Brandon D. Zeller

All articles by Brandon D. Zeller


Bankruptcy Court Approves $43 Million Coal Cleanup Deal

On Tuesday, September 5, 2017, a bankruptcy court in Missouri approved a $43 million settlement between the reorganized Peabody Energy Corp., which is a coal producer, and the federal government. The settlement related to CERCLA liability incurred by one of Peabody’s affiliate companies, Gold Fields Mining LLC. Peabody acquired responsibility for Gold Fields’ pollution liability when it gained control of the company in the 1990s.  The federal government had filed proofs of claim in Peabody’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding on
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Massachusetts Steps Up its Game on Climate Regulation

Last Friday, August 11, 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection published expansive new regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The regulations will affect a broad range of stakeholders within the state, including new requirements for power generators, electric utilities, natural gas distributors, government, and the transportation sector. The new regulations are the latest step in an arduous process the state has undertaken to combat climate change. In 2008, the Massachusetts legislature passed the Global Warming
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Nuclear Option: New York Federal Judge Strikes Down Challenge to Power Plant Subsidies

On Tuesday, July 25, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni dismissed a challenge to New York’s plan to subsidize the state’s nuclear power plants. According to the Judge’s decision, the plan does not intrude upon federal jurisdiction over wholesale electricity markets and passes constitutional muster because it is rationally related to a legitimate state interest: the production of clean energy and the reduction of carbon emissions from the production of other energy. A coalition of power generators and energy
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Back to the Drawing Board for Clean Coal

Kemper County Power Generation Facility, the flagship “clean coal” project in rural eastern Mississippi, will rely on natural gas rather than coal to produce electricity. After years of delays and cost overruns totaling over $4 billion over the facility’s original budget of $2.9 billion, the facility’s coal gasifier project has been shuttered. The Kemper facility had been central to the Obama administration’s energy plan and to the administration’s assertions that it was not anti-coal. However, the worsening situation prompted the
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NMFS and NOAA Solicit Comments Regarding Offshore Seismic Surveys; Environmental Groups Enthusiastically Oblige

On June 6, 2017, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) took the next step towards oil and gas drilling offshore of the east coast of the United States. The agencies filed a notice of takes of marine mammals incidental to geophysical surveys in the Atlantic Ocean and opened the subject for public comment. Three geophysical mapping companies have sought permits to conduct surveys off the east coast. The surveys would involve the use
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