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…)

U.S. Department of the Interior Announces First Offshore Wind Lease Sale in the Pacific

On October 18, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will auction offshore wind energy leases along the outer continental shelf off the coast of central and northern California (the Announcement). The sale will be the first-ever offshore wind lease sale on the West Coast and the first U.S. sale to support potential commercial-scale floating offshore wind energy development. According to the Announcement, the five lease areas, totaling approximately 373,268 acres, have the potential to produce over 4.5 GW of offshore wind energy and power more than 1.5 million homes. (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.


EPA Proposes Change to Treatment of Fugitive Emissions in New Source Review

On October 13, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule changing the treatment of fugitive emissions in determining whether a modification is major under the New Source Review (NSR) provisions of the Clean Air Act. The proposed rule — which modifies NSR regulations that have been stayed since 2009 — would require all major sources to consider fugitive emissions when determining whether a proposed change would constitute a major modification. Regulated entities considering changes to their existing facilities should monitor the progress of this rule and consider commenting.


EPA Announces Second Update to EJSCREEN: EJSCREEN 2.1

On October 11, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) announced the second update to the Agency’s environmental justice (EJ) mapping and screening tool — EJSCREEN 2.1. EPA uses the tool to identify areas that may have higher environmental burdens and inform several Agency functions, including permitting, enforcement, outreach, and compliance. This is the fourth EJ mapping or screening tool launched or updated this year by the Biden administration, following the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s (DHHS) Environmental Justice Index (EJI), EPA’s EJSCREEN 2.0, and the White House’s Climate and Economic Justice Tool.


U.S. EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management Publishes Environmental Justice Action Plan

On September 30, 2022, the Office of Land and Emergency Management within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) published an action plan, “EJ Action Plan: Building Up Environmental Justice in EPA’s Land Protection and Cleanup Programs” (EJ Action Plan). EPA describes the EJ Action Plan as “a key component” of its implementation of President Joe Biden’s Executive Orders 13985 and 14008 to promote environmental justice (EJ).


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes General Eagle Incidental Take Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects

On Friday, September 30, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed revisions to its regulations governing eagle and eagle nest incidental take permits, with the goal of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the permitting process while increasing the conservation benefit for eagles. Notably, FWS proposed a general permit option for qualifying wind-energy generation projects and power line infrastructure, which obviates the need for project sponsors to seek specific permit authorization.


EPA Issues Toxic Substances Control Act Significant New Use Rules for Certain Chemical Substances Used in Chemical Manufacturing and Petroleum Refining

On Thursday, September 29, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for chemical substances that are the subject of premanufacture notices and associated TSCA orders prohibiting manufacturers from undertaking significant new uses. (more…)