Latham's Clean Energy Law Report

California Air Resources Board Releases Draft Scoping Plan Update

Posted in California, Environmental Regulation

The Draft 2022 Scoping Plan Update takes an all-of-the-above approach to decarbonize California.

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Brian McCall

On May 10, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released its Draft 2022 Scoping Plan Update for public review and comment. Originally, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 required CARB to develop a scoping plan, to be updated every five years, that describes the approach California will take to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to achieve the goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Subsequently, Senate Bill 32 strengthened the state’s GHG emissions reductions target to at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and former Governor Jerry Brown’s Executive Order B-55-18 established a second statewide goal to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible, and no later than 2045. Recognizing the need to achieve GHG emissions reductions more quickly, in July 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom directed CARB to accelerate efforts to achieve the state’s climate stabilization and GHG reduction goals, including to “identify a pathway for achieving carbon neutrality a full decade earlier than the existing target of 2045.” The Draft Scoping Plan Update identifies CARB’s proposed path for how California can reach both its interim goal of reducing GHGs by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and its ultimate goal of carbon neutrality by 2045 along with pathways that would achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. Continue Reading

White House Announces New Initiatives and Guidance on Clean Energy Transition

Posted in Environmental Regulation

CCUS and clean hydrogen will play a significant role in the Administration’s efforts to address hard-to-decarbonize industries to promote clean US manufacturing.

By Janice Schneider, Nikki Buffa, and Kevin Homrighausen

On February 15, 2022, the White House announced important actions in furtherance of the Biden Administration’s broader decarbonization goals — this time with an eye toward clean domestic manufacturing. Framing the rollout, the White House released a fact sheet highlighting the Administration’s efforts for a “Cleaner Industrial Sector to Reduce Emissions and Reinvigorate American Manufacturing,” including “Buy Clean,” hydrogen, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) announcements.

These efforts include kicking off multibillion-dollar hydrogen funding opportunities provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) and new draft guidance from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) titled Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration Guidance to assist federal agencies with the regulation and permitting of CCUS projects.

As more companies jockey for position and federal funding on both clean hydrogen and CCUS, the announcements are timed to provide critical guidance on these emerging areas of opportunity. Continue Reading

President Biden Outlines Comprehensive Plan for Federal Sustainability

Posted in Environmental Regulation

The president’s executive order aims to use the US government’s procurement power to achieve “carbon pollution-free electricity” by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.

By Jennifer Roy and Julie Miles

On December 8, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability (EO), which aims to set the federal government — the largest purchaser in the country with an annual purchasing power of $650 billion — on a path to net zero emissions by 2050. The EO establishes the following policies as part of a whole-of-government strategy. Continue Reading

Regional US Transportation & Climate Initiative Program Comes to an End

Posted in Uncategorized

A multistate cap-and-invest program to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector is dead after several participating states pulled out.

By Jean-Philippe Brisson, Joshua T. Bledsoe, Benjamin Einhouse, and Brian McCall

Less than one year ago, the governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, as well as the mayor of the District of Columbia, announced that their respective jurisdictions would establish the Transportation & Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) and released a memorandum of understanding (MOU) describing the agreed-upon principles for adoption and implementation of a regional program aimed at reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector. But in the past two weeks, three of the four jurisdictions that signed the MOU have pulled out, effectively terminating the TCI-P. Continue Reading

California and Key Stakeholders Join Warehouse Regulation Lawsuit

Posted in California, Environmental Litigation

The State and eNGOs seek to defend an emissions rule that trucking and airline trade groups are challenging in federal court.

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Jennifer Garlock

On October 13, 2021, the State of California, on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General and the California Air Resources Board (CARB, and together, the State), filed a motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit challenging the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD or the District) adoption of Rule 2305. Rule 2305 is the Warehouse Indirect Source Rule (ISR) – Warehouse Actions and Investments to Reduce Emissions (WAIRE) Program. Plaintiff, the California Trucking Association (CTA), filed a complaint in the US District Court for the Central District of California on August 5, 2021, to which the District filed an answer on October 7, 2021.[i] In addition to the State, Airlines for America filed a motion to intervene as a proposed plaintiff, while a group of environmental NGOs seek to intervene as proposed defendants. Each proposed intervenor is discussed further below. Continue Reading

CEQ Issues Report to Congress on CCUS

Posted in Environmental Regulation

CEQ report calls for widespread CCUS deployment to achieve climate goals.

