Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Analyzing the critical energy and environmental issues of the day

Category Archives: Climate Change

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California’s New Climate Change Law Tempered by Uncertainty About Its Cap and Trade Program

Posted in California, Cap and Trade, Climate Change
California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 32 last week codifying into law his office’s emission reduction goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below the 1990 level by 2030. By signing this bill, Governor Brown made his prior Executive Order B-30-15 part of California’s overall climate change law by adding a new section… Continue Reading

Climate change regulation starts to take shape in Washington State

Posted in Climate Change, Northwest
In 2015, the Washington Legislature failed to act on Governor Jay Inslee’s cap-and-trade proposal to limit the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.  Since then, all branches of Washington State government, as well as the people themselves, have engaged in what looks like a massive brainstorming session on how to limit Washington’s greenhouse gas… Continue Reading

Children’s Crusade to Combat Climate Change Continues

Posted in Climate Change, Litigation, Northwest
A federal magistrate judge in Oregon has kept alive the dreams of a group of young plaintiffs—aided by environmental advocacy groups—to compel government action against climate change.  Like a similar case brought by the same plaintiffs a few years ago in state court, discussed below, the federal case seeks a declaration that government inaction violates… Continue Reading

Clean Power Plan Formally Published – Full Steam Ahead for Challengers!

Posted in Climate Change, Federal, Rulemakings
The U.S. EPA formally published the final version of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan on Friday, October 23, an action which starts a 60 day period within which to challenge the rule.  On the same day, 26 challenges were filed, asking the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to invalidate the rule. … Continue Reading

Senate Bill 350 Calls for Higher Renewables Portfolio Standard, Higher Energy Efficiency Targets, an Expanded System Operator, but No Petroleum Reduction Targets

Posted in California, Climate Change, Renewables
As most of you know by now, Senate Bill (“SB”) 350, the much-chronicled and debated Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015, passed out of the California Legislature and is currently awaiting signature by Governor Brown.  The bill currently includes the following significant changes to California’s energy and climate goals:… Continue Reading

Joint Agency Symposium Discusses Role of Electricity Sector in California’s 2030 GHG Reduction Goals

Posted in California, Climate Change, Electric Power
Last week, several state agencies and the California Independent System Operator held a symposium on ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity generation while maintaining an affordable and reliable electricity system. This multi-agency symposium is part of a series of public forums soliciting stakeholder input on 5 key climate change strategy pillars to… Continue Reading

California Governor Aims to Reduce Emissions 40 Percent Below 1990 Levels by 2030

Posted in California, Climate Change
In an Executive Order issued yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown set “a new interim statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 is established in order to ensure California meets its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by… Continue Reading

The Space Between Draft and Final

Posted in Climate Change, EPA, Rulemakings
EPA has a lot to consider in finalizing its rule directing states to create programs to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel fired electric generating units.  The public comment period on a recently proposed rule generated 1.6 million comments from companies, governmental agencies and members of the public. EPA targets June 2015 for… Continue Reading

Oregon Carbon Tax Study Released

Posted in Climate Change, NERC, Northwest
Today the Oregon Legislative Revenue Office released a report on the economic and emissions impacts of a carbon tax in the state.  The report was prepared by the Northwest Economic Research Center (NERC) at Portland State University.  The NERC study was funded by a $200,000 appropriation approved during the 2013 session under SB 306. The NERC… Continue Reading

EPA Fixes Due Date for Comments on Its Proposed Regulations of Carbon Emissions from Existing Power Plants

Posted in Climate Change, EPA, Federal
Today, the EPA has published in the Federal Register the official version of its proposed regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. 79 Fed. Reg. 34830. You can find the official version here. Public comments on the proposed regulations will now be due on… Continue Reading

EPA Proposed Regulation on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Posted in Climate Change, EPA, Federal, Rulemakings
On June 2, President Obama is expected to unveil EPA’s proposed regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.  The regulations, among the most momentous ever issued by the EPA, will be issued under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act and implemented by each of the fifty states.  Complex legal, economic, and… Continue Reading

Federal District Court Casts Doubt on the Constitutionality of State Regulation of the Carbon Content of Imported Electricity

Posted in Climate Change, Federal, Rulemakings
Can states constitutionally regulate the carbon content of imported electricity?  A recent decision by federal district court in Minnesota may curtail such state regulation, at least in states that are part of pooled transmission systems and organized markets, such as those operated by the Midcontinent ISO (MISO).  North Dakota v. Heydinger, Case No. 11-ev-3232 (D.… Continue Reading

California Low Carbon Fuel Standards Survive Ninth Circuit Petition for Rehearing

Posted in California, Climate Change, Environmental Quality, Natural Resources, Oil & Gas, Rulemakings
On January 22nd, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined petitions to reconsider their decision upholding of enforceability of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).  The petitions were spearheaded by various trade groups and energy groups, including the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, who argued that the LCFS’s strict… Continue Reading

EPA Reissues Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards for New Power Plants

Posted in Climate Change, EPA, Federal, Renewables, Rulemakings
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has re-proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for new fossil-fuel power plants, exercising existing authority under section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act.  Proposed rule re Electric Utility Generating Units.  The key proposal is an emission standard for new coal-fired power plants that would require the incorporation of substantial… Continue Reading

THE PACIFIC COAST ACTION PLAN ON CLIMATE AND ENERGY – WILL IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Quality, Northwest
By Craig Gannett and Mark Perlis Late last month, the Governors of California, Oregon, and Washington joined with the Premier of British Columbia to sign a Pacific Coast Climate Action Plan on Climate and Energy (PCAP).  Like its ill-fated predecessor, the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), the PCAP attempts to fill the void created by Congress’ failure… Continue Reading

President Obama Unveils Climate Action Plan

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Quality, EPA, Federal, Natural Resources
President Obama published a formal Climate Action Plan last month, announcing the plan in a speech delivered at Georgetown University. The plan organizes the President’s executive actions under three pillars: (1) Cutting Carbon Pollution in America; (2) Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change; and, (3) Leading International Efforts to address Global… Continue Reading

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to Lower Emissions Cap

Posted in Cap and Trade, Climate Change
As predicted earlier, the U.S. Northeast’s cap-and-trade program, RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) will reduce its cap, which was above current pollution levels.  The inflated cap depressed the RGGI permit price for carbon credits to under $2, way below the projected $20-$30 (causing New Jersey’s Chris Christie to pull New Jersey out of RGGI).  The… Continue Reading

Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Program: IRS Announces Second Phase

Posted in Cap and Trade, Climate Change, Federal, Renewables
DWT tax partner Pamela Charles reports: The IRS has announced the second phase of the qualifying advanced energy project program to distribute the Section 48C tax credits that are available for reallocation now that the first phase of the program has been completed (see IRS Notice 2013-12).  To be considered for an allocation of credits in the… Continue Reading

Court Rejects Challenge to California’s Carbon Offsets Program

Posted in California, Cap and Trade, Climate Change, Litigation
A California state judge in San Francisco has rejected a challenge to California’s carbon offsets program, ruling that regulators have the authority to include the mechanism in the cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith ruled Friday that the state Air Resources Board was authorized to use offset protocols under the guidelines… Continue Reading