Posts tagged burr and forman.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation ("TDEC") is soliciting comments on its new Antidegradation Guidance Document. The document, dated July 19, 2016, was made public January 5, 2016. TDEC is requesting comments by February 17, 2016. The Guidance Document was prepared by a Massachusetts company, Industrial Economics, Incorporated.

The Guidance Document is not developed or promulgated by the Board of Water Quality, Oil and Gas ("Board"), which is the entity charged with establishing rules governing water quality standards. The Board promulgated the ...

A recent article in The New York Times titled: Perils of Climate Change Could Swamp Coast Real Estate, indicates that rising seas and storm-related flooding in Florida appear to be driven by climate change and may be having direct impacts on the coastal real estate market (NYT Coastal Real Estate). Acknowledging that the incoming Trump administration has given new life to doubts about climate change, the article notes some actual changes in coastal areas due to sea levels and the impact of storms on local flooding not for the fact the conditions have occurred, but for the impact of the ...

The first nuclear generator commissioned in the U. S. in 20 years has begun commercial operation. The Tennessee Valley Authority brought the Watts Bar 2 Reactor on line on October 19 (The Hill). Despite the long interval between plant starts, this marks the first of five nuclear reactors under construction in the United States, all of which are expected to come online by 2020.

Worldwide, according to the World Nuclear Association, about 60 nuclear power reactors are under construction with estimates of over 160 in the firm planning stages (World Nuclear). The Association estimates ...

Posted in: Nuclear Energy

The EPA's publication of a coal ash rule on April 17, 2015, did little to resolve the debate about the proper management of the material (EPA Coal Ash Page). Members of Congress have continued to push for legislation which would change significant parts of the rule, and EPA is now being criticized by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for not providing sufficient protection to minority communities potentially affected by the issue.

Members of Congress have, for several years, attempted to regulate coal ash by statute even as EPA was proceeding with the very protracted process of ...

For the past three years, since 2013, energy production in the United States from renewable sources (non-nuclear) has remained fairly constant at about 9 ½% of total energy production. (U. S. Energy Information Agency report, Topic 1.1.) While the potential to expand renewable production is viewed as a potentially significant economic development opportunity, there remain some practical barriers to any substantial increase in the development of renewables. This may be compounded by the mechanism used by EPA in certain states to credit renewable use.

The International Economic ...

Posted in: Renewable Energy

Alabama has joined several other states in a petition filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit seeking to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency's final rule regulating emissions standards for certain oil and gas operations. (AG's Press Release). This challenge is apparently intended not only to address concerns about the rule for new and expanded projects, but also the potential that the rule will be extended to cover existing oil and gas operations. The challenge is led by West Virginia, and a copy of the Petition as filed with the D.C. Circuit can be found at ...

One of the many issues in the current Presidential campaign involves the question of whether to pursue a tax on carbon emissions. The matter has been viewed by the Clinton campaign with some interest but not commitment, while Donald Trump is opposed to the carbon tax at least on the basis that there is no science that supports the underlying idea of climate change. (The Divide on a Carbon Tax)

Interestingly, Exxon has called for support for a carbon tax and acceptance of scientific evidence of climate change (Fortune and Times-Picayune) even though the Company and allies continue to ...

Posted in: Carbon

President Obama signed a major reform of the Nation's chemical safety standards on Wednesday, June 22. The legislation amended the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, providing the first substantive changes in the 40-year old law. (The Hill: Obama Signs Chemical Safety Overhaul).

The amendments significantly change the authorities of the Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate chemicals and provide protection to the public. The goal is to provide more extensive and functional oversight of the chemical industry, but in a way that provides certainty to chemical ...

Certain regulated entities that operate under Clean Air Act permits are being reminded that those permits do not necessarily cover air emissions associated with the management of hazardous wastes regulated by the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and various State counterpart statutes. RCRA regulations governing hazardous waste management include certain requirements intended to prevent fugitive emissions of hazardous air pollutants, and these can operate separate from or in addition to requirements imposed by a facility's air permit.

An EPA national ...

The coal industry has experienced substantial economic turmoil over the recent past, including bankruptcies - most recently by Peabody Energy Corporation - but also by Arch Coal, Inc., Walter Energy, Inc., and Patriot Coal Corp.

Generally, the industry and associated users of coal, have attributed these problems to the designated "War on Coal," the fashionable pejorative characterization of policies of the Obama Administration. Popular as it is among these groups to blame all the industry's woes on the Administration, this may well distract from the real cause. Business and ...

