A key building block of U.S. government is how administrative agencies interpret their own regulations. Because this question is so fundamental to the entire regulated community, we have blogged about administrative deference generally and the Kisor case specifically. The Supreme Court affirmed the long-standing judicial tenet of administrative deference to agencies’ interpretation of their own regulations this week. In doing so, however, the majority cautioned against a laissez faire application of deference, emphasizing that courts must carefully and explicitly consider the specific criteria established under Auer v. Robbins before deferring to an agency’s interpretation of its own regulation. Continue Reading Supreme Court Punts Larger Key Administrative Deference Issues Until Later

Everyone knows that environmental cleanups are complicated. Sites can be geographically vast and varied, involve operations that have released chemicals over decades, and goal posts for how and what should be investigated, characterized, and – if necessary – remediated can change over time. The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in a case that could potentially throw remediation efforts at Superfund sites around the country – as Atlantic Richfield (the petitioner) put it – into “chaos.” Continue Reading SCOTUS Will Review EPA’s Authority to Control Superfund Cleanups at Company’s Request

The EPA announced its final rule for power plant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, culminating often rancorous discussion and litigation over the EPA’s authority to regulate GHG emissions from existing coal-fired electricity generating sources. Under the new Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, the states, not the federal government, are now responsible for driving down GHG emissions from power plants. Specifically, the EPA now requires unit-specific standards of performance to be developed by the states using its new emission guideline that details the “best system of emission reduction.” Continue Reading EPA’s Final Power Plant Greenhouse Gas Rule Shifts Emissions Regulation to States

As investors become more interested in incorporating sustainability into investment portfolios, many project proponents find that incorporating ESG into infrastructure planning provides a “leg up” in securing investors and financing. An ESG disclosure, or an “environment,” “social,” and “governance” framework designed to disclose risk, makes it easier for investors to match projects with their own sustainability goals. Continue Reading Project Proponents: Five Tips to Use ESG Criteria in Drawing More Infrastructure Investors

The D.C. Circuit handed down an opinion in Sierra Club v. EPA last month that tossed the Sierra Club’s challenge of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule from the Obama Administration. The result may be greater flexibility and reduced public oversight in state ambient air quality monitoring. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Court Decision Signals Reduced Public Oversight in Air Quality Monitoring

Chicago has a long list of things to be proud of, but the current state of the city’s combined sewer system infrastructure is not at the top of that list. The Chicago Public Library reports that the sewer system dates back to the 1850s and currently installed pipes may be a century old. Continue Reading Chicago’s Stormwater Inundation Presents Green Infrastructure Opportunities for Business

Integrating green remediation and sustainable practices can accelerate site cleanups, reduce costs, lower emissions of greenhouse gases, and contribute to meeting state and local renewable energy standards. Commonly used technologies like pump and treat systems may be effective but are energy intensive and expensive to maintain. Continue Reading Tips and Tricks to Reduce the Environmental Footprint of Your Cleanup

Earlier this month, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance issued a no-action letter saying that ExxonMobil could exclude a shareholder proposal that called for the disclosure of specific greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets – specifically, targets that correspond with goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement. Continue Reading SEC Says No to Shareholder Proposal, But Climate Disclosure Disputes Are Here to Stay

With city after city setting 100 percent clean energy goals and states following in lockstep, opportunities are growing for renewable energy companies to develop utility-scale projects. Project development includes the need for energy infrastructure such as transmission lines, for example. Continue Reading Executive Orders Speed Infrastructure Permitting and Create Opportunities for Utility-Scale Renewable Projects

In separate decisions, a federal district court in Alaska recently struck down two Trump Administration efforts to roll back President Obama’s environmental initiatives. Taken together, these decisions signal that citizen suits can, in some sense, limit the ability of the administration to “deregulate.” To the regulated community, these decisions should serve as a warning that we continue to be in an ever-shifting legal landscape where individual decisions can buck the current deregulatory climate. Continue Reading Signs of Potential Trouble Ahead for Trump Administration’s Deregulatory Agenda