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Tax Legislation Sets Up Race to “Begin Construction” of Renewables Facilities by Year-End

January 28, 2013

When Congress sent the “fiscal cliff bill” – officially known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA)[1] – to the President for signature in early January, it also provided a lifeline to renewable energy development by extending – in modified form — el More »

California Revisits CEQA, the State’s Controversial Environmental Review Statute

January 28, 2013

Introduction

California lawmakers are poised again this year to try to reform the state’s far-reaching environmental review statute known as “CEQA” – the California Environmental Quality Act. What may make this time different is the control of one party – the California Democratic Party – over both the Governorship and the state legislature. More »

Supreme Court Clarifies Definition of “Discharge” under CWA

January 22, 2013

The Supreme Court decided a case this month that everyone agreed the Ninth Circuit had gotten wrong – the scope of what constitutes a “discharge” under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Court held that no discharge occurs when water flows from one portion of a river to another through a concrete flood control channel. More »

California Issues Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Rule — Alaska, South Dakota Also Announce New Regulations

January 22, 2013

Introduction

In the absence of comprehensive federal regulations governing hydraulic fracturing, several states have begun to adopt their own rules. More »

Oregon Water Resources Department Proposes Controversial Fee on Water Rights

January 16, 2013

The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) has proposed a controversial fee to be levied on water rights within the State of Oregon. The fee is intended to generate revenue for OWRD, but the idea of a fee is not popular with many water users, and the details of how the fee will be implemented, if at all, are complex. More »

Proposed Listing of Gunnison Sage-Grouse Would Impact Energy and Other Projects in Colorado and Utah

January 16, 2013

On January 11, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the Gunnison sage-grouse as endangered under the ESA, and designating over 1.7 million acres in Colorado and Utah as the bird’s critical habitat. Public comments on both proposals are due by March 12, 2013. The Service will make its final decisions by September 30, 2013. More »

Natural Resource Decisions Will Bring Continued Controversy in Second Obama Term

December 21, 2012

Natural resource decisions made in President Obama’s first term included plenty of controversy: the ESA listing of the polar bear, along with listing and delisting of other high profile species; passage of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act; restoration of ESA consultation regulations that the second Bush Administration had altered; prioritization of domestic renewable energy projects; and More »

Nettlesome Water Quality Issues to Continue Early in Second Obama Administration

December 21, 2012

Early in President Obama’s second term, EPA will likely issue a policy and perhaps even a proposed regulation addressing the longstanding controversy over the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA). More »