Publications about: 2016

The WOTUS Wars

With the exception of the Clean Power Plan, no rule has ignited more controversy and litigation than the rule adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army seeking to clarify the meaning of the term “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. The need for clarification stems… Read more »

Michigan v. EPA

In Michigan v. EPA, the Supreme Court’s major environmental decision of 2015, the court struck down an Environmental Protection Agency regulation intended to control emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants. The court ruled that the agency erred by failing to consider industry’s costs of compliance in deciding,… Read more »

Cracking Down on Fracking

The advent of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” has been a boon for the energy industry and the bane of the environmental community. Fracking technology quickly outpaced regulations and environmental statutes, allowing fracking companies to operate mostly unimpeded. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Bureau of Land Management are issuing new rules to regulate methane emissions… Read more »

Gold King Mine Spill on Animas River

An old political rule posits, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” The Gold King Mine spill on the Animas River in Colorado is quickly shaping up to be such a crisis, and both sides of the political spectrum are readying to use it to their advantage. This spill represents a bigger issue though,… Read more »

Courting a Response to FERC’s Authority Over Demand Response

The development of demand response is instrumental to competitively restructuring the nation’s wholesale electricity markets, as it is a distributed resource that offsets the generation market power inherent in this former monopoly industry. Yet the United States Supreme Court may fundamentally alter this strategy. The court is currently considering whether it is the federal or… Read more »

Sage Grouse *Not* Listed as an Endangered Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s much-anticipated decision in September 2015 not to list the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act appears to result from a new agency initiative; one that, it claims, favors incentives and partnerships over regulations. According to the service, conserving plants and animals before they require federal protection provides… Read more »

Fasten Your Seatbelts: Volkswagen’s Bumpy Ride

Despite the fact that diesel fuel has a high sulfur content, which emits noxious chemicals when burned, it powers roughly one-third of America’s transportation fleet. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wanted to curb emissions, so they issued new standards in 2006 that mandated auto manufacturers phase in Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) by 2010. These regulations… Read more »

Chesapeake Bay TMDL

Nutrient pollution is the largest single threat to our nation’s waters, one that has remained largely unaddressed. The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the associated Watershed Implementation Plans developed by states in the watershed represent a major state-federal collaboration to change course. The Third Circuit… Read more »

Vermont Act 120: A Light in the DARK for GMO Food Labeling

Lobbyists in Washington, D.C., are rushing to stop Vermont and other states from passing laws requiring genetically engineered (GE) foods, or GMOs, to be labeled as such. The reason for their haste is that Vermont’s Act 120, a mandatory GE food labeling law, is scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2016. The food industry… Read more »

BONUS FEATURE | COP21: Will a Paris Agreement [Decrease] [Solve] [Do Nothing On] Climate Change?

If all politics are local, but greenhouse gases find their way into the atmosphere’s international space, how can the global community act collectively on climate change?”   BONUS FEATURE | COP21: Will a Paris Agreement [Decrease] [Solve] [Do Nothing On] Climate Change?