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Environmental Blog

Trump Administration Plans to Ramp Up Total Renewable Fuel Volumes Under the RFS Program for 2020

On October 4, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signaled an abrupt change to the status quo, by announcing plans to issue a final rulemaking that will increase total renewable fuel volumes under the federal Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program beginning in 2020 to compensate for volumes lost whenever the EPA grants waivers to “small refiners,” who successfully claim a disproportionate economic hardship under the program. This change will greatly benefit farmers growing corn to produce corn-based ethanol, a “conventional” biofuel that supplies the bulk of total renewable fuel volumes required under the RFS program.

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DOJ Announces Another Nail in Supplemental Environmental Projects’ Coffin

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) will no longer use Supplemental Environmental Projects (“SEPs”) in settlements with states and municipalities as a result of a policy change announced August 21, 2019.The change follows a series of steps taken since 2017 curtailing SEPs. It may foreshadow future action to formally curtail SEPs in settlements with private sector parties, as the memo notes that the Department is actively reconsidering current guidance that continues to allow SEPs in settlements with private parties.2

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  • 01
  • May
  • 2019

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BOEM Announces Increased Civil Monetary Penalties for 2019

As has been reported on in the past, federal agencies with oversight over offshore regulated activities, including oil and gas exploration and production operations, continue to increase the maximum civil penalty amounts they may assess for violations of applicable law, with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) being the latest agency to do so. Spurred on by increases in the Consumer Price Index, on March 26, 2019, BOEM adjusted its civil penalty amount to account for inflation.

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  • 24
  • August
  • 2018

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Fifth Circuit Opinion Confirms Federal Courts Closed for Cleanup Claims Against the State of Texas; State Courts Still an Option?

In a recent opinion, United States Oil Recovery Site Potentially Responsible Parties Group (“USOR Site PRP Group”) v. Railroad Commission of Texas, No. 17-20361, 2018 WL 3649653, (5th Cir. Aug. 1, 2018) the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit confirmed that sovereign immunity bars claims in federal court by private parties against states and state agencies under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (“CERCLA” or “Superfund”), 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq.

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Collision Course: Colorado Initiative #108 Seeks to Blunt Private Property Owners’ Damages Occasioned by State and Local Government Through Initiative #97

A petition for ballot Initiative #108 was submitted to the Colorado Secretary of State in advance of the August 6, 2018 deadline for proposals to be considered for inclusion on Colorado’s general election ballot on November 6, 2018. Touted as a “property rights” measure, Initiative #108 proposes to amend the Colorado Constitution in order to provide an equal playing field for private property owners seeking just compensation when state or local government takes action diminishing the “fair market value” of their properties.

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Margaret E. Peloso

Margaret E. Peloso Partner

Carrick Brooke-Davidson

Carrick Brooke-Davidson Counsel

Jennifer Cornejo

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Theresa Romanosky

Theresa Romanosky Senior Associate

Brandon M. Tuck

Brandon M. Tuck Counsel

Jay Rothrock

Jay Rothrock Senior Associate