On September 24, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the establishment of a new national program office, the Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights, which will span all 10 EPA regions and be supported by more than 200 staff. The new office will be led by a U.S. Senate-confirmed Assistant Administrator, who will be announced at a later date. According to the EPA, the new office will address environmental justice matters by providing grants and technical assistance, enforcing federal civil rights laws, developing and implementing environmental laws, regulations, and policies, and providing support in alternative dispute resolution.
On September 22, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) regarding Incentives for Advanced Cybersecurity Investment, requesting comment on proposed revisions to regulations implementing the Federal Power Act (FPA). The revisions would provide incentive-based rate treatments for the transmission of electric energy in interstate commerce and the sale of electric energy at wholesale in interstate commerce by utilities for certain voluntary cybersecurity investments. The NOPR was issued in response to a Congressional mandate set forth in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which directed FERC to establish cybersecurity incentives that would encourage investments by utilities in advanced cybersecurity technology and participation in cybersecurity threat information sharing programs. This NOPR replaces a prior cybersecurity incentives NOPR from December 2020.
On September 22, 2022, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) denied two separate complaints against natural gas pipelines located entirely within one state that turned on whether FERC had jurisdiction over the facilities under the Natural Gas Act (NGA). (more…)
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…)
On September 9, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Scoping Period Requesting Comments on Environmental Issues for the Proposed Carbon Capture and Sequestration System Amendment, and Notice of Public Scoping Sessions (Notice) requesting public comment on the environmental effects of a proposed carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) systems addition to the Rio Grande Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal (Terminal). This marks the first time FERC has requested public comment on the potential environmental effects, environmental mitigation measures, and reasonable alternatives related to CCS technology as part of National Environmental Policy Act review for an LNG terminal facility.
On September 13, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice proposing to remove 12 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from its list of inert ingredients approved for use in regulated pesticide products. The 12 PFAS are listed below. According to EPA’s review, none of the 12 PFAS are being used as inert ingredients in any registered pesticide products; however, removing chemicals from EPA’s list of approved inert ingredients ensures that any future proposed use of these PFAS as inert ingredients would require substantiation with data (including, among other things, studies evaluating potential carcinogenicity, genotoxicity, adverse reproductive effects) and approval by EPA.
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.