Author Archives: hlselp

Climate Guidance for NEPA Reviews

President Trump revoked the climate guidance in his Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth. Nonetheless, at least one draft environmental review since the Executive Order has included climate impact of a projects greenhouse gas emissions.

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Defining Waters of the United States / Clean Water Rule

The Supreme Court will rule soon on whether federal appeals courts or district courts are the proper venue for clean water rule cases. EPA recently took comments on its proposal to rescind the Obama-era rule defining which US water bodies are protected. EPA has not proposed a replacement rule.

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Department of the Interior Regulatory Reform Initiatives

The Department of the Interior (DOI) have made an unusually broad request for public input on which rules it should target for rollback. There is an ongoing opportunity for public comment on this broad de-regulatory agenda.

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Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) on Federal and Indian Lands

The Tenth Circuit dismissed the Wyoming lawsuit against the rule as moot on September 21, 2017 (because the Trump Interior Department is proposing to roll back the rule), but not before vacating the trial court’s decision. This leaves the fracking rule standing, and without further action it will take effect when the court issues a mandate on the decision, which is due by mid-November, 2017.

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National Monuments, Marine National Monuments, & Marine Sanctuaries

Our national monuments, marine national monuments, and marine sanctuaries are under threat of being eliminated, reduced in size, opened to commercial fishing, or developed for logging and mineral or energy extraction.

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Grid Study / Resiliency Pricing Rule

The Department of Energy (DOE) Grid Study, released on August 23, 2017, finds that the grid benefits from flexible resources including, notably, natural gas plants, which can quickly respond to changes in demand by ramping up or down quickly. Coal plants, on the other hand, respond slowly to fluctuations in supply and demand, and nuclear plants run at nearly full capacity regardless of grid conditions.

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Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and Section 126 Petitions

Lawsuits continue over the Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) and Phase 2 emissions budgets for CSAPR. Meanwhile, downwind states seek deeper cuts in pollution from out-of-state sources. Connecticut, Delaware, and Maryland have sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failure to act on their section 126 petitions.

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Methane Waste Prevention Rule

This rule was created to “reduce the waste of natural gas from flaring, venting, and leaks from oil and gas production operations on public and Indian lands.” The 2017 provisions of the rule have been phased in, but, on June 15, 2017, without first proposing to do so and inviting public comment, BLM announced a delay until 2019 of most of the waste reduction requirements, which were due to take effect in 2018.

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Environmental Law Program Seeks Executive Director

The Harvard Law School Environmental Law Program is accepting applications for the position of Executive Director. Please see the following for more information: Executive Director Information and Application Process Well Wishes to our Outgoing Executive Director

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Richard Lazarus: First Monday May Shed Light on Water Case

Who should hear cases on industry challenges to EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers’ definition of “navigable waters?” Federal district courts or the court of appeals?  Federal government attorneys argue that a “pragmatic construction” of the Clean Water Act would send cases with broad policy implications to one of the thirteen appeals courts, rather […]

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