On Friday, October 27, 2023, the White House announced an effort to utilize over $35 billion in federal assistance for affordable housing projects using funding appropriated under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing programs. The White House, through the Department of Transportation, is now seeking to use these programs, which provide lending support for transit-oriented development projects at below-market interest rates, to convert properties no longer needed for transit into residential properties and develop residential properties near public transportation hubs. The White House suggests that these conversions and development projects will not only provide necessary affordable residential housing capacity but also reduce greenhouse gas emission by repurposing existing structures and siting residential housing projects near public transportation hubs.
On September 28, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) issued a memorandum outlining a Climate Enforcement and Compliance Strategy, identifying several steps the office plans to take to address climate change (the Strategy Memo). As part of the strategy, EPA plans to expand its efforts to address climate change by increased enforcement of rules governing greenhouse gas–forming pollutants and incorporating climate-related mitigation efforts, including renewable energy projects into settlements as mitigation or supplemental environmental projects. The Strategy Memo comes only a month after EPA issued its first-ever national enforcement and compliance initiative on climate change.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to approve Louisiana’s request for control over the permitting of carbon sequestration wells in the state. EPA’s approval would provide Louisiana authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Underground Injection Control (UIC) program to administer a “Class VI” injection well program for the geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide, following similar such approvals for North Dakota and Wyoming. Stakeholders should take note of this proposed action because EPA approval of Louisiana’s program could advance carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects stymied by the backlog of permit applications pending before the EPA.
On March 2, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) announced several enforcement actions that support reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These actions include the following:
A new bill introduced in the California legislature tees up corporate disclosure legislation that narrowly failed to pass the State Assembly during last year’s term. The bill would impose broad greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting requirements on large businesses doing business in California and could effectively set a national standard for these businesses to report GHG emissions.
On November 16, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released an updated version of its 2022 Scoping Plan for Achieving Carbon Neutrality. The plan sets ambitious goals for achieving carbon neutrality in California by 2045. Despite the plan’s being only a guiding document, it will likely lead to other agency actions that set stringent requirements related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
On November 10, 2022, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, composed of the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and chaired by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget, issued a proposed rule that would require certain federal contractors to disclose climate-related information to the System for Award Management (SAM) and, in certain instances, make such information publicly available on its website. (more…)
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.
On May 26, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order in Louisiana v. Biden denying a request to intervene and reinstate a district court order that had blocked the administration from using a key climate metric, known as the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions (SC-GHGs). In 2021, the Biden administration set various interim SC-GHGs, including the SC-CO2 at $51 per metric ton of carbon dioxide, which two groups of states have challenged in federal courts in Louisiana and Missouri. (more…)
On April 6, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scheduled to publish its proposed Federal Implementation Plan Addressing Ozone Transport for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), otherwise known as the latest iteration of EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule or “Good Neighbor” Plan. The proposal would subject 26 upwind states to the “good neighbor” or “interstate transport” provision of the Clean Air Act because EPA is proposing to find that nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, which are a precursor to ozone formation, from the upwind states significantly contribute to downwind states’ attaining and maintaining the 2015 ozone NAAQS.