On January 12, 2023, the US Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published its proposed National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives (“NECIs”), soliciting public comment on the Agency’s potential Initiatives for fiscal years 2024 through 2027. These NECIs will guide EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (“OECA”) in its enforcement efforts over the next four years by focusing resources on “serious and widespread environmental problems where federal enforcement can make a difference.” Unsurprisingly, the identified NECIs build off EPA’s FY2022 Enforcement Results (on which we recently reported) and reflect OECA’s overarching goal: “to protect human health and the environment by holding polluters accountable and compelling regulated entities to return to compliance.”

Continue Reading TRENDING: EPA’s Proposed Enforcement & Compliance Initiatives Continue Heightened Focus on Environmental Justice and Climate Change, While Honing in on PFAS Contamination

On December 17, 2022, the US Department of Energy published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) titled, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: Support for Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis, Manufacturing, and Recycling.

Hydrogen plays a critical role in the United States’ energy mix, providing energy security, economic value, and environmental benefits. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) issued the NOI to achieve such goals by providing financial assistance awards in the form of cooperative agreements. These funds were appropriated by Congress in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (more commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)).

Continue Reading DOE Publishes Notice of Intent to Fund Clean Hydrogen Projects

The US Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced its enforcement and compliance results for Fiscal Year 2022 (“FY2022”) in late December. In the Annual Results report prepared by EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (“OECA”), OECA highlights EPA’s efforts to target the most serious violations of the country’s core environmental statutes and civil rights laws—effectuating the mission and principles set forth in its FY2022 to 2026 EPA Strategic Plan. According to OECA, EPA’s enforcement and compliance program used “a range of tools and best practices” to specifically target water, air, land and chemical violations that impacted communities the most. In so doing, EPA reportedly reduced, treated or eliminated approximately 95 million pounds of pollutants and compelled violators to pay over $300 million in fines, restitution or penalties. The enforcement and compliance trends highlighted below continue an overall decline seen in the last decade, yet provide evidence that EPA is succeeding in its enforcement and compliance efforts in areas that are the biggest priority for the Biden administration.

Continue Reading EPA’s FY2022 Enforcement Results: Key Focus on Environmental Justice and Climate Change

On November 16, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB or the Board) proposed a new Scoping Plan for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  Generally, the Scoping Plan is a means by which the Board can assess California’s progress toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2045, and issue new policies and strategy to meet that goal.  The Board is required by law to update the Scoping Plan every five years, and this is the third such update since the California legislature enacted the California Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006.  CARB staff are touting the Scoping Plan not only as reducing GHG emissions, but also as leading to the creation of four million new jobs and the avoidance of $200 billion in pollution-related health expenditures.

Continue Reading To Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2045, CARB Proposes 2022 Scoping Plan

On November 28, 2022, the Council of the European Union formally adopted the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), following the European Parliament’s formal adoption of the directive earlier last month. The CSRD is a broad environmental, social, and governance reporting framework that will impose uniform, mandatory reporting requirements on many companies with European operations, including companies not based in Europe.
Continue Reading European Union Adopts Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive With Impacts Beyond Europe

On November 16, 2022, the California Air Resources Board released its proposed final “2022 Scoping Plan for Achieving Carbon Neutrality.” The plan lays out a path for California to achieve carbon neutrality and reduce anthropogenic emissions to 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2045. Notably, it highlights the necessity for carbon capture and carbon removal to achieve net negative emissions. California is an ideal testing ground for CCS for several reasons, including a culture of innovation, good geology for storage, and aggressive state targets on emissions.
Continue Reading California’s 2022 Proposed Final Scoping Plan

On October 18, 2022, the Department of the Interior announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold an offshore wind energy lease sale on December 6, 2022, for areas on the Outer Continental Shelf off central and northern California. This will be the first-ever offshore wind lease sale on America’s west coast and the first-ever US sale to support potential commercial-scale floating offshore wind energy development.
Continue Reading First Offshore Wind Energy Lease Sale in the Pacific Creates Opportunity for Developers

The Gulf of Mexico has long been home to offshore energy development, but with President Biden’s call to advance offshore wind development, a new change is potentially coming to the horizon—wind farms. At the helm of Gulf wind development is the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, who has now announced the solicitation of public comments on two potential wind energy areas off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana and the related environmental assessment for the entire Gulf Call Area.
Continue Reading Change on the Horizon for Gulf of Mexico Energy Production

We have written extensively on the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposal to require that public companies disclose climate-related information and other environment, social, and corporate governance (ESG) trends. However, the European Union (EU) is at the vanguard of emerging requirements focused on climate-related information and broader ESG-aligned information.

Continue Reading Emerging EU ESG Requirements: Transatlantic Implications for Multinational Companies

In line with the Biden administration’s focus on expanding offshore wind energy, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is seeking public review and comments on the draft Morro Bay Wind Energy Area (WEA) environmental assessment (EA) by Friday, May 6, 2022. The EA for the Morro Bay WEA “considers potential environmental and socioeconomic effects from issuing offshore wind energy leases and related site characterization and assessment activities.” Written comments may be filed or shared virtually at the April 14 or April 19 meeting.

Continue Reading BOEM Prepares for California Offshore Wind Energy Area with Request for Public Comments on Draft Environmental Assessment