Posted in: Coal

Renewable energy investments (primarily solar and wind generation) set a record in 2015 with a collective investment of $286 billion. This according to a report from the United Nations Environment Progamme. (Climate Central News). The indication was that this amount was substantially greater than the total of $130 billion spent on fossil fuel plants last year. Moreover, much of the total is attributable to China, which has historically focused primarily on coal-fired electric generation. Similar progress was noted in the United States at the recent National Renewable Energy ...

Posted in: Renewable Energy
Flint, Michigan's problems with lead in its drinking water have been well documented, and this has prompted reports of similar problems detected in other communities, even though these are apparently not as extensive as the situation in Flint. The situation has also revealed that the current procedures to identify and evaluate lead contamination may be flawed and prompted attention to the fact that many other potential contaminants of concern are currently unregulated. Lead contamination has been documented in a surprising number of communities in addition to Flint over the past ...

On February 9, 2016, the United States Supreme Court dealt the Obama administration a setback when it temporarily blocked the Obama administration's efforts to regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants in its attempt to combat global warming. In a 5-4 opinion, with the Court's four liberal members dissenting, the Court granted a request by 29 states, along with dozens of corporations and industry groups, to temporarily halt an Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") regulation[1] before the matter was fully considered by a federal appeals court. The EPA issued the ...

The problems with the quality of drinking water in Flint, Michigan, are not necessarily an isolated collection of failures. From a technical standpoint, the potential for lead leaching into drinking water systems in many places in this country is a real issue. That potential is compounded if we see a repeat of the range of bureaucratic failures that occurred in Flint. The basic conditions that exist in Flint are not unique; they are prevalent at least in the older water systems of the Northeast and Midwest. (National Geographic). As that article points out, the potential for leaching of ...
As the New Year begins, a number of issues will compete for attention from Congress and the courts, and we may even get some final determinations about matters that have been long simmering. Much of the substantive work of the Obama Administration has been put into place and is currently subject to various challenges. Many of these will either be decided or will progress substantially during the coming year. Nonetheless, EPA has proposed a full agenda of rulemaking activities for 2016, including both projected notices of proposed rulemaking and publication of final rules for a wide ...

The third global summit on climate change has begun its meetings in Paris. Unlike the two previous summits, in Kyoto (1997) and Copenhagen (2009), there is optimism that an agreement under the auspices of the United Nations might be reached. (Paris Deal Important First Step).

This optimism apparently has its origin, in substantial part, based on an agreement between the United States and China, the two largest carbon pollution emitters in the world. Yet, while the President may have made inroads to persuading China that emissions reductions are merited, and he has also put his own ...

Posted in: Climate Change

A story in the New York Times recently portrays the ice cap in Greenland as rapidly disappearing. (NYT). Indeed, the pictures are dramatic. The story is based on experiences and observations from scientists working in the area, and it tends to support similar claims made by researchers in recent years about changing conditions in Greenland. At the same time, those who deny that global warming is occurring, or at least that it is not significantly caused by human activity, have pointed to other reasons for the reduction in the ice cap there. (Junk Science) Thus, observations are made that ...

Posted in: Climate Change

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a nationwide stay of the controversial EPA/Corps of Engineers Clean Water Rule which was effective August 28, 2015. A copy of the decision is HERE. Some 30 states, industry and environmental groups had petitions pending in a number of circuit courts and all were consolidated in the Sixth Circuit. In what appears to be an interesting ruling, the three judge panel essentially expressed a desire to have the rule fully litigated before enforcing it. According to the Court:

A stay temporarily silences the whirlwind of confusion that ...

For the City of Flint, Michigan, the immediate problem is that the water it provides its citizens is not safe to drink. For many other communities across the nation, the problem may be whether they can do the things necessary to avoid a similar fate. On Thursday, October 1, local health officials in Flint declared a public health emergency warning that the City's public water supply is causing elevated lead levels in children (Water Crisis in Flint). Residents were warned not to drink the water unless it has been filtered at the tap, and the State's governor promised to provide $1 million ...

Legal challenges filed almost immediately after President Obama announced the Clean Power Rule may be premature. That is what attorneys for EPA told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently in response to an action brought by West Virginia and several other states. The fundamental issue according to EPA attorneys is that a challenge is not ripe until the regulation is published in the Federal Register, and that may not occur for several weeks. (The Hill). The particular issue raised by the petitioners is an effort to stay the effect of the Rule while the ...

Georgia EPD is proposing to require any new inert waste landfill operations to obtain an inert waste landfill solid waste handling permit. It also provides a transition period to allow existing inert waste landfill operations to comply with these new requirements or close under the existing inert waste landfill permit by rule closure criteria. EPD will be requiring specific design and operational criteria, and will impose a solid waste handling permit process to replace the existing notification of permit by rule (PBR) operations. 

