Environment, Land & Resources

Category Archives: Power, Oil, Gas and Minerals

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German Coalition Talks Hint at Key Elements of German Environmental Policy 2018-2021

A coalition government would likely focus on energy, transportation, and the automotive industry to meet Paris Agreement targets. By Joern Kassow and Patrick Braasch Background After the 2017 German parliamentary elections, the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) faced difficulties in forming a new government. However, the parties have now agreed on … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Unveils Three Offshore Wind Farm Proposals

New England wind farms poised to lead the way in utilities converting from fossil fuel to wind generation. By Tommy Beaudreau, Janice Schneider, and David Amerikaner The race is on to build the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the United States (US) on the federal Outer Continental Shelf. In December, three companies — Bay … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Mandates Critical Minerals Development Strategy

Interior Department agencies to take immediate steps to jumpstart a plan for promoting US critical mineral production. By Janice M. Schneider, Tommy Beaudreau, Sara K. Orr, and James D. Friedland US Interior Department agencies are developing a strategic framework that will advance US critical mineral production. These efforts come on the heels of Executive Order … Continue Reading

France Bans Research and Exploitation of Fossil Fuels

France announces voluntary adoption of a new law amending the Mining Code to meet Paris Agreement commitments. By Paul Davies and Michael Green* Background After lengthy legislative debates, the amended Mining Code (MC) now provides that, as a matter of principle, the research and exploitation of coal, and of all liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons, shall … Continue Reading

Interior Department Excludes Incidental Take Liability Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

By Janice Schneider, Sara Orr, Jennifer Roy and James Erselius Reversing a long-standing federal legal position, the US Interior Department recently stated that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) does not impose liability for the incidental take of protected birds. The 41-page Solicitor’s Opinion (number M-37050) withdraws and replaces a prior Solicitor’s Opinion (number M-37041), issued … Continue Reading

Governor Cuomo Announces Ambitious Clean Energy Agenda for New York

By Tommy Beaudreau, Janice Schneider, and David Amerikaner New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released the 2018 Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda last week as the 20th proposal of his 2018 State of the State address. The far-reaching proposal charts a path forward for further progress in advancing clean energy in New York this year, … Continue Reading

Strong End of 2017 for Oil and Gas on Federal Lands and Waters in Alaska

By Tommy Beaudreau and Janice Schneider Alaska is kicking off 2018 following several major developments related to oil and gas exploration and production on federal lands on the North Slope, both onshore and on the offshore outer continental shelf (OCS). In May 2017, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visited Alaska and declared that “the path for … Continue Reading

DOI Identifies Burdens to Energy Development on US Tribal Land

By Janice M. Schneider, Tommy P. Beaudreau, Stacey L. VanBelleghem, and Nikki Buffa Stakeholders interested in energy development on US tribal lands will welcome recent Department of Interior (DOI) efforts that identify a key burden to energy development on these lands — as well as the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ (BIA’s) plans to address it. … Continue Reading

BOEM Renewable Energy Task Force Discusses Potential New Wind Energy Areas Offshore New York

By Tommy Beaudreau, Janice Schneider, and David Amerikaner The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) convened the Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force for the New York Bight to discuss BOEM’s draft Call for Information and Nominations (Call) on December 4, 2017. The meeting, which was held via a webinar, marked an important step in the … Continue Reading

German Court Will Take Evidence in Groundbreaking Climate Change Case

By Joern Kassow and Patrick Braasch Latham has previously written about the Lliuya v. RWE AG case, in which a Peruvian farmer has sought damages from German energy giant RWE for climate change effects in his home country. The Higher Regional Court of Hamm indicated during oral hearings that it would likely proceed to take … Continue Reading

European Commission Emphasises Environmental Issues in 2018 Work Programme

By Michael Green and Paul Davies Following decision C(2017)7124 of the European Commission (EC), the EC has launched its Work Programme for 2018 (WP 2018). WP 2018 outlines plans for achieving the EC’s primary policy objectives during the next 12 months — with particular attention to environmental issues. WP 2018 outlines four “Focus Areas” (FAs) … Continue Reading

New York Public Service Commission Adopts Compensation Values for Distributed Energy Resources in Reforming the Energy Vision Proceeding

