This Environmental Year in Review summarizes many of the significant court rulings, regulatory changes and policy developments that occurred during 2016. As 2016 was the final year of the Obama administration, change is in the air. The commencement of the Trump administration promises to bring with it shifts in policy focus, rule changes and inevitably litigation. This overview highlights, among other things, the following:
- Ongoing litigation over the Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rulemakings, two regulations slated for administrative changes or repeal by the new administration, as well as the Dakota Access Pipeline and Volkswagen defeat device investigation;
- Enactment of a complete overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act, the first major amendment to federal environmental legislation since the 1990 Clean Air Act (CAA) amendments;
- Release of a long-awaited update to the CAA’s risk management planning program;
- Additional GHG regulations and guidance, including new source performance standards for additional sources in the oil and gas sector, more stringent requirements for commercial aviation emissions and instructions for federal agencies’ consideration of climate change impacts during NEPA reviews; and
- European Union regulatory developments, including guidance on pesticides, vehicle emissions legislation and an update on the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework.