Gabrielle Sigel and William Kaplowitz, attorneys in Jenner & Block's Environmental, Energy & Natural Resources Law Practice, recently posted to Jenner & Block's Climate Change Update Resource Center their March 2011 Update of Climate Change developments. Of note in this month's update are the denial of an injunction against construction of a wind farm near Great Basin National Park and the introduction of a Senate bill that would authorize financial and technical assistance for ten competitively selected carbon storage projects.
Click here to read the March 2011 Climate Change Update.
Keri Holleb Hotaling, a Partner in the Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Law Practice at Jenner & Block, will be speaking at the Environmental Law Committee Meeting of the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section on April 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm at the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Holleb Hotaling and John Weaver, President and Managing Principal, Weaver Boos Consultants North Central, LLC, will provide information and tips for working with experts in environmental litigation. Allison Torrence, an Associate in the Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Law Practice at Jenner & Block is co-chair of the CBA YLS Environmental Law Committee.
On April 19, 2011, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in American Electric Power et al. v. Connecticut et al., a case in which various states, municipalities, and several land trusts sued several power companies seeking an order requiring abatement of the companies' greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions under the theory that these emissions constituted a public nuisance. The district court dismissed plaintiffs' claims on the basis that the claims raised non-justiciable political questions. The Second Circuit reversed, finding that (i) plaintiffs had standing; (ii) plaintiffs had stated a claim under the federal common law of nuisance, and (iii) that the claims did not present non-justiciable political questions. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Peter D. Keisler argued the case on behalf of the utility defendant petitioners. Neal Kumar Katyal, Acting Solicitor General, argued the case on behalf of the Tennesse Valley Authority, one of the petitioners. Barbara D. Underwood, Solicitor General of New York, argued the case on behalf of the respondents.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations at 11 of its coal-fired plants in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The settlement will require TVA to invest an estimated $3 to $5 billion on new and upgraded state-of-the-art pollution controls. TVA also will invest $350 million on clean energy projects that will reduce pollution, save energy and protect public health and the environment.
A recent report released by the National Academy of Sciences ("NAS") is critical of U.S. EPA's draft risk assessment for formaldehyde. U.S. EPA's draft assessment, which was released for comment in June 2010, had concluded that formaldehyde was a carcinogen and could cause lymphohematopoietic and nasal cancers. The draft risk assessment also included a strict (and fairly controversial) inhalation unit risk factor of 8.1x10-2 parts per million-1. If the draft assessment were to become final (at least in its current form), it would likely result in a myriad of stringent emission regulations on products such as plywood, carpet and natural gas turbines, all of which emit formaldehyde.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) released on Friday, April 8th, its Guide to Corporate Ecosystems Valuation. The guide provides a framework for improving corporate decision-making through valuing ecosystem services. According to WBCSD, the guide is a first of its kind report focused on the needs of business in evaluating sustainability opportunities.
Year One Of Two-Year EPA Phaseout Of Paper And Optical Disc TSCA New Chemical Notice Reporting Complete
On April 6 of last year, EPA issued a final rule initiating a two-year phaseout of the use of paper and optical disc (e.g., CD) to submit TSCA Section 5 new chemical notices to EPA. Year one is now complete, meaning that companies may no longer submit new chemical notices (including premanufacture notices (PMNs)), or the often voluminous accompanying support documents, on paper to EPA. Companies must now submit these notices using either EPA's Central Data Exchange (CDX) or optical disc. After April 6, 2012, the phaseout will be complete, and optical discs will no longer be accepted. All submitters from that point forward will have to use CDX.
Yesterday, a group of environmental organizations, led by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, filed a joint petition requesting that certain federal agencies, with oversight from the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), prepare a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) assessing the cumulative impacts of drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation in the Chesapeake Bay states and promulgate regulations based on the findings. The petition asserts: "Drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation has significant impacts within the Chesapeake Bay states and to the 35 national park units that lie within or in the vicinity of the formation – and those impacts demand that action be taken by the federal government to determine the best way to protect human health and the environment."
On April 1, 2011, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) sent letters to 15 chemical manufacturers asking them to submit to Congress information pertaining to certain chemical products that are classified as persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic ("PBT"). The letters request information concerning (i) the volume of PBT chemicals produced, (ii) specific consumer products that might contain these PBT chemicals, and (iii) what, if any, testing has been done to address any risks that might be associated with these products. To see examples of these letters, please click here.
Allison Torrence will be speaking at Northwestern School of Law on April 5th, 2011, at a panel discussion about Careers in Environmental & Animal Law. Ms. Torrence will discuss her education and training in environmental law and take questions from law students eager to learn about practicing in the environmental law field. Ms. Torrence will also describe her work experience in the Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Law Practice at Jenner & Block.