Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Analyzing the critical energy and environmental issues of the day

Richard Glick

Rick Glick focuses on environmental, water and energy law, representing businesses and local governments in a wide range of environmental matters. He counsels clients on regulatory compliance, permitting for major infrastructure projects, water rights, water quality permitting and certifications, wetlands, endangered species and environmental impact review; assists in assessing and managing environmental risk associated with business or real estate transactions; and represents clients before the state and federal agencies in Superfund, environmental cleanup, permitting and enforcement actions.

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Pacific Northwest Water Wars

Posted in Northwest, Water Law
It may come as a surprise that people fight over water in soggy Oregon and Washington.  To be sure, we have not experienced the same level of conflict over competing water needs as our neighbors in the southwest, but in fact the conflicts are there and the stakes are high. Most senior water rights in… 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

Science Advisory Board Finally Weighs In on Waters of the U.S.

Posted in EPA, Rulemakings, Water Law
The Science Advisory Board has at last released its peer review  of EPA’s draft report on Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis, the technical support for the proposed rule on definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.  The SAB paper is generally supportive of EPA’s… Continue Reading

California Groundwater Regulation Enters the 20th Century!

Posted in California, Water Law
On September 16, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a trio of bills to establish a statewide regulatory scheme for the use of groundwater: Assembly Bill 1739, and Senate Bills 1168 and 1319.  California had previously been the only Western state to leave “reasonable” use of groundwater to the tender mercies of individual pumpers… Continue Reading

ECOS Releases “Waters of the U.S.” Paper

Posted in EPA, Federal, Water Law
On September 15, the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) released a paper produced by the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL) on the new “waters of the U.S.” rules proposed by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers.  The new rules are intended to bring clarity as to the jurisdictional reach of the federal government… Continue Reading

Federal Agencies Extend Public Comment on Proposed Clean Water Act Rules

Posted in EPA, Federal, Water Law
Responding to numerous requests from stakeholders, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency will be accepting public comments for an additional three months on the agencies’ proposed definition of the scope of federal jurisdiction over the nation’s water bodies. The new deadline for public comments is October 20, 2014.  For more information… Continue Reading

Opposition Builds to Proposed Federal Clean Water Act Rules

Posted in EPA, Federal, Rulemakings, Water Law
Federal agencies face growing opposition from members of Congress and industry regarding a proposed definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The scope of federal jurisdiction under the CWA has been one of the most intractable issues in environmental law over the past decade. Recently proposed rules by the… Continue Reading

Square Pegs in Round Holes

Posted in Federal, Natural Resources, Water Law
The Western states face two reciprocating and overarching problems in water resources policy.  First, water is an increasingly scarce resource facing sharply competitive needs.  Climate change is projected to put even more strain on water supplies.  Second, most streams listed as water-quality impaired in the West are designated as such for issues related to the… Continue Reading

Transmission Line Developers Post a Win

Posted in Federal, Health and Safety, NEPA
A federal court in Washington, D.C. gave some encouragement to transmission line developers—not to mention sponsors of other linear projects, like gas or water pipelines.  In National Parks Conservation Assn. v. Jewell, the court rejected a challenge to the National Parks Service’s grant of special use permits and extended rights-of-way for the Susquehanna to Roseland… Continue Reading

Those Dam Polluters!

Posted in Electric Power, Environmental Quality, Health and Safety, Natural Resources, Northwest, Oil & Gas, Water Law
The Columbia and Snake River federal network of dams, and the abundance of low cost electricity it produces, has long been the cornerstone of the Pacific Northwest manufacturing economy.  It has also supported another industry—the legions of lawyers fighting over the environmental effects.  The latest iteration is an attack brought by Columbia Riverkeepers against the… Continue Reading

Sooners Beat Longhorns in Red River Bowl

Posted in Water Law
In a unanimous decision issued June 13, the Supreme Court put an end to a parched Texas municipal utility’s bid to secure an Oklahoma water right.  In Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann, the Court rejected every argument Tarrant advanced to access Red River basin water on the Oklahoma side. The fabled college football rivalry… Continue Reading

Can We Please Talk About Outcomes for a Change???

Posted in EPA, Water Law
I get it that environmental groups place strict compliance with regulatory controls at a premium.  After all, the standards are designed to be protective of the resource, and they are The Law, which must be obeyed. But I sometimes find it dismaying when people conflate immediate, measured and guaranteed compliance with ecological outcomes.  They are… Continue Reading

First Oregon, Now Washington Water Quality Standards Under Attack

Posted in EPA, Northwest, Water Law
On February 26, in a reprise of its partially successful assault on Oregon water quality standards, Northwest Environmental Advocates sent a Notice of Intent to Sue EPA for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.  The alleged violations relate to EPA approval or inaction on water quality standards promulgated by the Washington… Continue Reading

Proposed EPA Rules to Help Smaller RIN Sellers

Posted in EPA, Federal, Renewables
On February 21st, EPA proposed new rules under the Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS) intended to improve market conditions for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs).  The RFS allows producers and importers of renewable fuel to generate RINs to sell to petroleum refiners and importers, which the latter uses to show compliance with renewable fuel requirements.  Under the… Continue Reading

EPA Extends the Deadline for Fiscal Year 2013 Brownfields Grant Proposals to December 3, 2012

Posted in Environmental Quality, EPA, Federal
The Environmental Protection Agency is extending the deadline for state, local, and tribal governments (and other governmental entities, and in some cases, non-profit organizations) to apply for Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup (ARC) Grants.  The general intent of the ARC Grants is to provide communities with funding needed to clean and redevelop contaminated… Continue Reading

Rep. Blumenauer Introduces Water Infrastructure Bill—There’s a Grownup in the House

Posted in Northwest, Water Law
On August 1, Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer introduced the Water Protection and Reinvestment Act (HR 6249) to address the nation’s aging water infrastructure.  The bill would use excise taxes targeted at industries that are dependent upon and impact safe and reliable water to reinvigorate the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF).  The CWSRF awards… Continue Reading

ECOMARKETS AND MITIGATION

Posted in Natural Resources, Renewables, Water Law
In my May 29 post, I suggested that new approaches are coming to address the tension between growing water demand for energy production, municipal and industrial needs, and preservation of natural resources.  Mitigation through watershed restoration, using emerging ecosystem services markets, tops the list.  Conventional mitigation focused on local replacements, acre for acre, bucket for… Continue Reading

Oregon’s Ambitious 10-Year Energy Action Plan

Posted in Northwest, Uncategorized
On June 6, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber released his draft 10-Year Energy Action Plan (http://oregon.gov/energy/Pages/Ten_Year_Energy_Plan_Draft.aspx). Written comments on the draft plan may be submitted to tenyearenergyplan@odoe.state.or.us and accepted through July 31. Three public workshops will be held at times and places to be announced.  The plan consists of a broad range of goals for the… Continue Reading

Oregon Temperature Water Quality Standards Upheld (Sort of)

Posted in Northwest, Water Law
In a 50 page opinion issued February 28, Federal Magistrate Judge Acosta handed EPA and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) a partial victory in Northwest Environmental Advocates v. EPA et al. The decision upheld EPA’s approval under the federal Clean Water Act of the Oregon DEQ’s numeric temperature water quality standards, while rejecting… Continue Reading