Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Analyzing the critical energy and environmental issues of the day

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Oregon Legislators Publish Priority Cap and Trade Legislation

Posted in Cap and Trade, Climate Change

The Oregon legislature’s Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction has introduced HB 2020, a highly anticipated bill that would establish a cap-and-trade system to significantly reduce greenhouse gases attributable to sources within the state. The bill, prepared by the Joint Committee led by Senator Michael Dembrow of Portland and Representative Karin Power of Milwaukie, aims to… Continue Reading

Children’s Climate Crusade Litigation: Trump Administration Files Opening Brief in 9th Circuit

Posted in Climate Change, Trump Track

The Juliana v. U.S. climate change litigation (better known as part of the Children’s Climate Crusade) is back in the spotlight. The case was filed in Oregon U.S. District Court in 2015 on behalf of future generations to force governmental action on climate change. In a previous post from November 2016, our colleague Rick Glick… Continue Reading

SCOTUS, Denying Cert, Subjects Exxon to Broad Massachusetts Climate Investigation

Posted in Climate Change, Oil & Gas

Yesterday, by refusing to hear an appeal from Exxon Mobil (see docket), the U.S. Supreme Court declined to protect the oil giant from handing over decades of climate change-related documents to the Massachusetts Attorney General. Back in 2015, InsideClimate News and the L.A. Times each ran multiple stories digging into Exxon’s knowledge of climate science… Continue Reading

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