EPA Proposes Enforcement Initiatives Addressing PFAS, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice

On January 19, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Notice soliciting public comment on its proposal to add environmental justice, climate change, and per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination to its National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives (NECIs) for the 2024–2027 fiscal year cycle.

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California Air Resources Board Set to Finalize Ambitious Climate Plan

On November 16, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released an updated version of its 2022 Scoping Plan for Achieving Carbon Neutrality. The plan sets ambitious goals for achieving carbon neutrality in California by 2045. Despite the plan’s being only a guiding document, it will likely lead to other agency actions that set stringent requirements related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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Extensive Climate Disclosure Requirements Proposed for Federal Contractors

On November 10, 2022, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, composed of the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and chaired by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget, issued a proposed rule that would require certain federal contractors to disclose climate-related information to the System for Award Management (SAM) and, in certain instances, make such information publicly available on its website. (more…)

Energy Companies Petition U.S. Supreme Court to Review Remand of Climate Change Litigation to State Court

On October 14, 2022, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and other major energy companies petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to send a climate change lawsuit back to state court (the Petition). In the underlying lawsuit, the City of Baltimore is seeking climate-change-related infrastructure damages for the defendants’ alleged deception of consumers and the public about climate change. The defendants previously removed the case to federal court, but the District Court for the District of Maryland remanded the case to state court—a decision the Fourth Circuit later upheld. (more…)

IRA-Driven Carbon Capture Needs Strategic Approach

Sidley Austin lawyers say that developers should proactively engage agencies in order to effectively leverage Inflation Reduction Act tax credits and federal funds for carbon capture and sequestration projects. The permitting and approval process is ripe for reform, they say.

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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…)

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…)

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…)