United States Ratifies the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment Six Years After Amendment’s Introduction

On September 21, 2022, the U.S. Senate voted to ratify the Kigali Amendment, an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that addresses hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), six years after the Kigali Amendment was officially adopted at the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on October 15, 2016, in Kigali, Rwanda. While the Montreal Protocol originally sought only to phase out the consumption and production of ozone-depleting substances chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons, the Kigali Amendment established plans to reduce the production and consumption of HFCs — greenhouse gases with high global warming potential — by more than 80% over the next few decades. (more…)

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How the Supreme Court’s EPA Ruling Complicates Climate Action and What Companies Can Do

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in West Virginia v. EPA clips the EPA’s ability to address climate change and may fundamentally alter the administrative authority of other federal agencies to tackle big problems.

As state and local governments find ways to fill the void, shareholders are demanding a response from Corporate America. How seismic is the ruling? Will it doom our efforts to address climate change? And what impact will the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act have on the ruling? Join The Sidley Podcast host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with two of the firm’s thought leaders on these subjects — Justin Savage and Simone Jones.

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EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive — What Do UK- and U.S.- Headquartered Companies Need to Know?

Non–EU companies with a significant presence in the EU or with securities listed on an EU-regulated market will become subject to new EU rules on corporate sustainability disclosures (the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, or CSRD). The text of the CSRD has now been agreed by the EU institutions.1 CSRD is expected to become EU law later this year. Once implemented into the national law of EU member states, its requirements will be phased in from 2024.

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FERC Issues 2022 Summer Energy Market and Reliability Assessment, Warns Extreme Weather Could Pose Operational Challenges

On May 19, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff issued its 2022 Summer Assessment for energy markets and electric reliability. The report finds that U.S. electric markets are expected to have sufficient capacity and reserves to maintain reliable operations under normal conditions but warns that higher than average temperatures are expected for the coming summer.

The 2022 Summer Assessment also notes the following: (more…)

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China Plans To Adopt ESG-Disclosure Framework Based on International Sustainability Standards Board Standards

In speaking at the recent Boao Asia Forum Annual Conference, Vice Chairman Fang Xinghai of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) announced that the CSRC is preparing new reporting standards and would adopt the new disclosure rules prepared by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). (more…)

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SEC Brings First Enforcement Action Over ESG Disclosures

In late April, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought its first enforcement action over alleged false and misleading claims made in a mining company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures. The complaint relates to the 2019 collapse of the company’s dam that injured hundreds and released 12 million tons of mining waste into the environment. (more…)

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Council on Environmental Quality Partially Restores National Environmental Policy Act Provisions

The U.S. Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published a Final Rule regarding implementing regulations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on Wednesday, April 20. As anticipated, the CEQ’s final version is nearly identical to the earlier Proposed Rule and revises three separate NEPA provisions that CEQ identified as posing significant near-term interpretation or implementation challenges for federal agencies. These three provisions include purpose and need, 40 C.F.R. § 1502.13; agency NEPA procedures, 40 C.F.R. § 1507.3; and the definition of “effects” or “impacts.” Ultimately, CEQ’s Final Rule abandons revisions the agency made to NEPA regulations in 2020 and returns certain aspects of NEPA review to the former approach. CEQ noted that this revision is the first of two phases, so additional NEPA regulatory revisions are expected later this year. (more…)

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EPA Proposes “Good Neighbor” Plan Addressing Regional Ozone Transport for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard

On April 6, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scheduled to publish its proposed Federal Implementation Plan Addressing Ozone Transport for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), otherwise known as the latest iteration of EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule or “Good Neighbor” Plan. The proposal would subject 26 upwind states to the “good neighbor” or “interstate transport” provision of the Clean Air Act because EPA is proposing to find that nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, which are a precursor to ozone formation, from the upwind states significantly contribute to downwind states’ attaining and maintaining the 2015 ozone NAAQS.

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FERC Rolls Back its Recently Enacted Policy Statements on the Certification of New Natural Gas Infrastructure

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced on March 24, 2022, that it will delay enacting any changes to its existing policies on the authorization or certification of interstate natural gas pipeline infrastructure under Sections 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act. Two policy statements FERC issued on February 18, 2022, in Docket No. PL18-1 and Docket No. PL21-3 (collectively, the 2022 Certificate Policy Statements) have now been deemed “drafts” that are subject to further comment. Initial comments will be due on April 25, 2022, with reply comments due on May 25, 2022. One of the two policy statements, which had been deemed “interim” but given immediate legal effect on February 18 prior to being relabeled a “draft” on March 24, had an initial comment date of April 4, 2022, which has now been extended to the aforementioned dates. Sidley provided a detailed summary of the changes implemented in the 2022 Certificate Policy Statements in a prior client alert and Energy Brief. (more…)

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What Lies Ahead for Carbon Capture – Environmental and Subsurface Perspectives for CCUS

Carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) projects are gaining momentum as an important pathway to achieving both private- and public-sector climate targets. This trend is expected to accelerate with recently authorized federal funding and administration announcements. At the same time, the value proposition for CCUS may be subject to change based on government policy priorities, permitting processes, and potential permanence challenges, among other factors. So what lies ahead for carbon capture? (more…)

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