Circuit Split: Regulatory Reach of Clean Water Act

On September 24, 2018, the 6th Circuit issued rulings in two cases over the question of how direct a connection there must be between the source of pollution and waters that were allegedly polluted for the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) to apply. The 6th Circuit rulings created a split in the circuits on issue of […]

Northern California Court Re-Instates Protections For Sage Grouse

A U.S. District Court in Northern California reinstated protections for the bi-state sage grouse in California and Nevada. Environmental groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity and the Western Watersheds Project had filed a motion against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for withdrawing the bi-state distinct population of greater sage groups as a […]

EPA Unveils Proposed Replacement for Clean Power Plan

On Tuesday morning the EPA revealed its proposed plan for replacing the Obama-era “Clean Power Plan.” The EPA says the new rule will give states more authority and create new jobs, taking the place of the “overly prescriptive and burdensome” Clean Power Plan. The new plan, titled the “Affordable Clean Energy” or “ACE” Rule, would […]

Feds Solicit Comment on Endangered Species Act Reform

On July 25, 2018, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (the “Services”) published three proposed rules to reform the Endangered Species Act. This opens a 60-day public comment period ending September 24, 2018.  The proposals respond in part to stakeholder comments submitted […]

Good News For Keystone XL: Positive U.S. Environmental Review

The U.S. State Department has given preliminary environmental approval to a proposed alternative route through Nebraska for the Keystone XL pipeline, a route that is currently being challenged by landowners and other project opponents in the Nebraska Supreme Court. The State Department, which has already issued a cross-border permit for TransCanada Corp.’s project found that […]

No Mitigation? No Problem. BLM Issues Policy Statement on Compensatory Mitigation Changes

As of July 24, the BLM has taken an updated position on the issue of compensatory mitigation. The BLM states in a new policy: “Except where the law specifically requires, the BLM must not require compensatory mitigation from public land users.” The BLM will still, in limited circumstances, consider voluntary proposals for compensatory mitigation, but […]

NEPA Changes Expected to Streamline the Environmental Permitting Process

As part of an infrastructure investment proposal unveiled by the Trump administration in February, many significant regulatory and environmental permitting reforms are expected in the coming year. One current proposal involves expanding authority under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to states, requiring states and localities to shoulder a larger share of infrastructure project costs […]

Breaking News: Dramatic Endangered Species Act Mitigation Reform?

Rumors swirling around Washington D.C. indicate that the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) may release a statement rescinding the fairly recently published USFWS Service-Wide Mitigation policy and Endangered Species Act-Compensatory Mitigation Policy, without replacing either policy.  Further, the agency may also take the position that, in the absence of further congressional directive, the DOI is […]

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