As many individuals read this from the safety of their homes, significant time and energy is focused around the impact on human health, the economy, our families, and so many other areas that have been impacted by COVID-19. However, while the thought of entire cities, trains, airports, and public businesses being shut down indefinitely has evoked fear among many individuals, a byproduct of this crisis is the significant reduction, albeit temporary, in the world’s output of greenhouse gases. According to a recent Forbes article, …Continue Reading
Category: Climate Change
Trump Administration: Environmental (Budget) Impact Assessment
Earlier this month, the Trump Administration released its Fiscal Year 2021 Budget requests. As it has in previous years, the administration has proposed steep cuts in funding for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Other agencies, such as the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would also see their budgets trimmed. Although the current Congress is unlikely to agree to such broad-sweeping cuts, the White House’s proposed budget requests provide a strong indicator of the Trump Administration’s priorities.
Overall, …Continue Reading
Paper or Plastic: Why This Should No Longer be an Option
Across the United States, local governments and state legislatures have focused their efforts on reducing and/or eliminating the use of plastic bags at grocery stores and other businesses. Such a reduction is significant to reducing harmful impacts suffered in oceans, lakes, rivers, forests, and other natural habitats for creatures. Furthermore, the implementation of regulations and bans prohibiting the use and sale of plastic bags focuses on improvements in recycling efforts, which is aimed to increase awareness of the negative side effects of the prevalent use …Continue Reading
Climate Change Alert: Following the New York ExxonMobil Decision, Eyes Turn to Massachusetts
A federal judge in Boston, Massachusetts is considering a motion from the Massachusetts attorney general to remand the case back to state court from federal court. The case was removed to federal court in late 2019, and Attorney General Healey’s request to remand the case was received on Jan. 2, 2020. In the motion, the attorney general noted that the case did not concern various federal issues, such as carbon taxes, prohibitions on the sales of gasoline, or international climate change agreements. More specifically, the action was brought under the Massachusetts …Continue Reading
Proposed Rollback of NEPA Regulations to Impact Review of Environmental Impacts of Federally-Approved Projects
The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed a new rule on January 10, 2020 to alter the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA requires federal agencies to review the potential environmental effects of all federal, federally-assisted, and federally-licensed actions, and analyze potential alternative solutions before making a final decision on such actions. In essence, agencies are required to comply with the NEPA environmental review process, while considering a wide range of federal actions that include federal construction projects, plans to develop federally owned lands, and federal approvals of non-federal activities such …Continue Reading
Several States Press the Accelerator on Reducing GHG Emissions in Transportation Sector from Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles
Last week, eight states and the District of Columbia announced a joint commitment to develop an agreement and action plan to support accelerated development of medium and heavy-duty zero emissions trucks and buses. In a joint statement of intent entitled “Multi-State Medium-and Heavy- Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Initiative,” California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont declared their intent to develop a multistate memorandum of understanding to support efforts to develop zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in an effort to address climate change concerns.
“Our states recognize that nearly …Continue Reading
Breaking News: Fraud Claims Against Exxon Mobil Dismissed in Landmark Trial
Early this morning the court cleared Exxon Mobil in hotly contested litigation that was pending in New York. In a bench trial, which took place in October 2019, the New York State attorney general alleged that Exxon defrauded investors by inflating their value with internal climate risk metrics. Additionally, several have alleged that such misrepresentations have led to significant impacts on climate change globally. Today, the court ruled that the New York attorney general failed to present sufficient evidence to support its claims …Continue Reading
An Exercise in Separation of Powers: Second Circuit Signals Affirmance of Dismissal of NYC Climate Change Lawsuit
“Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the two other branches of government,” said district court judge John Keenan last July in nixing New York City’s climate change nuisance suit that seeks to hold major oil companies liable for global-warming related injuries resulting from greenhouse gas emissions. New York City appealed Judge Keenan’s dismissal to the second circuit, arguing that its action is not an attempt to regulate emissions.
Late last week, hearing New York City’s appeal of Judge Keenan’s dismissal, the second …Continue Reading
Next-Gen Nuclear Gaining Steam as Green Power Alternative with Governmental Partnerships
In early October 2019, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) executed a memorandum of understanding to share technical resources and expertise to accelerate the development and implementation of advanced nuclear technologies. Under the agreement, the DOE would run a National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) with a goal of funneling private sector funds to the testing and validation of reactor concepts, and would assist potential providers of advanced nuclear technology with guidance through relevant regulatory processes. The …Continue Reading
To Remove or Not Remove – Complete Preemption is the Question!
An interesting dichotomy is developing in how federal courts are determining the proper forum for climate change lawsuits, that is whether they should be heard in state or federal court. This question, while seemingly a technical matter of civil procedure, could be fundamental to whether current and future climate change suits will be successful or whether they will be heard at all. The technical issue at stake is preemption – whether federal issues are determinative of the matters raised in the climate change suit – …Continue Reading