U.S. SEC Deals With the Shadow of West Virginia v. EPA

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has missed its self-imposed October deadline for finalizing the proposed rule titled “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors.” The commission had to reopen the public comments period for this rulemaking in October following a technical glitch that kept a number of public comments from reaching it. Adding to the delay is the significant number of comments that the commission has received relating to the proposal that, if finalized, would require companies to delineate how climate change would put their operations at risk and, perhaps more importantly, would require disclosures regarding Scope 3 emissions — emissions generated by their supply chain and customers when using their products. As proposed, the rule would impose an increased reporting burden starting with data collection as early as January 2023. When asked about this increased burden in a recent Senate hearing, SEC Chair Gary Gensler said that the commission is “trying to balance … out” the need for standardizing the reporting with the burden imposed by it. (more…)

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…)

SEC Proposes Far-Reaching Rules for “Enhancement and Standardization” of Climate-Related Disclosures

On March 21, 2022, the SEC issued proposed rules that would require public companies to include extensive climate-related information in their registration statements and periodic reports. The proposed rules would require disclosure concerning climate-related risks and impacts, oversight and governance of climate-related risks, climate-related financial statement metrics, climate-related goals, and greenhouse gas emissions. (more…)

Key Takeaways: People Places Planet: The Enforcement Angle Podcast Featuring SEC’s Kelly Gibson

This Sidley Update provides key takeaways from the most recent “The Enforcement Angle” episode as part of the Environmental Law Institute’s People Places Planet podcast. The episode is hosted by Justin Savage, partner and global co-leader of Sidley’s Environmental practice, and Ranah Esmaili, who recently joined the firm as a partner in the global Securities Enforcement and Regulatory practice from the SEC’s Asset Management Unit within the Division of Enforcement. Justin and Ranah talk with Kelly Gibson, director of the Philadelphia Regional Office for the SEC and leader of the Climate and ESG Task Force within the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

Read more here.

SEC Climate Disclosure Bill Clears U.S. House Committee Vote

The U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee advanced another piece of legislation related to disclosures of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) metrics on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. Introduced by Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., HR 2570, the Climate Risk Disclosure Act, cleared the committee with the full support of the majority members in a vote of 28 to 24. (more…)

U.S. House Advances Environmental, Social, Governance Disclosure Bill

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives advanced the first piece of legislation of the year regarding environmental, social, and governance (ESG). On Wednesday, April 21, the House Financial Services Committee passed H.R. 1187, the ESG Disclosure Simplification Act of 2021, by a party-line vote of 28-22.


SEC Announces Goal to Address Climate Disclosure Requirements

On February 24, 2021, the acting Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Allison Herren Lee, issued a statement directing the agency’s Division of Corporation Finance to enhance its focus on climate-related disclosures in public company filings. (more…)

SEC Updates Disclosures Required by Regulation S-K — Impact on Environmental Disclosure

On August 26, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted amendments to “modernize” its rules requiring disclosure about a company’s business description, legal proceedings, and risk factors. The SEC amended these items to make them more clearly principles-based as well as to enhance the readability of disclosures, discourage repetitive and immaterial disclosures, and reduce the compliance burden on companies. The amendments were adopted substantially as proposed by the SEC in August 2019 with certain modifications. With regard to environmental matters, one of the amendments broadens disclosure about the material effects of environmental compliance to encompass the material effects of compliance with all laws, while the other changes the threshold for disclosure of environmental legal proceedings involving the government.


A New Roadmap: CFTC Releases Its First-Ever Public Enforcement Manual

On May 8, 2019, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Division of Enforcement (DOE or Division) released its first publicly available Enforcement Manual. The Manual provides an overview of the Division and sets out the general policies and procedures that guide its Staff in detecting, investigating and prosecuting violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and Commission regulations. According to its simultaneous press release, in publishing the Manual the CFTC intends to “increase transparency, certainty, and consistency, and, more generally, to advance the rule-of-law principles that underpin all DOE and CFTC enforcement actions.”


Energy Enforcement Update

This week’s enforcement update covers:

  • Commodity Trading Adviser (CTA) violation settled with CFTC;
  • CFTC and Kraft file motions for summary judgment;
  • CFTC files 12 enforcement actions addressing registration, position limits, recordkeeping, supervision and reporting;
  • Seventh Circuit upholds Illinois zero emissions credits for nuclear facilities;
  • Judge denies class action lawsuit alleging antitrust violations in New England gas market;
  • CFTC Staff issues report on impact of U.S. tight oil on NYMEX WTI futures contract;
  • CFTC orders BNP Paribas to pay $90 million penalty for attempted manipulation and false reporting of U.S. Dollar ISDAFIX benchmark swap rates; and
  • FERC issues notice of intent to revoke MBR authority to five entities for failure to file EQRs.