By Joshua T. Bledsoe, Nikki Buffa, and Nolan Fargo

On June 30, 2021, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued a report to Congress that outlines a framework for how the US can accelerate carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) technologies and projects in a way that is efficient, orderly, and responsible.

Identifying CCUS Needs

The report, which Congress directed CEQ to prepare as part of the USE IT Act, states that to successfully increase CCUS deployment, strong and effective permitting and regulatory regimes and meaningful public engagement will be required. These measures include:

  • Developing regulatory regimes in a manner that is informed by science and experience
  • Addressing pollution in overburdened communities
  • Increasing support for CCUS research
  • Developing and enhancing incentives such as 45Q Tax Credits

Continue Reading

Path Forward: Why Carbon Capture Is Critical for US Oil

Posted in Energy regulatory, Energy storage, Environmental Regulation

With increasing pressure to fight climate change, scientists, and leaders agree that carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) is a cost-effective solution to meet emissions goals made under the Paris Agreement. 

In his interview with Hart Energy, Latham partner JP Brisson discusses how aggressive efforts are needed to meet the net-zero goal, but oil and gas companies are making significant progress in deploying CCUS projects at scale.

Watch the video.

Air Regulators Tackle Trucking at Southern California Warehouses

Posted in California, Environmental Regulation

A local air district approved a rule requiring warehouses to adopt clean technologies or pay a mitigation fee.

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Jennifer Garlock

At a contentious board hearing on May 7, 2021, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) approved a first-in-the-nation rule to regulate trucking emissions from warehouses by a 9-4 vote. Rule 2305, the Warehouse Indirect Source Rule (ISR), establishes the Warehouse Actions and Investments to Reduce Emissions (WAIRE) Program to reduce emissions associated with warehouse activity. The WAIRE Program essentially requires warehouse operators to take actions to electrify warehouse activities and the trucks that visit warehouses in order to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) and diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions. As previewed in a 2019 Latham blog post, despite the warehouse sector’s limited control over the types of trucks servicing its facilities (warehouses generally do not own or operate trucking fleets), the ISR imposes obligations on warehouses to indirectly reduce trucking emissions. The WAIRE Program applies to warehouses with more than 100,000 square feet of warehouse space in a single building, and will phase in over three years based on warehouse size, with the largest warehouses (i.e., more than 250,000 square feet) having the earliest compliance period. Continue Reading

TCI Program Established to Reduce Carbon Emissions From Transportation

Posted in California, Energy regulatory, Environmental Regulation

The program will include a multi-jurisdictional cap-and-invest program and aims to address environmental justice and equity concerns.

By Jean-Philippe Brisson, Joshua T. Bledsoe, Benjamin Einhouse, and Brian McCall

On December 21, 2020, the Governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, as well as the Mayor of the District of Columbia, announced that their respective jurisdictions would establish the Transportation & Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) and released a memorandum of understanding (MOU) describing the agreed-upon principles for adoption and implementation of the TCI-P. While not part of the MOU, the states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina released a statement signaling their desire to work with the states party to the MOU and the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) in general. On March 1, 2021, the TCI released draft Model Rules for public review. Once finalized, the Model Rules are intended to be adapted for use by each TCI-P signatory jurisdiction via state-specific rulemaking processes. Continue Reading

CEQA Case Report: 2020 Year in Review

Posted in California, CEQA, Environmental Litigation, Environmental Regulation

Public agencies prevailed in 68% of CEQA cases analyzed.

By James L. Arnone, Daniel P. Brunton, Nikki Buffa, Marc T. Campopiano, and Winston P. Stromberg

Latham & Watkins is pleased to present its fourth annual CEQA Case Report. Throughout 2020 Latham lawyers reviewed each of the 34 California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) appellate cases, whether published or unpublished. Below is a compilation of the information distilled from that annual review and a discussion of the patterns that emerged. Latham’s webcast discussing this publication and the key CEQA cases and trends of 2020 is available here. Continue Reading

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