On April 6, 2023, President Biden issued Executive Order 14094, Modernizing Regulatory Review. This Executive Order (EO) makes several important changes to the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) regulatory review process for federal agency regulations. The EO significantly affects which regulations qualify for interagency review, modifies the OMB gatekeeping function by which meetings are granted on proposed rules, and requires the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs’ (OIRA) to amend policies underlying how the federal government conducts cost-benefit analysis. In addition, OIRA has released a suite of new draft guidance documents that serve to implement the EO that, if finalized, will impact the review process for regulations. These guidance documents are open for comment as described below.
On December 18, 2020, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) published notice of its intent to issue a non-rule standard permit for Marine Loading Operations (MLO). [i] The 30 day comment period ends on January 22 and instructions for the submittal of written comments are provided in the notice. A telephonic public meeting will be held on January 21 at 10:00 a.m. Instructions for participation are provided in the notice. In addition, the standard permit section of the TCEQ website includes a background document and a copy of the permit. [ii]
Continue Reading TCEQ Develops Standard Permit for Marine Loading Operations
On November 19, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“Commission”) issued Opinion No. 569-B, its latest order addressing evaluations of whether a public utility’s return on equity (“ROE”) is just and reasonable under Section 206 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”).  As described herein, the Commission largely reaffirmed the methodology established in its prior related opinions. See here.
Continue Reading FERC Affirms ROE Methodology for Public Utilities
In this article, the authors discuss the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and environmental justice review requirements for federal agency actions, recent challenges and court decisions showcasing the increased scrutiny and focus on environmental justice reviews for project permitting, recent NEPA regulation and other environmental justice developments, and what the recent cases and other recent regulatory and political developments may mean for project permitting and environmental justice.…
On September 6, Assistant Secretary of Energy for Electricity Bruce Walker issued an order under Section 202(c) of the Federal Power Act declaring an emergency shortage of electric generation and directing the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to require the dispatch of electrical output from specified electric generating units, if the CAISO determines the generation is necessary to meet demand. The order applies during afternoon and evening hours from September 6 through September 13, 2020.
Continue Reading DOE Issues Emergency Order to Address California Electricity Shortage
Hunton Andrews Kurth lawyers Aaron Flynn and David McSweeney discuss corporate management of external stakeholder interests in environmental social and governance issues, including climate change concerns and associated legal risks that can become presented.
Continue Reading VIDEO Inside Look: ESG Issues
Hunton Andrews Kurth’s environmental practice launches its video series, Inside Look, focusing on recent events and trends impacting regulated industries through discussions with our top attorneys and thought leaders. Our inaugural video focuses on recent changes in the composition of the US Supreme Court and the potential impact on industry. Partners F. William Brownell and Elbert Lin discuss the effect of the appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on administrative law, voting patterns at the Court and the importance of originalism-type arguments in constitutional cases.
Continue Reading Inside Look at Changes to the Supreme Court
Standing may seem like an arcane concept, but, as lawyers, we know that this term has special legal meaning—and that it affects whether our clients or our clients’ opponents can successfully bring a lawsuit. Understanding standing is no easy task. In a decision by the DC Circuit last week, the Sierra Club was reminded just how important standing can be when challenging, or more to the point attempting to challenge, environmental laws, and the DC Circuit has not just singled out environmental groups in requiring a showing of standing.
Continue Reading You Don’t Have to Go Home, But You Can’t Stay Here: DC Circuit Tells Litigants to Show Injury If They Want the Court to Hear Their Cases
Infrastructure takes a long time to permit in this country. Every president over the past 30-plus years has tried to streamline the federal permitting process for infrastructure. In his first State of the Union, President Trump called for streamlining the federal permitting process so it would take “no more than two years, and perhaps, even one.”
Continue Reading Building Trump’s America
Ho Ho Ho! Happy Hanukkah! Happy New Year!
And so it goes this time of year,
with family and friends gathering for the holidays
to share a hot toddy and some good cheer!
As October and November gently glide by,
Heading into December for cookies and pie,
But lo, the environmental lawyer sits
wearily writing at the computer, throwing fits.
What will the court or the EPA say
Will be due around Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or New Year’s Day?
Ah… there’s a D.C. Circuit brief due December 22nd
And comments the 28th that beckon!
So parties that are fun are not to be had
Rather, parties that are litigants or co-commenters, egad!
Continue Reading Nibbling on the Last Can of Who Hash…