EPA Seeks Public Comment on Existing Regulations for Repeal, Replacement or Modification

On April 13, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is seeking comments from the public on existing regulations that the Agency should consider repealing, replacing, or modifying. 82 Fed. Reg. 17793 (Apr. 13, 2017). EPA issued the Request for Comment in response to the February 2017 Executive Order issued by President Trump, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” that seeks “to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens on the American people.” As required by the EO, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt formed an EPA Regulatory Reform Task Force to carry out the...

FERC Reexamines its Policy on Hydro License Terms

The term of years granted in a federal hydroelectric license is a major – if not the major – factor in inducing a licensee to invest money in a hydroelectric project. The longer the term, the greater the opportunity to earn a return on such investments, particularly given the year-to-year variability of river flows. Thus it was not surprising that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC’s”) recent Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) on the length of license terms in Docket No. RM17-4 drew a range of responses across a swath of interest groups. What was perhaps unexpected was the apparent...

EPA Proposes to Delay the Effective Date of RMP Rule Amendments to 2019

On April 3, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule that would delay the effective date of the recent Risk Management Program (RMP) rule amendments to February 19, 2019. 82 Fed. Reg. 16146 (Apr. 3, 2017). EPA published amendments to the 40 C.F.R. Part 68 RMP rule in the final days of the Obama administration. 82 Fed. Reg. 4594 (Jan. 13, 2017). Those amendments changed a number of RMP program elements, including compliance audits, the process hazard analysis (PHA) process, emergency response drills and preparedness activities, and information sharing with...

For Those Keeping Tally, Another Win for Defendants’ Rights: Exploring De Novo Review and Burdens of Proof

On March 30, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued an order denying, without prejudice, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC” or the “Commission”) Motion to Affirm Civil Penalties against Barclays Bank PLC and four individuals (“Defendants”). [1] As an initial matter, the court agreed with every other federal court that has opined on the issue of whether defendants are entitled to conduct discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. [2] Notably, though, the court went further than any other court in rejecting arguments raised by FERC...

President Trump Signs Executive Order “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth”

On March 28, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order titled “ Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth .” Touted by the administration as both “protecting the environment and promoting [the] economy,” [1] the Order aims to “promote clean and safe development of our Nation’s vast energy resources, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation.” To accomplish these goals, the Order rescinds key pieces of the prior administration’s environmental agenda and requires federal...

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