Environment, Land & Resources

Category Archives: Project Siting and Approval

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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

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

Land Use Sector and CEQA Projects Targeted for Greenhouse Gas Reductions in Proposed Scoping Plan Update

By Marc Campopiano and Shannon Cheng A proposed Scoping Plan Update released by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) targets the land use sector and development projects for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. The proposed update was spurred by the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 32 and Assembly Bill (AB) 398, which codified California’s goal of reducing … Continue Reading

China Encourages Green Finance to Meet Clean Development Goals

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate On 18 October 2017, the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will convene, after the week-long National Day holiday, marking one of the most important dates on the Chinese political calendar. Among the issues that National Congress members will surely discuss, is the importance of implementing strategies … Continue Reading

China’s War on Pollution: Measuring the Economic Impact

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate China’s State Council released an “Opinion Concerning Establishment of a Long-Term Mechanism for Early-Warning and Monitoring of Environmental and Natural Resources Carrying Capacity,” which will halt major projects in heavily polluted areas, according to a report from the official Xinhua news agency. The opinion also calls for authorities to … 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

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

Conservation Finance: An Increasingly Attractive Concept for Investors?

By Paul Davies and Michael Green Broadly defined, conservation finance is the raising of capital to support the conservation of land, water and resources. This concept started with “debt for nature” swaps during the 1980s and 1990s whereby developing countries agreed to protect ecosystems using revenues freed up by sovereign debt relief (such deals usually … Continue Reading

Proposed Amendments to Cap-and-Trade Extension Bill Could Undermine Program

By Bob Wyman, JP Brisson, Joshua Bledsoe, Andrew Westgate, and Brittany Dryer On April 18, 2017, California Assembly Members Garcia, Holden, and Garcia proposed amendments to Assembly Bill No. 378 (AB 378) that are intended to extend but significantly reshape California’s Cap-and-Trade Program.[1] This post briefly summarizes the backdrop against which AB 378 has been … Continue Reading

California Court Rules Against Air Resources Board over LCFS but Preserves 2017 Status Quo

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Max Friedman In two recent posts, we discussed how California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) had been thrown into a state of potential upheaval by two interrelated legal challenges commonly known as POET I and POET II, including a recent oral argument before the California Court of Appeal for the … Continue Reading

California State Court Poised to Destabilize Low Carbon Fuel Standard

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Max Friedman Big changes appear to be imminent for California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). As discussed in greater detail in our recent post, the LCFS currently is the subject of two interrelated legal challenges commonly known as POET I and POET II. Here we provide an update on recent proceedings before … Continue Reading

Twin Challenges to LCFS Advance in California Courts, With Potential Implications for State’s Overall Climate Stabilization Strategy

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Max Friedman Two related cases, advancing in parallel, have the potential to upend California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), whether via full suspension of the LCFS or carving out diesel fuels from the deficit and crediting regime.[1] Both cases involve challenges by POET, LLC (POET), a South Dakota-based ethanol producer, … Continue Reading

US Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Eagle Rule Revision

By Sara Orr, Jennifer Roy and Francesca Bochner On December 14, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) finalized its proposed revisions to the Eagle Rule (Final Rule) and released its Record of Decision (ROD). The Final Rule allows companies and others to obtain 30-year incidental take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection … Continue Reading

The Department of Energy’s Simplified IIP Process Goes Into Effect in November

By Sara Orr, Bobbi-Jo Dobush and Francesca Bochner On November 28, 2016, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) simplified Integrated Interagency Pre-Application (IIP) Process will go into effect.[i] The IIP is a voluntary, pre-application process intended to streamline and improve the permitting and siting process for qualifying electric transmission projects. In an effort to increase efficiency, the … Continue Reading

US Fish and Wildlife Service Moves Forward With Proposed Eagle Rule Revision

By Sara Orr, Jennifer Roy and Francesca Bochner On July 5, 2016, the public comment period closed for the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) proposed revisions to the rules authorizing eagle take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act) and accompanying Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), paving the way for … Continue Reading

BLM Moves Forward with Phase I of Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

By Marc Campopiano, Josh Bledsoe, Jennifer Roy, and James Erselius Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) has now been approved, paving the way for streamlined permitting and environmental review of qualified renewable energy projects on Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-administered lands in the Mojave and Colorado/Sonoran desert regions of Southern California. … Continue Reading

Public Works Slowdown Following Implementation of the New Italian Public Procurement Code

By Cesare Milani The Italian Government definitively approved Legislative Decree no. 50 in April this year, implementing Directives 2014/23/EU, 2014/24/EU and 2014/25/EU of the European Parliament and European Council. The revised legislation resulting from the Directives coming into force affect the Italian construction market. Notably, the new Italian Public Procurement Code impacts “public procurement and awarding … Continue Reading

US FWS Announces Record of Decision Streamlining Wind Energy Permitting for the Upper Great Plains

By Sara Orr and Bobbi-Jo Dobush On July 7, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its Record of Decision (ROD) for the Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS).[1] This is the final step in a process that US FWS, along with Western Area Power Administration (Western), embarked upon in … Continue Reading
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