Energy Regulators Dial Back Grid Reliability Standards Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Last week the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) jointly announced the suspension of certain rules through July 31, 2020, in an effort to allow utility operators to “focus their resources on keeping people safe and the lights on during this unprecedented public health emergency.”[1]  NERC, a nonprofit corporation devoted to reducing risks to the reliability and security of the electrical grid across North America, develops and enforces the Reliability Standards, which are designed to ensure …

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Clean Air Act Alert: Coalition of Northeastern States Sue EPA over Good Neighbor Violations

Five states and the City of New York filed suit last week against the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Southern District of New York alleging the agency failed to protect the states from ozone pollution traveling downwind, in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The coalition of states, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts, and the City of New York, are seeking an order that requires the EPA to create a plan to limit ozone emissions carried into the states from certain upwind states, including Illinois, …

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EPA Finalizes Controversial Navigable Waters Protection Rule

Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the final version of a new rule called the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which will define the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The WOTUS definition is important as it determines which of the nation’s waterways falls within the jurisdiction of the CWA, the federal law that regulates the discharge of pollutants to the country’s surface waters. The recent announcement regarding the Navigable Waters Protection Rule is the second of two steps in the …

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New Lawsuit puts EPA Repeal of WOTUS Rule in the News Again

On December 20, 2019 a coalition of 14 states, including both New York and New Jersey along with the District of Columbia and New York City, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers,  challenging the new rule that redefines the term “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA), which went into effect on December 23, 2019. The new lawsuit can be added to the list of challenges to the Trump …

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Blowin’ in the Wind: New Jersey and New York see a Gust of Activity in Clean Energy Efforts

New Jersey and New York are leading the way with respect to the ongoing development of renewable energy sources,  in particular, as it relates to the procurement of offshore wind projects expected to produce renewable power for hundreds of thousands of homes in each state. There has been recent activity in both states’ efforts to make these projects a reality with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issuing Executive Order No. 92 on November 19, 2019, which more than doubles the New Jersey’s offshore wind goal to 7,500 megawatts by 2035, and, with the October 23, 2019 announcement that the New York …

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Environmental Advocacy Groups Mount New Challenges to EPA Decision-Making Under the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act

The EPA has been called to task on multiple fronts in the past week by challenges from environmental advocacy groups. The agency faces new claims in a federal suit filed by several entities in the District of South Carolina due to the repeal of the 2015 Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which determines the waterways that are covered by the Clean Water Act (CWA). The repeal was previously reported by the Environmental Law Monitor. Additionally, a petition was filed last week by a coalition of renewable fuel and agricultural trade organizations in the D.C. Court …

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Inspector General Directs the EPA to Improve Oversight of Public Drinking Water Regulations

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report that found the EPA is failing to properly monitor state-level compliance for violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Federal regulations mandate that public water systems notify consumers of violations of the national drinking water standards or in situations that pose a risk to the public. These violations and situations are divided into three tiers with specific notice requirements. Under the SDWA, 49 states and certain territories are responsible for implementing the federal drinking water program, with …

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