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Showing 22 posts in Alternative Energy. View our practice description for Alternative Energy.

NGOs Challenge Department of Interior’s New Interpretation of “Incidental Take” Liability Under Migratory Bird Treaty Act

National environmental groups recently filed a pair of new lawsuits in New York federal district court seeking to expand the scope of liability for “incidental take” under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”).[1]  The litigation seeks to overturn recent legal and policy guidance issued by the United States Department of the Interior (“DOI”) and Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) which provided greater regulatory certainty by limiting those agencies’ enforcement actions under the MBTA to claims of intentional harm to migratory birds.  If the new lawsuits prevail, many industries may once again face potential criminal liability for day-to-day operations posing a risk of unintentional effects on migratory birds.  The lawsuits are also a reminder that courts remain split on the scope of MBTA liability, that MBTA enforcement policy may shift between administrations, and that other statutes still make avian protection a key component of environmental planning and compliance at many facilities. Read More ›

Major Offshore Wind Projects Advance in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Commercial-scale offshore wind power may soon become a reality in New England. On May 23, Massachusetts electric distribution companies selected Vineyard Wind, a subsidiary of Avangrid Renewables, LLC, as the preferred provider of 800 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind generation to the Massachusetts power market, and Rhode Island selected Deepwater Wind as the preferred provider of 400 MW of offshore wind generation to the Rhode Island power market. Both companies propose to generate the electricity from wind projects they intend to construct on federal leases on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Read More ›

Unanimous Supreme Court: WOTUS Rule Challenges Belong in Federal District Courts

In a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court today held that lawsuits challenging the 2015 rule amending the definition of waters of the United States (WOTUS Rule) under the Clean Water Act (CWA) must be brought in federal district courts because federal courts of appeals lack jurisdiction over those challenges.  The case, National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, resolves uncertainty over the scope of the CWA’s judicial review provisions.  The Court’s opinion also opens a new chapter in the fight to keep the WOTUS Rule from going into effect. Read More ›

How The Climate Changed For Renewables In 2017

This article was originally published on January 22, 2018, by Portfolio Media Inc. as a Law360 Expert Analysis, and is available here (subscription required).

When it came to renewable energy, 2017 ended much as it began: with much uncertainty, and movement by the Trump administration to repeal, or at least significantly modify, the Clean Power Plan.

But 2017 also had its bright spots for renewables.  Several states advanced key renewable energy objectives and, despite earlier threats, Congress did not repeal the production tax credit for wind energy or the investment tax credit that is highly valuable to solar developers. Here’s a breakdown of some of the big headlines from 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 ›

Executive Order Charts New Path For Offshore Energy Development

On April 28, 2017, the Trump administration issued an Executive Order entitled “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy.”  This EO calls for expanded oil and gas leasing in areas of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) that were recently placed off-limits to energy development, and instructs several federal agencies to reevaluate and possibly reverse recent regulations imposed on the offshore oil and gas industry.  If fully implemented, the EO would clear the way for expanded and expedited development of OCS energy resources.   Read More ›

Interior Secretary Immediately Implements President’s Executive Order on Energy and Climate

New Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke wasted no time implementing the mandates of the Trump Administration’s most recent Executive Order (EO), “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” which was issued on March 28.  For a summary of that EO, click here.  On March 29, the Secretary issued two Secretarial Orders (SO) implementing the March 28 Order, and took additional administrative action consistent with its mandates.  Separately, the Secretary has reinstated a public-private advisory committee to address royalty issues. 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 ›

New Ratemaking Order Revamps Conventional Cost-of-Service Ratemaking for New York Utilities

The State is Seeking to Align Utility Business Models With REV Policy
Objectives

Summary:  On May 19, 2016, the New York Public Service Commission adopted an order setting forth a new model framework for ratemaking and utility revenue (Ratemaking Order) within the Reforming the Energy Vision program.  The Ratemaking Order provides nine measures that the Commission expects will help utilities and other stakeholders transition to the new framework.  This alert highlights two of the nine measures and provides key upcoming deadlines established by the Ratemaking Order. Read More ›

EPA Finalizes Regulations Targeting Methane and Volatile Organic Compounds from Oil and Gas Operations

Summary: On May 12, 2016, EPA issued three final rules to reduce methane emissions from new, reconstructed, and modified sources in the oil and gas sector by 2025. These rules create significant new obligations to reduce emissions of methane and VOCs from various equipment, perform green completions, and monitor and correct leaks, and they serve as a prelude to further scrutiny of existing sources. Read More ›