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On January 31, 2024, EPA published a press release announcing the impending publication of two proposed rules relating to PFAS and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA): (1) “Definition of Hazardous Waste Applicable to Corrective Action from Solid Waste Management Units” and (2) “Listing of Specific PFAS as Hazardous Constituents.”  

Definition of Hazardous

On August 29, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its final Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.  The new WOTUS rule makes major changes to clarify which wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  The new WOTUS rule is a direct response to the Supreme Court’s Sackett v. EPA decision, which

What is “ESG”?

“ESG” is perhaps the most divisive acronym of this year’s legislative session. But what does it mean?
“Environmental, Social, Governance” is a framework used to evaluate investments and business decision’s impacts on the environment and society. ESG criteria considers things like a company’s carbon footprint and employee wellbeing. ESG practices are being

As economies pivot away from reliance on petroleum, the use of hydrogen is increasingly considered as a key component in a portfolio of alternative fuels and developing technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is the first of a multi-part blog series on federal and state legislation being considered to stimulate “energy transition.”  This blog

On May 25, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 9-0 decision ending a nearly 16-year battle over the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) applicability to certain wetlands. In a five-justice majority opinion, the Court found that the CWA applies only to wetlands that are “as a practical matter indistinguishable” from “relatively permanent, standing or continuously

The Biden administration just announced draft regulations that would require most coal-fired and gas power plants to capture and sequester up to 90 percent of their carbon emissions by the middle of the next decade, a move with the potential to transform the U.S. electricity sector and perhaps offer a boost to the fledgling domestic

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed a significant addition to its Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program—the renewable electricity RIN (eRIN). The eRIN is a new kind of renewable identification number (RIN) obligated parties could obtain to meet their renewable volume obligations and comply with the RFS program.

Under the current RFS program, obligated

We are not expecting further big climate reduction commitments from countries this year at COP27. The leaders of China and Russia (the world’s first- and fifth-largest climate polluters) are not attending the event, nor are officials from many of the largest economies, including India and Australia. U.S. President Joseph Biden will make only a short

The Sixth Circuit issued an order on September 9, 2022 granting review of a class certification from March 7, 2022 that certified a class of roughly 11.8 million Ohio residents claiming injuries from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

Background

Filed in 2018 in the Southern District Court of Ohio, the lawsuit alleged the named

Introduction

President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the Act) into law on August 16, 2022.  The Act represents an expansive investment in the energy industry, with many provisions targeting clean energy and climate change issues through funding and tax credits.  However, several notable provisions from an environmental permitting and compliance standpoint are buried amongst the financial and tax provisions.  These environmental provisions relate to permitting and compliance that the regulated industry, especially energy companies, should watch closely.

Funding for Permitting and Programmatic Development

The Act provided significant funding to regulatory authorities for a number of permitting-related activities. 

For example, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) received $20 million to assist with permitting and project review.  The funds are meant to result in more efficient, accurate, and timely reviews for planning, permitting and approval processes through hiring and training personnel and obtaining new technical and scientific services and equipment. 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) received $40 million for its permitting and project review efforts.  The funds will be utilized to develop efficient, accurate, and timely reviews for permitting and approval processes through hiring and training of personnel, development of U.S. EPA programmatic documents, procurement of technical or scientific services for reviews, development of environmental data and new information systems, purchase of new equipment, developing new guidance documents, and more.

The Act provided over $62.5 million to the Council on Environmental Quality to develop programmatic documents, tools, guidance, and improvement engagement.  These funds will also support collection of data regarding environmental justice issues, climate change data, development of mapping/screening tools, and tracking and evaluation of cumulative impacts. 

Several other federal agencies received millions in funding for review and planning of electricity generation infrastructure, like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy, and the Department of the Interior.  Funding will be used to facilitate timely and efficient reviews, as well as generate environmental programmatic documents, environmental data, and increase stakeholder and community involvement. 

In sum, regulators involved in environmental and energy permitting received a substantial boost in funding targeting the permitting process, including supporting the development and build out of programmatic documents and capabilities.  The funding could improve the timing of the permitting processes for these agencies, but it could also lead to additional administrative burdens in the form of new application and compliance materials and increased regulatory scrutiny where a regulator has more time and money to invest in the regulatory process.Continue Reading Environmental aspects of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022