Environmental Lawyer Maureen Gorsen Joins Sidley in Los Angeles

Sidley is pleased to announce that Maureen Gorsen has joined the firm in Los Angeles as a partner in its Environmental practice. She joins Sidley from Alston & Bird, where she was a partner in the firm’s Environment, Land Use & Natural Resources practice.

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President-Elect Announces Climate Change Priority

President-elect Joe Biden announced on his transition website that climate change is one of his top priorities post inauguration. That news comes as no surprise, given the president-elect’s comments during the campaign, but it is notable that climate change is one of only four areas highlighted as a priority (the others are COVID-19, economic recovery, and racial equity). (more…)

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New FERC Rule May Delay U.S. Pipeline Construction Activities

On June 9, 2020, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued Order No. 871, a Final Rule Limiting Authorizations to Proceed with Construction Activities Pending Rehearing (Final Rule). The Final Rule is likely to increase project costs for natural gas infrastructure by delaying their regulatory approvals. It prevents FERC from issuing notices to proceed with construction once a developer has received a certificate under sections 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) until (1) the time for filing of a request for rehearing has expired with no such request or (2) FERC has acted on the merits of a timely filed request for rehearing. NGA sections 3 and 7 are the statutory provisions that empower FERC to authorize natural gas import and export facilities, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals and natural gas pipelines, respectively.

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PFAS and the Toxics Release Inventory – New Reporting Obligations from the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020

As of January 1, 2020, companies have new obligations to report releases of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) based on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Reporting Year 2020. The NDAA added reporting obligations for 172 individual PFAS chemicals. This potentially impacts any company using any of these PFAS chemicals in their processes, including use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam for training and/or actual fire suppression. This webinar will address this change and also review recent updates to the general regulatory landscape for PFAS issues and practice pointers for TRI enforcement and voluntary disclosures to reduce liability.

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New Administrative Petitions for Reconsideration on the RMP Reconsideration Rule: What Does It Mean for Process Safety?

On February 18, 2020, a group of states and a national trade union filed separate petitions seeking administrative reconsideration of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA or Agency) recently finalized Clean Air Act Risk Management Plan (RMP) reconsideration rule (the Reconsideration Rule). The Reconsideration Rule became effective on December 19, 2019, and rescinds numerous provisions of the Obama administration’s January 2017 amendments to EPA’s RMP regulations under the Clean Air Act (the Amendments).

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Sidley Environmental Trends

Topics discussed this week:

  • California-EPA feud over air and water programs escalates
  • States sue Trump administration over Endangered Species Act rule changes
  • D.C. Circuit acts on EPA “good neighbor” regulation governing 2008 ozone standard
  • Sierra Club sues EPA alleging agency has failed to enforce “good neighbor” requirements for 2015 ozone standard

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Sidley Environmental Trends

Topics discussed this week include

  • DOJ limits use of supplemental environmental projects in settlements with state and local governments
  • D.C. Circuit limits EPA’s ability to roll back or freeze ozone national ambient air quality standards
  • Trump administration updates Endangered Species Act regulations
  • Citizen suit alleging a permit was issued or extended in violation of state and federal regulations cannot be brought against the holder of a valid permit

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Sidley Environmental Trends

Topics discussed this week include

  • Trump executive order directs agencies to reduce federal advisory committees
  • D.C. Circuit dismisses Clean Air Act Title V challenge
  • Michigan AG office drops pending Flint water crisis criminal charges
  • EPA updates FY2020-23 National Compliance Initiatives
  • Department of the Interior restores federal mineral lease fees to Obama-era levels
  • TVA agrees to close coal ash pit at Gallatin Fossil Plant

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Sidley Environmental Trends

Topics discussed this week include:

  • Courts dismiss challenges to advisory panel membership policy.
  • Groups sue EPA for overdue spill regulations.
  • Environmental groups threaten suit over oil dispersant guidelines.
  • Court: Clean Air Act does not preempt odor nuisance claims.
  • Court holds that long-defunct companies may still face CERCLA liability.
  • New York close to banning plastic bags.
  • Environmental groups sue Iowa, asserting constitutional right to clean water.
  • Court strikes down Arctic drilling executive order.
  • Court rejects foreign policy objection to denial of Clean Water Act certificate.

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Sidley Environmental Trends

Topics discussed this week include

  • EPA final rule on monitoring NOx at power plants takes effect
  • EPA and Army Corps withdraw appeals on WOTUS Delay Rule
  • D.C. Circuit rejects NEPA analysis for Dominion Energy
  • Federal court says it has authority to impose injunctive relief for Ameren’s failure to obtain a required permit at its Rush Island facility

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