Environment, Land & Resources

EU Commission Launches Consultation on Green Bond Standard

Posted in Environmental Litigation, Environmental Regulation

The consultation aims to gather technical input from stakeholders in the green bond market before finalising an EU GBS.

By Paul A. Davies, Michael D. Green, and Aaron E. Franklin

On 12 June 2020, the European Commission (the Commission) published a targeted consultation document on the establishment of an EU Green Bond Standard (EU GBS). The Commission has committed to the establishment of an EU GBS as part of its broader Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth (the Action Plan), and hopes that the promulgation of an official EU standard will help address some of the barriers it has identified in the current green bond market. Continue Reading

Spain Adopts a New Royal Decree-Law Promoting Renewable Energy and Economic Reactivation

Posted in Environmental Regulation

The new measures include changes to grid access permits and a new remuneration regime for renewables, among other provisions.

By María José Descalzo, José María Alonso, and Leticia Sitges

On 23 June, the Spanish Government passed Royal Decree-Law 23/2020, which entered into force on 25 June, approving new measures in the energy sector that aim to promote renewable energy generation and support the recovery of the economy in line with the European Green Deal (the New Regulations). Continue Reading

Sustainable Finance Updates from the European Commission and the International Capital Market Association

Posted in Environmental Regulation, European Environmental and Public Law

Recent developments concern the EU taxonomy, the EU green bond standard, and new sustainability-linked bonds

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

Earlier this month (June 2020), the EU released answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the work of the European Commission (the Commission) and the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG) regarding the sustainable finance taxonomy (the Taxonomy) and the EU Green Bond Standard (EU GBS).

Additionally, the Commission released an impact assessment and consultation on how to best translate the EU GBS initiative into legislation. Meanwhile, the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) also announced the launch of new Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles (SLBP). Continue Reading

US Fish and Wildlife Service Continues Work to Narrow Application of Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Posted in Environmental Regulation

A new draft environmental impact statement on the scope of liability under the MBTA available for public comment.

By Janice M. Schneider, Taiga Takahashi, and Julie Miles

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently took another step toward narrowing its interpretation of liability under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) by issuing a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). MBTA regulations currently protect 1,093 species of migratory birds. (See 50 CFR §10.13 for the complete list.) Notice of the public comment period in connection with the DEIS, which closes on July 20, 2020, was published in the Federal Register.

The DEIS preferred alternative would exclude incidental take of birds from the scope of liability under the MBTA, consistent with the FWS proposed rule published earlier this year. The issue of whether incidental take of birds is covered by the MBTA has long been a contentious one. The MBTA imposes strict criminal liability for taking protected birds, which can occur in the ordinary operations of a wide variety of industries and activities. For example, investigations by the federal government have included electric utilities, oil and gas, communication towers, chemical spills, bridgework, artificial lighting, and renewable energy activities, among others.[1] Continue Reading

Federal Court Denies Nationwide Stay of Navigable Waters Protection Rule

Posted in Environmental Litigation

New definition of “waters of the United States” takes effect June 22, 2020 everywhere except Colorado under split decisions.

By Janice M. Schneider and Peter R. Viola

In the closely watched battle over the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA), a federal court in California has denied a motion brought by a coalition of states to stay the Trump Administration’s rule narrowing the law’s reach. However, the federal court in Colorado has enjoined the rule in that state, and litigation in these and other courts will continue — including an anticipated appeal of the California decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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EU Commission to Adopt a Regulation on Batteries, Energy Storage, and Electric Vehicle Batteries

Posted in Air Quality and Climate Change, Contaminated Properties & Waste, Environmental Regulation, European Environmental and Public Law

The Initiative aims to promote sustainability in both the batteries value chain and the growing electric vehicle market.

By Paul A. Davies and Federica Rizzo

On 28 May 2020, the European Commission (EC) published its Inception Impact Assessment (IIA) to modernize the EU’s batteries legislation, in particular Directive 2006/66/EC of 6 September 2006 on batteries and accumulators, and waste batteries and accumulators (the so-called “Batteries Directive”).

The Initiative is in line with the European Green Deal, which promotes the decarbonisation of the EU economy to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The legislative proposal is also based on the Strategic Action Plan on Batteries adopted by the EC[i] in 2018, which promotes the growth of safe and sustainable battery production, and a better functioning of the internal market as concerns batteries, products incorporating batteries, and recycled materials. Continue Reading