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Showing 21 posts by Brook J. Detterman.

The Science and Controversy of Offshore Wind: BOEM Embarks on New Research Efforts While Fishing Groups Take Aim at An Offshore Wind Lease In New York

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is embarking on several studies to better understand offshore resources and species.  At the same time, fishing interests have sued BOEM to block an offshore wind lease, challenging not only the lease itself but the process that BOEM uses to award leases and conduct its environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).    Read More ›

Will Massachusetts Enact a Carbon Tax?

Massachusetts could be the first state in the U.S. to enact an economy-wide carbon tax.  In January 2017, two bills were proposed in the Massachusetts legislature that would establish a tax on fossil fuels in Massachusetts with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while returning most or all of the proceeds to consumers and businesses.  These bills have picked up some momentum, and with more than 80 legislators co-sponsoring the bills (about 40% of the Massachusetts legislature), there’s a real chance that a carbon tax could become law in Massachusetts. Read More ›

Superior Court Decision Raises the Bar For Municipalities Seeking to Challenge Special Permits And Other Zoning Actions Taken By Neighboring Municipalities

The Massachusetts Superior Court has ruled that a municipality lacks standing to challenge a special permit issued by a neighboring town when the alleged harm is “too speculative and remote to qualify them as ‘aggrieved parties’ with standing to pursue an appeal under M.G.L. c. 40A, § 17.”  The case, Town of Chelmsford et al. v. Newport Materials, LLC, et al. (Case No. 1681CV03455) was brought by Chelmsford to challenge a special permit issued by the Westford Planning Board to construct an asphalt manufacturing plant in Westford on the border of the two towns.  Chelmsford argued that because the towns had entered a “mutual aid agreement” under which Chelmsford firefighters could be called to fight a fire at the asphalt plant in Westford, it had standing to challenge the permit as a “person aggrieved” under M.G.L. c. 40A, §17.  In an opinion issued in early September, the Superior Court disagreed, ruling that Chelmsford lacked standing to pursue its claims. Read More ›

California Supreme Court Refuses to Take Up Challenge to Cap-and-Trade Program; CARB Confirms Board Hearing Will be Held in July

The California Supreme Court yesterday refused to take up the appeal in California Chamber of Commerce v. CARB, ending litigation that would have struck down a key element of the California Cap-and-Trade program (the “Program”).  The Third Appellate District Court of Appeal had previously ruled against the California Chamber of Commerce’s argument that the Program’s auction of allowances was an unconstitutional tax under state law.  The Court of Appeal’s ruling is now the final say on this issue. Read More ›

Is Offshore Wind Power Riding a Rising Tide?

Recent Offshore Wind Developments in the Northeast

State action in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maryland may help to advance offshore wind projects in those states, while a new federal proposal would extend the investment tax credit for offshore wind through 2025, improving the outlook for offshore wind projects on the eastern seaboard.    Read More ›

President Trump Announces Withdrawal from Paris Agreement on Climate Change

President Trump announced on Thursday his intention to initiate a formal withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, a global agreement designed to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. The President indicated that the United States would move forward with the pull-out and possibly attempt to re-negotiate the agreement in order to get “terms that are fair to the United States.”  President Trump frequently discussed pulling out of the Paris Agreement while on the campaign trail, citing concerns regarding its potential impact on the American economy, particularly the energy sector.    Read More ›

TSCA Nanomaterial Reporting Rule: EPA Delays Effective Date and Releases Draft Guidance for Public Comment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued its Draft Guidance on EPA’s Section 8(a) Information Gathering Rule on Nanomaterials in Commerce ( “Draft Guidance”) on May 16, 2017. See 82 Fed. Reg. 22452 (May 16, 2017).  EPA has requested public comment on the Draft Guidance, with public comments due on or before June 15, 2017. Read More ›

Virginia Begins Development of Cap-and-Trade Program for Electric Power Sector

On May 16, 2017, Virginia’s Governor Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Directive 11 (the “Directive”), which directs Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) to develop regulations to reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions from the power sector.  Notably, the Directive requires DEQ to develop a program that is “trading-ready,” with market-based mechanisms capable of linking with other jurisdictions. Read More ›

Climate Regulation in California: A State of Constant Change

I.  Introduction

Climate change regulation in California is in the midst of transformation. Last year, the Legislature voted to enact SB 32, extending California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, which were set to expire in 2020, through 2030.  The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) called for a reduction in GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, which California is expected to achieve.  Under SB 32, California aims to reduce GHG emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Read More ›

Renewable Energy: The State of Play in 2017

The renewable energy sector ended 2016 and began 2017 under assault. Nevada and other states rolled back net metering laws.  Fishing interests brought a lawsuit to block an offshore wind lease and upend BOEM’s offshore wind program.  And—not least of all—the Trump administration has promised to kill the Clean Power Plan. Read More ›