration of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review.[1]  The CEQ previously issued this guidance in draft form in February 2010.[2]  Rather … Continue Reading

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
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