Latham's Clean Energy Law Report

Tag Archives: NEPA

U.S. Army Corps Reissues Fifty Existing and Two New Nationwide Permits

By Janice Schneider, Joel Beauvais, Stacey VanBelleghem, Jennifer Roy, and Francesca Bochner On March 19, 2017, 52 new or reissued nationwide permits (NWPs) for discharges into “waters of the United States,” issued pursuant to Section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act went into effect. The … Continue Reading

US Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Eagle Rule Revision

By Sara Orr, Jennifer Roy and Francesca Bochner On December 14, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) finalized its proposed revisions to the Eagle Rule (Final Rule) and released its Record of Decision (ROD). The Final Rule allows companies and others to obtain 30-year incidental take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection … Continue Reading

US Fish and Wildlife Service Moves Forward With Proposed Eagle Rule Revision

By Sara Orr, Jennifer Roy and Francesca Bochner On July 5, 2016, the public comment period closed for the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) proposed revisions to the rules authorizing eagle take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act) and accompanying Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), paving the way for … 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

US Court of Appeals Affirms District Court Judgment Upholding Federal Approval of Tule Wind Project on NEPA, Migratory Bird Act, and Bald & Golden Eagle Act Claims

By Christopher Garrett, Daniel Brunton and Taiga Takahashi On June 6, 2016, in Backcountry Against Dumps et al. v. Jewell et al., the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court for the Southern District of California upholding federal approvals for the Tule Wind Project. The Court of … 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Council on Environmental Quality Releases Handbooks Intended to Streamline NEPA Reviews with NHPA and CEQA Reviews

By Janice Schneider, Andrea Hogan, and Adam Thomas On March 5, 2013, the Council on Environmental Quality released two handbooks designed to streamline the review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) — one focuses on coordination between NEPA and the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”), and the other on NEPA and the California … Continue Reading

Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility Project Also Survives Challenge to the Project’s Scientific Studies

By Taiga Takahashi In previous commentary, we have noted the importance of a well-developed administrative record in project approval in risk management, controlling the potential for delay, and in project-related litigation. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California recently affirmed this general principle in rejecting a broad-based challenge by an environmental group … Continue Reading

Court Strikes Down Quechan Tribe’s Challenges to the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility Project

By Janice M. Schneider and Andrea M. Hogan On February 27, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California rejected the Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation’s (“Quechan Tribe”) suit challenging the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility Project (the “Project”), a wind energy project in the Sonoran Desert in California.  See Quechan … Continue Reading

Federal Government Agrees to Revise West-Wide Energy Corridor Plan to Facilitate Renewable Energy

By Taiga Takahashi In early July, the Federal Government agreed to review and revise the West-wide Energy Corridor Plan to settle a lawsuit[1] brought by environmental groups in 2009 challenging the Energy Corridor Plan under NEPA, the FLPMA, and the ESA. The original version of the Energy Corridor Plan designated energy corridors across 11 western … Continue Reading

EPA Introduces Interactive Web-Based Geographic Information System

By Taiga Takahashi The U.S. EPA recently opened access to NEPAssist, an online Geographic Information System program that “facilitates the environmental review process and project planning in relation to environmental considerations” under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental assessment statutes. The program is available at the EPA website and is open to … Continue Reading

Proposed Reforms to Bureau of Indian Affairs Surface Leasing Regulations Could Encourage Wind and Solar Resource Development on Indian Land

By Janice Schneider and Stacey VanBelleghem The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has proposed significant reforms to its current regulations for non-agricultural surface leases on Indian land.  76 Fed. Reg. 73784 (Nov. 29, 2011).  The proposed regulations include new provisions expressly governing Wind Energy Evaluation Leases (WELs) and Wind and Solar Resource (WSR) Leases and … Continue Reading

Federal Government Seeks to Establish a Competitive Process for Leasing Public Lands for Solar and Wind Energy Development

By Janice Schneider and Joshua Marnitz Last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published in the Federal Register an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking outlining a competitive process for leasing public lands for solar and wind energy development.  76 Fed. Reg. 81906 (December 29, 2011).  BLM believes that a competitive process will better enable … Continue Reading

Roadblock to California Greenhouse Gas Cap and Trade Program Removed, but Others Remain

By Michael Feeley and Aron Potash A lawsuit which delayed and once threatened to dismantle California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) cap and trade scheme was largely resolved last week, removing one roadblock to California’s plan to be the first state to impose an economy-wide GHG trading program.  Under modified regulations adopted by the California Air Resources … Continue Reading
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