The Land Protection Branch of Georgia EPD recently announced several organizational changes. The reorganization became effective on August 1, 2012. Included among the Branch reorganization are: - The position of Assistant Branch Chief has been established and is held by Jeff Cown - A new Special Projects role for data management and work process improvements is held by Renee Hudson Goodley - Response and Remediation Program now includes the Brownfields Unit. Derrick Williams has assumed the role of Program Manager, moving from the Underground Storage Tank Program - The new ...

Posted in: Georgia, Regulations

Compliance dates for the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE), 40 CFR 63 Subpart ZZZZ, for existing sources are soon approaching. In 2010, EPA expanded the applicability of this rule to control hazardous air emissions not only from new engines but also existing engines, regardless of whether those engines are located at major source or area (minor) sources of HAPs. Types of engines covered include non-emergency engines used for power generation (including peak shaving), emergency backup power ...

On August 21, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, in EME Homer City Generation, L.P v. EPA, F.3d (D. C. Cir. 2012), vacated the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR, also known as the "Transport Rule") and remanded the rulemaking proceeding to EPA. The D.C. Circuit directed EPA to continue to administer the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) "pending implementation of a valid replacement". Judge Brett Kavanagh wrote for the Court: Here, EPA's Transport Rule exceeds the agency's statutory authority in two independent respects. First, the statutory text grants EPA authority to ...

Posted in: Air Pollution

On August 13, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in State of Texas v. EPA, No. 10-60614 (5th Cir. Aug. 13, 2012), affirming Texas's State Implementation Plan (SIP) allowing for "flexible permits." Under Texas's Flexible Permit Program, a facility may make modifications without agency review so long as aggregate emissions do not exceed an emissions cap for the facility. The case could have broader implications across the country, if other courts adopt the Fifth Circuit's reasoning to allow increased flexibility in state air permitting programs. In this case ...

On August 7, the White House announced an expedited approval schedule for seven solar and wind projects on federal and tribal lands in Arizona, California, Nevada and Wyoming totaling 5,000 megawatts (MW) of energy-producing capacity, an amount sufficient to power roughly 1.5 million homes. Three of the proposals would be first to come on line. The Quartzsite, McCoy and Desert Harvest solar energy facilities represent a combined 1,000 MW of capacity, and are on schedule for approval this year. Another project announced is the 3,000 MW Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind energy ...

On August 6, 2012, Gibson Guitar Corp. entered into a criminal enforcement agreement with the United States, resolving a criminal investigation into allegations that the company violated the Lacey Act by illegally purchasing and importing ebony wood from Madagascar and rosewood and ebony from India. The Lacey Act prohibits the importation into the United States of plants and plant products that have been harvested and exported in violation of the laws of another country. The agreement requires Gibson to pay a penalty amount of $300,000 and provides for a community service payment ...

On July 12, EPA issued its Final Step 3 Tailoring Rule, announcing that EPA has decided not to lower the greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting levels and therefore will not be including additional, smaller sources in the PSD/Title V permitting programs at this time. 77 Fed. Reg. 41,300 (2012). For more information on environmental law topics, please contact one of the Burr & Forman team members for assistance. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

On June 26, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected industry petitions challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions, finding that none of the challengers had standing to bring suit. Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. v. EPA, 684 F.3d 102 (D.C. Cir. 2012). The petitions targeted EPA's "tailoring" rule, which requires major polluters to obtain permits for their greenhouse gas emissions; the "tailpipe" rule, which sets standards for greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light-duty trucks beginning in the 2012 ...

On June 21, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Southern Union Co. v. United States, 132 S. Ct. 2344 (2012). The 6-3 decision overturned an $18 million criminal penalty for the illegal storage of mercury on the grounds that facts used to increase the amount of the monetary penalty were not proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Southern Union argued that imposing any penalty greater than the one-day RCRA maximum criminal fine of $50,000 would be unconstitutional under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U. S. 466 (2000). Apprendi holds that the jury-trial guarantee of the Sixth ...

"The complex system of environmental laws and regulations impact our clients' businesses in a variety of contexts. Our attorneys regularly counsel clients on environmental legal issues arising in business strategy, regulatory compliance, permitting, transactions and resolution of disputes. Land conservation, historic preservation, brownfield redevelopment, environmental remediation, recycling, greenhouse gas, climate change, and regulation of air, water and wastes, all have the potential to pose challenges to corporate or real estate transactions. Our attorneys ...

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