Last October, the European Commission published its Work Programme for 2018. In the environmental area, a prominent topic is the EU initiative with respect to a ‘circular economy.’ This concept involves a transition to a “stronger and more circular economy where resources are used in a more sustainable way.”

The idea is to  “close the loop” of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, so as to realize benefits for both the environment and the economy. Simultaneously, the EU’s circular economy strategy should “extract the maximum value and use from all raw materials, products and waste,” “foster energy savings,” and reduce “Green House Gas emissions.” Accordingly, the Commission’s proposals cover the full lifecycle of products: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials.

Continue Reading European Union Attempts To Move Towards A “Circular Economy”

The Cocktail Conundrum
A common question that we all ask whenever we meet someone new in a social setting is “what do you do?” This seemingly innocuous question always makes me brace myself for the inevitable exchange that will follow. When I say that I am an environmental attorney, the next question is almost always whether I work for the “good” or “bad” guys. The clear assumption in this question is that environmental advocacy groups are “good,” while industry parties are “bad.” But is this issue really that black and white? Based on my experience, no. The issue is far from being that simplistic.
Continue Reading The Cocktail Conundrum

President Trump made good on one of his key campaign promises on Tuesday, signing an executive order (E.O.) titled Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth. The long-awaited E.O., which was published in the Federal Register today (82 Fed. Reg. 16093), targets the Obama administration’s key climate policies, including regulations affecting power plants and oil and gas production facilities. More broadly, the E.O. affirms the Trump administration’s priority of ensuring domestically produced energy and economic growth.

Continue Reading President Trump’s Executive Order Prioritizing America’s Energy Independence Published in Federal Register

As previous Nickel Report posts have discussed, congressional efforts to rein in freewheeling agency interpretation and reinterpretation of ambiguous statutes have begun to intensify, and calls to reconsider Chevron deference have increased from both within the judiciary and without. One of the most vocal and eloquent critics of Chevron and its progeny, notably Mead and Brand X, is Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy. In Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch, 834 F.3d 1142 (10th Cir. 2016), Judge Gorsuch penned an exhaustive and erudite analysis of the tension between the separation of powers that the US Constitution demands and the deference that Chevron and Brand X require courts to afford to reasonable agency interpretations of ambiguous statutes, even if those interpretations differ from those previously announced by the courts.

Continue Reading Judge Gorsuch, Meet the Water Transfer Rule