Environment, Land & Resources

CEQA Case Report: 2020 Year in Review

Posted in California, CEQA, Environmental Litigation, Environmental Regulation

Public agencies prevailed in 68% of CEQA cases analyzed.

By James L. Arnone, Daniel P. Brunton, Nikki Buffa, Marc T. Campopiano, and Winston P. Stromberg

Latham & Watkins is pleased to present its fourth annual CEQA Case Report. Throughout 2020 Latham lawyers reviewed each of the 34 California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) appellate cases, whether published or unpublished. Below is a compilation of the information distilled from that annual review and a discussion of the patterns that emerged. Latham’s webcast discussing this publication and the key CEQA cases and trends of 2020 is available here. Continue Reading

Flexibility in Sustainable Finance

Posted in Environmental Regulation

Recent developments show how innovative sustainable finance instruments can help the transition to greener financial markets.

By Paul A. Davies and Edward R. Kempson

The EU Taxonomy Regulation[1] (the Regulation), which entered into force in July 2020, is one of the most significant developments in sustainable finance. The Regulation creates a classification system for green and sustainable economic activities (the Taxonomy) that is intended to be used by market participants in the EU and beyond to navigate the transition to a low-carbon, resilient, and resource-efficient economy. Under the Taxonomy, in order for an economic activity to be classified as “green”, it must (i) substantially contribute to one of six environmental objectives,[2] (ii) do no significant harm to the other five objectives, (iii) comply with certain governance safeguards,[3] and (iv) comply with specific science-based performance thresholds (or “technical screening criteria”). Continue Reading

EPA Begins Term With Congressional Mandate to Phase Down HFCs

Posted in Environmental Litigation, Environmental Regulation

The agency’s rulemaking to implement the AIM Act will offer stakeholders opportunities to shape a new market-based mechanism to reduce HFCs.

By Jean-Philippe Brisson, Stacey VanBelleghem, and Zaheer Tajani

Tucked inside the US$900 billion COVID-19 relief package signed into law on December 27, 2020, is a regulatory opportunity for the climate-focused Biden Administration: the American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2020 (the AIM Act). The AIM Act requires the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop an allowance trading system to aggressively phase down the production and consumption of certain chemical refrigerants, called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), throughout the United States. Continue Reading

Long-Awaited China Emissions Trading Scheme Launches

Posted in China

New trade arrangement incentivizes power operators to be more energy-efficient.

By Paul A. Davies, R. Andrew Westgate, Qingyi Pan, and Jacqueline J. Yap

On January 1, 2021, the long-awaited China Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) commenced operation, with 2,225 coal-fired power plants participating. Under this new ETS, China’s power operators will have to buy emissions permits if their coal plant exceeds carbon intensity benchmarks, giving power operators an incentive to improve efficiency. Since 2011, China has developed pilot emissions trading platforms in nine cities and provinces, paving the way for a national trading scheme that was first announced in 2017, along with an emissions trading market development plan for the power generation sector. After almost four years of development, the first annual compliance cycle officially began on January 1. China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) has published several policy documents on the national ETS that establish regulatory authority and specify general rules for key areas of market operation and design, including the Carbon Emissions Rights Trading Regulations (Trial), which was published in November 2020. Continue Reading

Proposed Amendments to Prop 65 Regulations Clarify and Update Proper Use of Short-Form Product Warnings

Posted in California, Environmental Regulation

The proposed amendments seek to clarify when short-form product warnings may be used and create new requirements for information about harmful chemicals.

By Michael G. Romey, Lucas I. Quass, and Kevin Homrighausen

Update: On February 19, 2021, OEHHA announced that the public comment period has been extended until March 29, 2021. OEHHA also scheduled a virtual public hearing to discuss the proposed amendments on March 11, 2021, at 10 a.m. PT.

On January 8, 2021, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) proposed amendments to the regulations of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65 or Prop 65). The proposed amendments seek to clarify the circumstances under which short-form product label warnings are permitted and create new requirements for identification of hazardous chemicals in short-form warnings. Continue Reading

CARB Steers Clean Miles Standard Toward Formal Rulemaking

Posted in Air Quality and Climate Change, California, Environmental Regulation

The agency has further strengthened electrification targets and provided additional details on compliance options for Transportation Network Companies.

By Joshua T. Bledsoe, Charles C. Read, and Jen Garlock

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is developing the Clean Miles Standard and Incentive Program (Clean Miles Standard), a first-of-its kind regulation designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ride-sharing vehicles and increase the use of zero-emission vehicles.

CARB staff presented updates to the regulation at a November 2020 workshop and stated that in revising the % eVMT Target and the GHG Emission Target they considered three factors: (1) Governor Newsom’s Executive Order calling for 100% of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks to be zero-emission by 2035; (2) Uber’s and Lyft’s recent commitments to 100% EV vehicles on their platforms; and (3) equity considerations.

Read the full Client Alert here.

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