The incoming Biden Administration intends to take many major environmental policy actions aimed at climate change, enforcement, environmental justice, and several other issues, many of which entail reversing actions taken
Continue Reading TRANSITION THOUGHTS: The Presidential Transition, NEPA, and Project Review

In 2016, the incoming Trump Administration stated its intention to reduce substantially federal environmental regulation. The president issued executive orders requiring two rule repeals for each new rule and directing
Continue Reading Rolling Back Environmental Rollbacks in the New Administration

The ongoing battle over Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) – environmentally-beneficial, beyond-compliance projects that defendants agree to undertake for potential penalty mitigation in settlement of environmental enforcement actions – heated up
Continue Reading New Lawsuit Challenges DOJ Policy Prohibiting SEPs

Last month, I wrote about the “Environmental Justice for All Act,” a bill that proposes a finding that vulnerable populations are disproportionately burdened by environmental hazards. New Jersey is
Continue Reading New Jersey’s Environmental Justice Legislation: The Focus on Major Source Permit Applications Might Impact Property Values

On July 30, Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) unveiled the “The Environmental Justice for All Act.”

The bill proposes a finding that
Continue Reading ‘Environmental Justice for All Act’ Introduced in U.S. Senate

On July 15, 2020, President Trump’s administration finalized a significant overhaul of the regulations governing the administration of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In January 2020, when the regulatory overhaul was announced, we observed that rolling back 50 years of precedent in an administrative action could trigger judicial challenges to the rule and result in greater regulatory uncertainty for federal projects. The final rule, while making some relatively minor modifications, hews closely to its original terms, and does little to satisfy potential challengers.
Continue Reading A Tale of Two Environmental Policies: President Trump Announces NEPA Reform, as Former Vice President Biden Vows to Roll Back Reforms If Elected

On Jan. 9, 2020, the Trump administration’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed rules that would update comprehensively the regulations promulgated under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the
Continue Reading Trump Administration Proposes Significant Streamlining of National Environmental Policy Act

On Dec. 11, the House of Representatives passed S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report. The Senate followed suit on Dec. 17, bringing an end
Continue Reading Congress Takes Initial Steps to Address PFAS in the National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report

On Sept. 19, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to modernize the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA), to address
Continue Reading FERC Launches Comprehensive PURPA Overhaul

On Sept. 12, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army followed through on an early Trump administration promise to repeal a 2015 jurisdictional rule defining the scope of the government’s authority under the Clean Water Act. See Definition of “Waters of the United States”—Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules (pre-publication version).

Dubbed the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, the Obama-era regulation spawned a tide of litigation, in federal trial and appellate courts, challenging the WOTUS rule as an unlawful attempt by the EPA and the Corps of Engineers to increase the numbers and kinds of waters subject to permitting requirements. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately weighed in, saying that challenges to the WOTUS rule belong in the federal districts courts, not the U.S. courts of appeals. National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, __ U.S. __, 138 S.Ct. 617 (2018).
Continue Reading Government Repeals Obama-Era Waters of the U.S. Rule: Major Supreme Court Decision to Come, but ‘Regulatory Patchwork’ Remains