Environment, Land & Resources

Category Archives: Air Quality and Climate Change

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Is China Relaxing Its Grip on “Iron Fist” Environmental Regulation?

Reports suggest that China’s promising focus on environmental regulation may be slowing amid an economic downturn. By Paul A. Davies and Andrew Westgate Background At the 2014 National People’s Congress, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s rhetoric adopting an “iron fist” approach in a “war against pollution” represented a stunning volte-face from China’s relaxed environmental oversight and … Continue Reading

CARB Amending SF6 Regulation: Stricter Requirements for California Electrical Equipment

California proposes phasing out the use of SF6 in GIE and further reducing allowable GHG emissions from such equipment. By Aron Potash and Kimberly D. Farbota California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff recently published a discussion draft (Draft Amendments) of potential changes to the current Regulation for Reducing Sulfur Hexafluoride Emissions from Gas Insulated Switchgear … Continue Reading

CARB Workshop Previews Upcoming Heavy-Duty Diesel Changes

CARB continues to drive lower NOx emissions for heavy-duty engines and vehicles on the road. By Arthur Foerster and Reed McCalib On January 23, 2019, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) held a public workshop to discuss the agency’s ongoing regulatory emissions overhaul for on-highway, heavy-duty diesel engines and vehicles. Based on the agency’s position … Continue Reading

German Government Commission Agrees to Phase Out Coal Power Plants by 2038

The Coal Commission’s phase-out proposal includes a €40 billion federal spending package for affected states. By Jörn Kassow and Patrick Braasch A German government-appointed body, known colloquially as the “Coal Commission”, has agreed to end coal-fired power generation by 2038. In an effort to meet Germany’s climate goals under the Paris Agreement, the Coal Commission … Continue Reading

CARB Workshop Will Address Potential Changes to NOx Standards

The public event marks CARB’s next step to promulgate new, lower NOx standards for heavy-duty engines and vehicles. By: Arthur Foerster and Reed McCalib Background On Wednesday, January 23, 2019, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will hold a public workshop in Sacramento focusing on potential regulatory changes that would lower oxides of nitrogen (NOx) … Continue Reading

Amendments to CEQA Guidelines Now in Effect

California Natural Resources Agency adopts final amendments to CEQA Guidelines, providing additional clarifying revisions to GHG impacts, baseline, and deferral of mitigation amendments. By Marc Campopiano, Winston Stromberg, and Samantha Seikkula The California Office of Administrative Law recently approved a suite of amendments to the CEQA Guidelines, which are now in effect. Latham wrote about … Continue Reading

Climate Litigation Targets the French Government

Four NGOs launch innovative action claiming state has not met COP21 objectives. By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green On 17 December 2018, four NGOs filed legal action against the French state. In the legal action, the NGOs argued that the state has not met the short-term climate change objectives set at COP21. The … Continue Reading

Katowice Climate Change Conference Agrees on Rulebook for Implementing Paris Agreement

The deal establishes rules and guidelines for how governments will track, report on, and verify emissions-cutting efforts. By Jörn Kassow and Patrick Braasch Delegates from 196 countries and the European Union convened in Katowice, Poland, in December for two weeks of negotiations on creating a common rulebook for putting the Paris Agreement into practice. The … Continue Reading

Why EPA’s Proposed CO2 Standards for New Power Plants Matter

EPA’s proposed standards have important implications, even though few coal plants are slated for development. By Joel C. Beauvais and Stacey L. VanBelleghem Background On December 6, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a proposed rule to establish new source performance standards (NSPS) under Clean Air Act Section 111(b) for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions … Continue Reading

EPA Announces “Cleaner Trucks Initiative” to Reduce NOx Emissions

The announcement signals EPA’s intent to publish a proposed rule in 2020. By Arthur F. Foerster On November 13, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its “Cleaner Trucks Initiative” (CTI) to further decrease oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions from on-highway trucks and engines. EPA intends to publish a proposed rule in early 2020, … Continue Reading

Webcast – California’s 100% Zero Carbon Future: How SB 100 and EO B-55-18 Will Impact Businesses and Projects

Latham lawyers discuss the business implications of the new legislation. By Tommy P. Beaudreau, Marc T. Campopiano, Michael J. Gergen, Joshua T. Bledsoe, and Jennifer K. Roy Senate Bill 100, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 10, 2018, aims to raise California’s already ambitious renewable energy standards by 2030, with an ultimate … Continue Reading

Insurance Coverage: US State Courts Rule for Insureds in Three Recent Policyholder Decisions

Companies facing products or environmental liability claims should immediately consider insurance coverage from current and historical policies in light of applicable state law. By Christine G. Rolph and Laura J. Glickman In recent months, the highest courts of several US states have issued important pro-policyholder decisions on insurance coverage issues. The following three cases illustrate … Continue Reading

7 Takeaways From California’s Extension of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Kimberly D. Farbota On September 27, 2018, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed Resolution 18-34, extending the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Program to 2030 and making significant changes to the design and implementation of the Program. This blog outlines seven takeaways for market participants and stakeholders. 1. CARB … Continue Reading

China’s Global Supergrid to Enable Free Flow of Electricity Internationally

The proposed initiative will allow the provision of clean energy on a global scale by 2050. By Paul A. Davies and R. Andrew Westgate The Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) initiative, originally developed by Liu Zhenya, the chairman of the Chinese State Grid Corporation, is dedicated to promoting global energy interconnections in a sustainable manner. The … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Overturns Specific Plan EIR for Inadequate Air Quality Impact Mitigation

By Christopher H. Norton, Lucas I. Quass, and Derek Galey CEQA Case Report: Understanding the Judicial Landscape for Development[I] In an unpublished opinion issued July 10, 2018, Sierra Club v. County of Kern, Case No. F071133, the California Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s decision and remanded for the issuance of a new writ … Continue Reading

China Reinforces Renewable Energy Commitment With Significant European Wind Investments

Chinese investors continue to build knowledge of the wind sector through European investment. By Paul A. Davies and R. Andrew Westgate China has traditionally focused more on developing coal and hydroelectric power, which provide relatively constant output, instead of wind and solar, which depend on whether conditions. However, recently, government-owned power producers have begun making … Continue Reading

Viewpoints Video Examines California’s Cap-and-Trade Program

Harvard professor Robert Stavins joins Latham partner Bob Wyman to review key climate change mitigation policies. California’s climate change mitigation program is widely viewed as one of the most comprehensive of its kind — encompassing a cap-and-trade component and a series of complementary measures with specific performance targets for important sectors such as motor vehicles, … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Strikes Down EPA Coal Ash Rule Provisions

Decision may significantly impact active and inactive unlined and clay-lined coal ash impoundments, likely requiring closure or retrofit. By Claudia M. O’Brien and Stijn van Osch The D.C. Circuit this week struck down parts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule for not being sufficiently protective of the environment. The decision … Continue Reading

European General Court Accepts Landmark Climate Change Litigation

Individuals join growing global trend of citizens bringing climate change litigation in a bid to hold governments to account. By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green The European General Court has agreed to hear a legal challenge to EU climate legislation for inadequate targets for reducing climate change. Ten families from around the world … Continue Reading

China’s “War Against Pollution” Intensifies in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region

Approximately 1,000 manufacturing firms in Beijing will close by 2020. By Paul A. Davies and R. Andrew Westgate China’s anti-pollution efforts have intensified in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, which is known for its problems with smog. In fact, Premier Li Keqiang has identified Beijing and Hebei as key areas in the “war against pollution.” The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei … Continue Reading
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