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Category Archives: Regulatory

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The View From The Pacific Northwest: What to Watch in Environmental Law and Policy Post-Inauguration, Part 3

Posted in Cleanup & Superfund, Fish Consumption, Natural Resources and Environment, Regulatory

Note: this is part 3 of 3 in my series of how the new administration may impact environmental law and policy in the Pacific Northwest. For background, please see Part 1 and Part 2. Sediment Cleanup Sites Things are moving quickly with the new administration. Since publishing Part 1 of this series on Monday, the… Continue Reading

The View From The Pacific Northwest: What to Watch in Environmental Law and Policy Post-Inauguration, Part 2

Posted in Clean Water Act, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Natural Resources and Environment, Project Permitting, Regulatory

Note: this is part 2 of 3 in my series of how the new administration may impact environmental law and policy in the Pacific Northwest. For background, please see Part 1. Tribal Relations One of the key factors influencing environmental law and policy in the Pacific Northwest is the presence of and obligations owed to… Continue Reading

The View From The Pacific Northwest: What to Watch in Environmental Law and Policy Post-Inauguration, Part 1

Posted in Clean Air Act, Clean Energy, Cleanup & Superfund, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Legislation, Natural Resources and Environment, Regulatory

On Friday morning, I boarded a plane in Chicago and by the time I touched down in Seattle, Trump had been sworn into office. We’ve received a number of questions from clients and friends asking us how the regime change will impact environmental law and policy in the Pacific Northwest. The quick answer is one… Continue Reading

CTS v. Waldburger: “A Gold Mine for Law Nerds”

Posted in Regulatory

A lot has already been written and said about yesterday’s 7-2 decision in the U.S. Supreme Court in CTS v. Waldburger case, in which the Court held that statutes of repose (as opposed to statutes of limitations) are not preempted by CERCLA and operate, as North Carolina’s did there, to bar state law claims for contamination…. Continue Reading

Keystone Pipeline (Part 2) Receives U.S. State Department’s “Blessing”

Posted in Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Energy Policy, NEPA, Project Permitting, Regulatory

The U.S. State Department issued its final environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL Pipeline project. The study, which raised no major concerns, clears the way for the 875-mile pipeline project to proceed and, as some have noted, gives President Obama some political latitude to endorse it. The route has changed since the State Department’s… Continue Reading

Washington’s Utilities and Transportation Commission Tackles the Conundrum of Distributed Energy, Part 2

Posted in Entrepreneurs, Legislation, Regulatory, Renewable Energy

As I tried to describe in part one of this article, Washington has some structural challenges that impair its ability to develop distributed energy as a significant alternative to fossil fuel-powered electrical power generation. The regulatory system that has been built up over the last 100 years has powerful constituencies that it must protect. Those are… Continue Reading

EPA Gives Itself Three More Years To Figure Out A Tailoring Rule For Biomass Energy

Posted in Legislation, Natural Resources and Environment, Regulatory, Renewable Energy

The Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq was adopted in the early 1960s to insure that business and industry does not spew pollutants into the air, causing harm to humans, plants and animals. Congress found that “the growth in the amount and complexity of air pollution brought about by urbanization, industrial development,… Continue Reading

One More (Baby?) Step Towards Aviation Fuel From Forest Biomass

Posted in Alternative Fuels, Natural Resources and Environment, Regulatory, Renewable Energy

Air travel is a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions and a major consumer of fossil fuels.  As a result Boeing and Airbus, as well as European airlines, have made major investments in developing aviation biofuel.  In 2008 Boeing said that aviation biofuel would be a reality by 2011. Well, 2011 is here, but commercial… Continue Reading

Food Fight! Greenhouse Gas Regulation in 2011

Posted in Legislation, Regulatory, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Business

For most of the last two years it has been easy to write about climate change legislation. Two years ago, Washington State seemed poised to adopt its own version of a cap-and-trade program as part of the Western Climate Initiative. But that legislation faltered, because it was not well developed and state legislators were bombarded… Continue Reading

Amending Washington’s Utility Statutes to Promote Green Energy Investment by Utilities

Posted in Regulatory, Renewable Energy

As Judy Endejan reported on October 21, the Washington State Clean Energy Leadership Plan Report identified regulatory influences and challenges as a key factor influencing clean energy job development in Washington. One of those challenges is the uncertainty utilities face in cost recovery because regulated utilities do not know whether they will be allowed to… Continue Reading

King County’s 2010 Energy Plan – The Glass Half Full

Posted in Legislation, Regulatory, Renewable Energy

Following adoption of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, for more than a decade discussion of response to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions focused on sweeping national and international programs. The Obama Administration made responding to global climate change one of the key issues it intended to address. More than a year ago the U.S. House… Continue Reading

Western Climate Initiative Steps Back Into the Federal Vacuum on Cap-and-Trade

Posted in Climate Change, Entrepreneurs, Legislation, Regulatory

The Western Climate Initiative (WCI) is a collaboration of seven Western states (Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington) and four Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec), dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Two years ago there was a major push in each… Continue Reading

Ecology Publishes Draft SEPA Guidance for Greenhouse Gases

Posted in Regulatory

Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) requires that prior to any decision with a “probable significant environmental impact,” the public decision maker publish an environmental impact statement (EIS). When any governmental permit is requested (with narrow exceptions), the government must first make a threshold determination as to whether the proposal does have a probable significant… Continue Reading

Utility Regulation If Global Warming Mattered

Posted in Natural Resources and Environment, Regulatory, Renewable Energy

In Washington, as in most states, privately owned public utilities are regulated by the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). Utility regulation developed beginning in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, and reflected the battles of that era with the monopolistic power of railroads and utilities. As the nation first discovered the power and mobility… Continue Reading

Washington Proposes State Greenhouse Gas Reporting Requirements Independent of National Reporting

Posted in Legislation, Natural Resources and Environment, Regulatory

This won’t be the last time that someone shrieks, “Don’t these guys talk to each other!?!” On September 22, 2009 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its final greenhouse gas reporting rule, requiring annual reporting of greenhouse gas emissions by a wide range of manufacturers, electricity generators, municipal solid waste landfills, manure management… Continue Reading