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Showing 4 posts by David C. Weber.

Full Steam Ahead: EPA Moves Forward with Key Initiative to Reduce Emissions at U.S. Ports

EPA’s Office of Transportation Air Quality recently issued a report titled “EPA and Port Everglades Partnership: Emission Inventories and Reduction Strategies” (“the Port Everglades Report”).[1] The Port Everglades Report comes in the wake of EPA’s 2016 “National Port Strategy Assessment: Reducing Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases at U.S. Ports.”[2] Both the Port Everglades Report and the National Port Strategy Assessment are part of EPA’s “Ports Initiative,”[3] which seeks to establish a framework for stakeholders to evaluate and implement air pollution emission-reduction initiatives at ports. Read More ›

Legal Whipsaw in Washington Sawmill Case: State Supreme Court Decision Fundamentally Changes the Scope of Liability Under the Model Toxics Control Act

On May 24, 2018, in a significant decision with far-reaching implications for cleanups at Washington’s contaminated sites, the Washington State Supreme Court narrowed the scope of “owner or operator” liability under the state environmental cleanup statute, the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA).  Pope Resources, LP v. Washington State Department of Natural Resources.[1]  The surprising 6-3 decision held:  (1) that a state agency – in this case, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) – may not be liable as an “owner” under MTCA when it merely acts as a lessor, or property management agent, for a property owned by the state; and (2) that liability as an “operator” under MTCA requires active involvement in the operational decisions at a facility. Read More ›

EPA Continues Reforms to NSR and Other Clean Air Act Permitting Programs

On March 13, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released a guidance memorandum[1]  announcing a new policy designed to clarify when a proposed project will trigger New Source Review (“NSR”) under the Clean Air Act.  Under the policy, facilities may now take into account emissions decreases in calculating whether a proposed project will trigger NSR in the first instance.  This key change provides facilities with greater flexibility in assessing whether a pre-construction permit is required for major projects.  In the past, EPA has not allowed such emissions netting during the “Step 1” analysis under the NSR program.  This policy shift marks the latest in a series of reforms to Clean Air Act permitting programs.  Such reforms also include a deferential EPA position on the use of “projected actual” calculations, and the retraction of EPA’s “once-in-always-in” policy for the classification of major sources of hazardous air pollutants under section 112 of the Clean Air Act.  These changes are discussed below, followed by a list of key takeaways. Read More ›

Carbon Pricing Roundup: Recent Developments in the US and Abroad

The first quarter of 2018 has been a busy one for efforts to put a price on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, both in the United States and abroad.  In February, the European Union (EU) approved reforms to the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) in late February, while Ontario joined the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), holding the first joint allowance auction with California and Quebec.  Oregon and Washington failed to advance new carbon pricing proposals, while RGGI is set to expand.          Read More ›