By Michael Gergen, David E. Pettit and Christopher Randall On September 14, 2017, the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC or the Commission) issued its Order on Phase One Value of Distributed Energy Resources Implementation Proposals, Cost Mitigation Issues, and Related Matters (the Implementation Order). The Implementation Order sets the methodologies by which utilities throughout … Continue Reading

Urban Mining Briefing Reveals Huge Global Potential

By Jörn Kassow and Eun Kyung Lee Germany’s increasing shortage of natural resources and the corresponding mounting cost of extracting raw materials signals the need for alternative and innovative ways of collecting and recycling secondary raw materials. One promising method of securing potential secondary raw materials is “urban mining”, which aims primarily at reclaiming raw … Continue Reading

First Subsidy-Free Solar Farm Opens in UK

By Paul Davies and Michael Green The first solar farm has successfully launched in the UK without government subsidisation. Clayhill Solar Farm, a 10 megawatt (MW) site near Flitwick in Bedfordshire, is capable of generating enough power for 2500 homes. Clayhill’s developer, Anesco, is a private company specialising in the design and development of solar … Continue Reading

UK Launches Taskforce to Encourage Growth of Green Finance

By Paul Davies and Michael Green The UK government has announced that it is bringing together a new taskforce led by senior financiers in order to encourage the growth of “green finance”. The taskforce, which will be chaired by Sir Roger Gifford, former lord mayor of London, has six months to develop proposals aimed at … Continue Reading

China Unveils Plan to Ban Fossil Fuel Vehicles

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate Addressing a car forum in Tianjin, Xin Guobin, Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology, announced that the Chinese government is developing plans to follow in the footsteps of some European countries to phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles. “Some countries have worked out a timetable to stop production and … Continue Reading

China Dominates Global Investments in Renewable Energy

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate Market research has long recognized China as the largest investor in its own domestic renewable energy industry. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, China invested US$102 billion in 2015 alone. However, a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) found that China’s dominance in renewables … Continue Reading

California’s Supreme Court Denies ARB Petition To Review LCFS Case

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Kimberly Farbota In a previous post, we described how potential delays in the resolution of the case commonly known as POET I could create uncertainty regarding the future of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). On August 23, 2017, the Supreme Court of California issued an order: (1) denying California … Continue Reading

Uncertainty Looms with Delays to Resolution of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program Challenges

By Joshua Bledsoe and Kimberly Farbota Two recent developments in the interrelated legal challenges commonly known as POET I and POET II may create additional uncertainty for the future of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program (LCFS). Earlier this year, the California Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District (Court of Appeal) issued two … Continue Reading

Responsibility for German Nuclear Waste Shifts With Creation of State-owned Fund

By Paul Davies, Joern Kassow and Alexander Wilhelm In early July 2017, operators of German nuclear power plants initiated the next step in the process of decommissioning by transferring €24 billion to the new state-owned fund for nuclear power plant waste disposal. The German state established the Fund for the Financing of the Nuclear Waste … Continue Reading

Court Reissues LCFS Opinion Per ARB Petition For Reconsideration

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Max Friedman As discussed in a previous post, the California Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District (Court of Appeal) ruled on April 10, 2017 that the California Air Resources Board (ARB) had failed to properly follow a writ of peremptory mandate (the Writ) requiring ARB to remedy violations … Continue Reading

Update: Stricter EU Environmental Performance Standards to Apply to Large Combustion Plants by 2021

By Jörn Kassow and Patrick Braasch Emissions from approximately 2,900 large combustion plants in the EU, including coal-fired power stations as well as peat, oil and gas power plants, are now likely to be subject to stricter environmental performance standards. These updated standards (“Best Available Techniques Conclusions for Large Combustion Plants” – BREF LCP), based on … Continue Reading

The European Conflict Minerals Regulation – What are the Key Take Away Points?

By Paul Davies and Michael Green The European Conflict Minerals Regulation (the Regulation) was approved by the European Council on 3 April 2017. Publication in the Official Journal of the European Union will be the next step in the process and this could take 3-6 weeks. The Regulation will be directly applicable in all EU … Continue Reading

Trouble Ahead? Lobbying Underway to Prevent the Extension to the Industrial Emissions Directive

By Paul Davies, Michael Green and Kristof Ferenczi The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) is the main EU instrument that regulates emissions from industrial installations (including power stations) and came into force on 6 January 2011. Its objective is to achieve a high level of protection for the environment and human health by reducing harmful industrial … Continue Reading
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