Aerial/Drone view of a wind farm with multiple wind turbines at sunrise

New NEPA Rule Eases Permitting Process while Advancing Environmental Justice

On the final day of April 2024, a week and a half after Earth Day, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) finalized a rule intended to simplify and modernize the federal environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). A pillar of environmental law passed in 1970, NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental, social, and economic impacts of a wide array of agency activities, such as land management, infrastructure construction, and permitting decisions. This …

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Close up view of railroad, transport background

Executive Order Aims to Increase Oversight of East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment Response

Just before 9 p.m. ET on February 3, a 150-car, 9,000 foot long, Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, a quarter mile west of the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line. Twenty of the affected cars contained hazardous materials, including vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol, ethylhexyl acrylate, butyl acrylate and isobutylene. Some cars caught fire, others spilled their loads into an adjacent ditch that feeds Sulphur Run, a stream that joins Leslie Run, which eventually empties into the Ohio River.

Since the derailment, the Federal government …

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Stormy White House

New Executive Order Renews & Strengthens America’s Commitment to Environmental Justice

Right on the heels of Earth Day, President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14096, titled “Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All” (full text of the Order can be found in the Federal Register, accessible here).

This “whole of government” EO will affect how the federal government oversees permitting and funding for industry building and expansion in already overburdened communities, in which low-income and people of color typically reside. This is only the latest of many actions undertaken by this administration signaling …

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Renewable Energy

European Union Moves to Create Subsidy Regime to Counteract U.S. Clean-Tech Policies

The European Union plans to push back against the clean-tech tax breaks provided in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) by easing subsidy rules and creating a new source of money to help member states compete with the United States.

Some EU members see aspects of the IRA as discriminatory, designed to benefit U.S. climate tech manufacturers at the expense of Europe. The IRA sets aside $369 billion worth of tax breaks and subsidies to boost green technology and energy security in the U.S., several of …

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A fleet of US postal service vehicles parked in a line.

You’ll Soon Be Getting Your Mail Delivered by Electric Vehicles

Biden administration officials announced on December 20, 2022, that the U.S. Postal Service intends to purchase over 66,000 electric vehicles by 2028, which would create one of the nation’s largest electric fleets in an effort to fight climate change.

To reach this goal, the USPS announced that it plans to purchase 60,000 so-called “Next Generation Delivery Vehicles” (NGDV) from Wisconsin-based defense contractor Oshkosh, 45,000 of which will be electric. The remainder will be supplied by a 46,000-vehicle purchase from other automobile makers; 21,000 of those …

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Solar and wind energy farm

Everything Clean is New Again

The pendulum of policy on the environment was sent pounding back toward regulation again when the Biden administration issued new directives for greenhouse gas emissions.

The Interim Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change (“Interim Guidance”) seeks to:

  • Clarify best practices for assessing greenhouse gases under the National Environmental Policy Act;
  • Fast-track evaluation of renewable energy projects, and;
  • Recommend reduction of harmful greenhouse gases by federal agencies. (One of the ways it does this is by requiring federal interaction and engagement with
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Man inserts a power cord into an electric car for charging

New Environmental Auto Regs Running on Empty?

The Biden administration in April gave a large boost to vehicle-fuel-economy standards when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced its intention to increase Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (“CAFE”) standards by 8 percent for the 2024 and 2025 model years, and 10 percent in 2026.

This aggressive initiative took a large step in reversing the Trump administration’s rollback of regulations targeting gas mileage and pollution reduction put in place during the Obama era. However, this large step also may have just tripped over the …

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Single wind turbine, a coal burning power plant with pollution and electricity pylons in the background.

Outsmarting Climate Change: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Greenhouse Gas Regulation

For nearly a decade, there has been a trend of decreasing industry greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions … that is, until now. According to the World Meteorological Organization, atmospheric levels of the three main greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—all reached new record highs in 2021. In addition, these emissions have increased almost an additional 1% in the United States for 2022. Although the reason for this increase is not entirely clear, it is likely the result of both biological and human-induced processes, including a …

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Flags - United Nations

What to Expect at The Upcoming COP27 U.N. Climate Conference

Due to increasing droughts, wildfires, flooding, and more severe storms, most of the scientific community and political leaders around the world agree that climate change is a real and significant threat facing this planet requiring more action to be taken sooner rather than later to address.

Those that share this assessment also agree that it cannot be left up to just one nation to stifle further climate change. In an effort to foster international cooperation, every year since 1995, a large-scale global event takes place …

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New Law Provides Clean Energy Tax Credit Bonanza

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that President Biden signed into law on August 16 ran, all told, about 725 pages. One of the more complex and—for businesses—interesting portions of this law involves its restructuring and expanding of clean-energy tax credits, which may provide opportunities for companies operating in and around the clean-energy area. 

The IRA increased the tax credits’ appeal by extending them at full value for 10 years; the credits only decline once power-sector carbon emissions fall to 75% of today’s levels. It also expanded the scope of these …

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