Last week, a federal district court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to complete its “risk and technology review” of existing hazardous air pollutant (HAP) rules for 20 industrial sectors within three years.  The order comes in response to a lawsuit filed by environmentalists arguing that EPA is years overdue in completing reviews required by

Yesterday, the EPA withdrew its request seeking data from the oil and gas industry on methane emissions from existing oil and gas operations, effective March 2, 2017.  The 2016 information collection request (ICR) required more than 15,000 owners and operators to provide detailed information about types of equipment, methane sources and emission control devices or practices at oil and gas facilities in the United States.  In a brief notice, EPA stated its desire to assess the need for the information targeted by the ICR and reduce burdens on businesses while assessing that need.  EPA also highlighted the receipt of a letter from nine state Attorneys General and the Governors of Mississippi and Kentucky expressing their concerns with the burdens imposed on businesses by the ICR.
Continue Reading EPA Withdraws Oil & Gas Methane Information Request

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reinstated an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcement action against DTE Energy (DTE) for violating the New Source Review (NSR) program under the Clean Air Act.  This case stems from capital projects undertaken at DTE’s Monroe Power Plant in Monroe, Michigan during a three-month scheduled outage in 2010.  DTE had characterized the projects performed during the 2010 outage as routine maintenance, repair and replacement activities, which, if accurate, would exempt them from NSR.

Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Ruling Reinforces EPA’s Ability to Initiate NSR Enforcement Based on Projected Emissions Increases

On January 31, President Trump announced his nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.  Judge Gorsuch, 49, graduated from Harvard Law School and clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White and current Justice Anthony Kennedy.  Since 2006, Judge Gorsuch has served on  the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado.

Continue Reading President Trump Nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

On January 24th, President Trump issued a memorandum to reduce permitting and regulatory burdens for domestic manufacturing by directing executive agencies to support the expansion of manufacturing in the United States through expedited reviews and approvals of proposals to construct or expand manufacturing facilities.
Continue Reading President Trump Issues Memorandum Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing

On January 24, President Donald J. Trump signed presidential memoranda jumpstarting the stalled Keystone XL (“Keystone”) and Dakota Access (“Dakota”) pipelines.  President Obama previously rejected TransCanda Corp’s application for a permit to cross the United States-Canadian border, finding at the time that the 1,700-mile pipeline was not in the national interest.  The United States Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) similarly decided  last month that it would not issue an easement allowing the Dakota pipeline to cross federal land in North Dakota, opting instead to consider alternative routes to reduce environmental and cultural impacts to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Continue Reading President Trump Issues Presidential Memoranda Backing Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines

On December 14, 2016, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) finalized revisions to its regulations for nonpurposeful (or incidental) take of eagles and eagles nests under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (“Eagle Act”).  According to FWS, the rule is intended to balance clean energy development and eagle conservation goals.  FWS acknowledges the Obama Administration’s efforts to expand wind energy development and how the accompanying growth has impacted eagles, but emphasizes its belief that wind energy development does not pose a disproportionate risk to eagles as compared to other activities that may incidentally take eagles.  FWS’s revisions are clearly drafted with the wind industry in mind.

Continue Reading Fish and Wildlife Finalizes Helpful Revisions to Eagle Take Permit Regulations