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

Hydrogen recently has been touted by various political leaders around the world as a clean panacea to the problem of energy storage or heat or electricity. Hydrocarbons traditionally have served that role and have been stored in above-ground tanks and below-ground caverns or geologic formations. Future use of hydrocarbons, however, in some jurisdictions is not politically favored. Electric batteries are an energy storage alternative, but they are limited in capacity, are costly and eventually must be replaced. What about hydrogen? Hydrogen also can serve as an energy-storage mechanism in the form of a gas, as a liquid formed cryogenically, or within a liquid compound, such as in ammonia. There are, however, technological and economic drawbacks.
Continue Reading Technical and Economical Considerations for Hydrogen Storage

On Sept. 25, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz asked the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to initiate the process to establish a Clean Cars Minnesota Rule, which would set both a low-emission vehicle (LEV) standard and a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standard. Next month, the MPCA will begin its rulemaking process, with a goal of adopting a final rule by December 2020. If implemented, Minnesota would join 14 states with an LEV standard, 11 of which also have a ZEV standard.

The Minnesota plan is modeled after California LEV and ZEV standards. California has a nearly 50-year-old waiver under the Clean Air Act permitting the state to set stricter emission standards. After indications that the federal government would publish a rule revoking the waiver, California, joined by 22 other states, including Minnesota, and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit seeking to enforce states’ rights to set emission standards more stringent than those imposed by the federal government. The lawsuit presents novel questions under the Clean Air Act including whether a waiver can be revoked, and if so, under what circumstances. Any final rule in Minnesota will be contingent on states retaining the right to adopt more restrictive measures, including through the operative waiver under Sections 209(b) and 177 of the Clean Air Act.   
Continue Reading In Minnesota, More Little Red Corvettes May Soon be Electric