Category Archives: Air

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EPA Jobs Review Mandate Win May Have Sweeping Industry Impact

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently overturned a lower court’s order for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a study of air pollution rules’ impact on jobs, and it has broad ramifications across industries. The Fourth Circuit’s ruling in Murray Energy Corp. v. Adm’r EPA may impact the scope of … Continue Reading

Methane Rule Litigation Creates Uncertainty for Oil and Gas Companies

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently denied the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed delay of an Obama-era rule that limits methane emissions from new oil and gas equipment, sending oil and gas companies scrambling to immediately ensure compliance with the rule to avoid any enforcement actions.… Continue Reading

Are We Facing the Decline of Chevron Deference and an Article III Renaissance?

In February, presidential advisor Steve Bannon stated that a primary goal of the Trump administration was the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” One feature of the administrative state is “administrative deference,” which involves courts deferring to federal agencies’ interpretations of federal statutes – a topic that we have discussed repeatedly in the past few months, … Continue Reading

Oregon Federal Court Allows Children’s Climate Change Suit to Proceed

On November 10, 2016, a federal district court in Oregon allowed litigation to proceed against the federal government based on its alleged failure to protect future generations against the threat of climate change. See Juliana v. United States, No. 15-1517, 2016 WL 6661146 (D. Or. Nov. 10, 2016). The decision represents the first time a court … Continue Reading

EPA Must Examine Effects of Clean Air Act Regulations on Jobs

Under a recent summary judgment decision from a federal district judge, the EPA must continuously examine the effects that certain Clean Air Act (CAA) regulations have on employment in the coal industry specifically and other industries more broadly. This means the EPA will be subject to increased requirements before taking action under the CAA. The ruling … Continue Reading

Methane Rule Update—Industry and Environmental Groups Seek Reconsideration

As we previously wrote on this blog, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized New Source Performance Standards for methane emissions from the oil and gas industry on June 3, 2016. Both industry and environmental groups later submitted petitions for reconsideration of certain aspects of these New Source Performance Standards (the Methane Rule), which are now … Continue Reading

EPA Updates Cross-State Air Pollution Rule for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS

On September 7, 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule updating the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) ozone season trading program.  The rule promulgates more stringent ozone season NOx budgets in several states.  CSAPR was promulgated to implement the “good neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act, which requires states … Continue Reading

EPA Denies Petitions to Review Startup and Shutdown Issues under MATS and Utility NSPS

On August 5, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied two petitions by environmental and industry groups to reconsider startup and shutdown issues under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule and the Utility New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). These regulations, finalized in February 2012, impose operational requirements to minimize emissions during periods of … Continue Reading

Recap: Climate Action Plan Nears Completion

In 2013, President Obama issued the Climate Action Plan. Its goal: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a broad range of economic sectors. Moreover, the Climate Action Plan is the key set of initiatives necessary to achieve the United  States’ GHG reduction commitment set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement, an international accord. We covered … Continue Reading

Coming Down the Pipeline: New Methane Emissions Limits

On May 12, 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a pre-publication version of a final rule that sets the first-ever federal limits on methane emissions for new, reconstructed, and modified oil and gas sources. The Methane Rule aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the oil and gas industry in two ways: … Continue Reading

Climate Change Regulation – Locally Grown

International agreements like the Paris Climate Agreement and federal regulations like the Clean Power Plan dominate news reports about climate change.  But cities are increasingly taking the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  In fact, many U.S. cities have set emissions reduction targets that are far more aggressive than federal goals.  For example, the Chicago … Continue Reading

Environmental Groups Challenge EPA Refinery Rule

Environmental groups continue their attack on long-standing rule provisions under the Clean Air Act that limit or exclude liability related to “startup, shutdown, and malfunction” events. Historically, USEPA has acknowledged that it may be impracticable, if not impossible, for industry to meet emissions standards during certain periods, including during startup, shutdown or malfunction events, when … Continue Reading

BLM Targets “Waste” in the Oil and Gas Industry

On January 22, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed a new rule targeting oil and gas producers on federal and Indian lands. The rule aims to reduce waste of natural gas by limiting flaring, prohibiting venting, and requiring operators to identify and repair leaks. Additionally, the proposal would grant BLM discretion to increase … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Holds Diligent Prosecution Bar Does Not Preclude Jurisdiction for Citizen Suit

On January 6, 2016, the Third Circuit held that the Clean Air Act’s diligent prosecution bar cannot be the basis for a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  Instead, the bar requires citizen suits under the Act to be dismissed for failure to state a claim. Group Against Smog & Pollution v. Shenango, … Continue Reading

EPA Proposes CSAPR Update Rule Requiring Additional NOx Reductions in 23 States

On November 16, 2015, the United States EPA proposed updates to the Cross State Air Pollution Rule. These updates would require more stringent nitrogen oxide reductions from power plants in 23 states. EPA also proposes to address nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide requirements for 11 states whose original reduction requirements were remanded to EPA following … Continue Reading

EPA’s Clean Power Plan Published in the Federal Register

On October 23, 2015, EPA published the long-awaited Clean Power Plan in the Federal Register.  The published rules include the Existing Source Performance Standards and the New, Modified, and Reconstructed Source Performance Standards.  In those rules, EPA established carbon dioxide (CO2) emission performance rates representing the Best System of Emission Reduction (BSER) for existing, modified, … Continue Reading

Climate Action Plan Takes Shape

The summer of 2015 saw several controversial EPA rulemaking proceedings that will affect the energy, transportation, waste management and construction sectors across the United States.  These rulemakings implement President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan, which has a goal of  reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to mitigate the impacts of climate change.… Continue Reading
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