On April 6, 2023, President Joe Biden signed an executive order (EO), “Modernizing Regulatory Review,” amending President Bill Clinton’s EO 12866, which has served as the foundation for regulatory review and analysis across administrations for nearly 30 years. The following day, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued several related actions. These included proposed revisions to guidelines for benefit-cost analysis and processes for public participation in the regulatory review process.
On March 29, 2023, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published a Proposed Rule to amend the Environmental Tax Regulations, 25 C.F.R. part 52, specifically those provisions governing the chemical excise taxes used to fund the Hazardous Substance Response Trust Fund established pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA)—known as the Superfund Chemical Tax. Because this is the first time the tax will be applied in over 25 years, its effects may not be well understood by affected industry taxpayers, and the IRS’s Proposed Rule offers critical guidance. Companies engaged in the manufacturing, import, or sale of taxable chemicals should evaluate the Proposed Rule and consider submitting comments by the May 30, 2023, deadline.
On Thursday, March 30, 2023, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act. The bill — the GOP’s energy policy and permitting bill — passed by a vote of 225 to 204, with four Democrats joining Republicans in voting to pass the bill and one Republican legislator voting against it.
On April 3, 2023, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would put conservation of U.S. managed lands on an equal footing with oil and gas development and other economic activities (the Proposed Rule). Stakeholders interested in development on federal lands should consider carefully the implications of BLM’s proposal.
Join Sidley for the Environmental Law Institute’s People Places Planet Podcast series, “The Enforcement Angle.” Through this series, Sidley partners discuss state and federal enforcement of environmental laws and regulations with senior enforcement officials and thought leaders on environmental enforcement in the United States and globally. The featured guests offer their insights into the challenging environmental issues facing corporations today.
On March 22, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Court) granted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Motion for Default Judgment and entered a default judgment against Powhatan Energy Fund, LLC (Powhatan Energy Fund). The Court awarded FERC $3,465,108 in disgorgement and $16,800,000 in civil penalties.
On March 19, 2023, in Texas et al. v. EPA, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued an order enjoining the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule in the states of Idaho and Texas. The injunction went into effect just one day before the WOTUS Rule was set to become final. Texas represents the latest in the multidecade saga of seeking to define the term “waters of the United States” in the context of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Moreover, Texas is just one hurdle EPA’s new WOTUS Rule faces, with a pending Supreme Court case (Sackett v. EPA) and potential congressional action to block the rule both on the horizon.
The Biden administration has voiced strong support for commercial nuclear energy as an essential element of the President’s goal of achieving “clean” electricity by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050. Last week, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Agency), announced a regulatory milestone that inches the advanced nuclear technology sector closer to commercialization of small modular reactor (SMR) technology.