Sierra Club and Others Challenge EPA Coal Ash Rule

On November 2, 2020, several environmental interest groups including the Sierra Club and Earthjustice filed suits in the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and D.C. circuits challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent Steam Electric Reconsideration Rule (SERR), which rolled back certain Obama-era effluent discharge limitations on coal-fired power plants. (more…)

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District Court Vacates Obama-Era Methane Regulations

On October 8, 2020, Judge Scott W. Skavdahl of the U.S. District Court of the District of Wyoming issued an order vacating Obama-era regulations of methane from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal lands. (more…)

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Senate Democrats Release “Climate Roadmap”

On August 25, 2020, U.S. Senate Democrats released a “climate roadmap” detailing their legislative goals if the November elections give the party a majority in the Senate. The report, provided by the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, sets out goals to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, globally, by 2050, such as promoting the use of renewable generation, electrified vehicles, and low-emission cement and steel. (more…)


D.C. Circuit Declares Tolling Orders Impermissible Under the Natural Gas Act

On June 30, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) ruled en banc 10-1 in Allegheny Defense Project v. FERC to invalidate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) common practice of issuing tolling orders to extend the time for deciding rehearing requests under the Natural Gas Act (NGA) beyond the 30-day deadline set forth in the statute. The court found that a tolling order, in which FERC “grants rehearing” for the limited purpose of affording it additional time to act on a rehearing request, does not constitute “action” upon the rehearing request as required by the NGA. The decision reversed the approximately 50-year old D.C. Circuit precedent upholding the tolling order practice as permissible. The court derided the practice as an unauthorized way for FERC to stall for time while precluding parties aggrieved by FERC orders from seeking judicial review.


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Environmental Implications of President Trump’s Executive Order on Enforcement and Regulatory Relief

Earlier this week President Trump issued an executive order aimed at bolstering economic recovery as businesses reopen. This has potential for marked effects on environmental enforcement in light of how the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice have already been adapting environmental priorities in the face of the pandemic. (more…)

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FERC, NERC Provide Industry Guidance to Ensure Grid Reliability Amid Potential Coronavirus Impacts

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) announced yesterday they are taking steps to ensure that operators of the bulk electric system can focus their resources on keeping people safe and the lights on during this unprecedented public health emergency.


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Trump Administration Updates Endangered Species Act Regulations

Three new rules issued by the Trump Administration may allow project developers to better plan future projects, and may encourage preservation and conservation efforts for both private and federal landowners. These rules, issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, revise how the federal government will address critical habitat designations, protections for threatened species and interagency coordination under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (the Agencies), have issued three rules revising how the federal government will address critical habitat designations, protections for threatened species and interagency coordination under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The regulations will become effective 30 days after publication.



Sidley Environmental Trends

Topics discussed this week include:

  • EPA proposes to decline to set CERCLA financial assurance rule for electric power industry.
  • D.C. Circuit upholds RCRA transfer-based exclusion.
  • EPA proposes renewable volume obligations for 2020.
  • EPA issues final enforcement policy on coordination with and delegation to states.


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Heather Palmer Shortlisted for Euromoney LMG Americas Women in Business Law Awards

Sidley Environmental Partner Heather Palmer was named a finalist in the Euromoney LMG’s 2019 Americas Women in Business Law Awards for “Best in Environment.” The awards commend the achievements of women trailblazers in the legal profession. The Americas Women in Business Law Awards will be presented on June 6, 2019 in New York.

Heather’s practice focuses on onshore and offshore oil and gas regulation, solid and hazardous waste, oil and gas waste, coal combustion residual (coal ash), environmental remediation, water quality, water rights, wetlands, endangered species, Superfund litigation and compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

2019 Cross-Border Energy Update: U.S., Canada and Mexico

Thursday, June 13, 2019
Hilton Post Oak | 2001 Post Oak Blvd | Houston, TX
8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Registration and Networking
8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Program / Breakfast will be served

Join representatives from three countries for a discussion of issues currently impacting energy trade among the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Led by representatives of BLG (Canada), Creel (Mexico) and Sidley (U.S.), this half-day program will explore:

  • The prospects for eliminating transportation bottlenecks from Canada to the U.S., including Keystone XL and Enbridge Line 3
  • The future of gas transportation to Mexico in light of delays in cross-border pipelines and the change in government in Mexico
  • Key issues in cross-border oil and gas sales, including re-export of US-origin gas as LNG
  • The current and likely future impact of trade actions by each of the three governments, including the uncertain future of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and impacts of steel tariffs

With the value of energy trade between the U.S. and its North American neighbors exceeding US$125 billion in 2017 and continued optimism for growth opportunities through 2019, our panelists will discuss the critical issues and offer perspectives for all participants in the North American market.


CLE credit is pending for this program.

To register, or for more information, please contact