Presidential Executive Order 14008, “Tackling the Climate Crisis,” a long and unusually detailed Executive Order published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2021 (see 86 FR 7619), has generated considerable discussion and commentary. Below, I briefly outline its provisions.
The legal cannabis industry in the U.S. is growing at an unprecedented rate and is projected to reach $73.6 billion by 2027. While federal law still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, many states have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana. As state restrictions ease, new business opportunities continue to emerge. On the Policyholder Pulse blog, colleague Ashley Cowgill provided a thorough exploration of insurance options, including one of particular relevance for readers of G2G:
Property insurance generally protects a business in the event the business’s property, including, equipment, storage facilities, or signage is damaged or stolen. Property insurance does not, however, typically cover property in transit, or property belonging to another person. Thus, once the product is out for delivery, a property policy will generally not provide coverage if the product is lost or damaged.
For the full list of insurance coverages options that cannabis delivery services may want to consider, click here.
Several decisions of interest were issued in the 2020 term, which stretched from October 2020 until early July 2021. This review will concentrate on environmental and administrative law cases.
In a closely watched 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court sided against the challengers to the eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), keeping a stay in place that leaves the eviction ban in effect through July 31. The CDC has indicated it will not renew the eviction moratorium when it expires at the end of the month.
The shift towards a “greener” environment has resulted in cities and states implementing electrification mandates, which will have a major impact on both current and future building design. Currently, most commercial and residential end users are already all-electric. However, there are some exceptions, such as space and water heating, that use a significant amount of energy. Several states, including California and New York, have cities that have introduced legislation requiring new construction to be all-electric. This means, for example, using electricity for heating rather than fossil fuels such as natural gas. Mandate or not, building owners and developers should consider the risks and rewards of an all-electric design.
This is a brief account of some of the important environmental and administrative law cases recently decided.
THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco
On June 28, 2021, the Supreme Court decided this regulatory “takings” case, and, in a Per Curium opinion, reversed the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that that petitioners had to exhaust their state administrative remedies before they could file this lawsuit under 42 USC Section 1983. The City government had already come to a sufficient regulatory conclusion, and the Constitution does not require additional processing. In so ruling, the Ninth Circuit ignored last term’s decision in Knick v. Township of Scott.
The Real Estate and Construction industry may be huge, but ultimately, as with all industries, it comes down to the people who help make it all come together. From time to time, we like to profile some of those people.
Drew DeWalt is COO of Rhumbix, a construction computer software company he co-founded with CEO Zach Scheel in 2014. A native of Waco, Texas, Drew attended the University of Notre Dame, and upon graduation, was commissioned into the U.S. Navy as a Nuclear Submarine Officer. He spent over six years with the Navy, stationed primarily in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and deployed to locations across Southeast Asia.After completing his service, Drew enrolled in Stanford’s Graduate School of Business to pursue a joint MBA/MPP degree program, focusing on energy systems and infrastructure. Shortly after graduating, he started the renewable energy company, Valhalla Energia, in Chile with two classmates. In 2014, Drew stepped back from Valhalla Energia to found Rhumbix with Zach Scheel. Their experiences working on mega infrastructure projects and feeling the pain of having to make important decisions with low-quality, latent and incomplete data led them to identify a need to gather and structure data at the source—from the men and women actually executing in the field on a project. Drew currently lives in Orinda, Calif., with his wife, Whitney, and their four children.
What follows is a brief account of some of the notable U.S. environmental and administrative law cases recently decided.
THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
Nestle USA, Inc. et al. v. Doe, et al.
The Supreme Court has decided another important case interpreting the Alien Tort Statute. Released on June 17, 2021, this decision reverses the Ninth Circuit which had ruled that the respondents—six individuals who alleged they were child slaves employed on Ivory Coast cocoa farms, could sue the American-based companies for aiding and abetting child slave labor. Without dissent, the Court rejected this reading of the ATS and affirmed its own recent rulings on the scope of the ATS.
In a previous post, we described how the New York City Climate Mobilization Act, 2019 (the CMA, or Local Laws 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, and 147 enacted in 2019) was passed with the goal of reducing New York City’s carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and by 80 percent by 2050 (as against a 2005 baseline as provided for in item 3 of Local Law 97). It is the most ambitious building emissions law to be enacted by any city in the world. The CMA impacts “Covered Buildings” (described below) and, besides contemplating the retrofitting of Covered Buildings to achieve energy efficiency and establishing a monitoring program for Covered Buildings, the CMA contemplates compliance by means of the purchase of carbon offset credits or renewable energy. (Note the new NYC Accelerator program, launched in 2012 by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, provides guidance regarding energy-efficient upgrades to properties and emission reductions.)
As innovative applications with integrated smart contract functionality emerge from blockchain technology platforms, there is an expanding list of digital currencies, tokens and peer-to-peer financial products and services. Abbreviations abound. There are non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which, unlike fungible cryptocurrencies, are “one-of-a-kind’ digital assets stored on a blockchain platform, and can include images, videos, recordings, collectibles and tangible items in the physical world. There is decentralized finance (DeFi), the peer-to-peer transaction infrastructure for tokens and other software applications and contracts designed to replace traditional banking products and services and streamline transactions. Decentralized applications (dApps) are a relatively new technology similar to traditional web applications from a user perspective, but which run on distributed blockchain platforms, such as Ethereum, rather than on a single computer—dApps are typically open source, allowing software developers to improve features and functions quickly, and free from control by any single authority. Smart contract protocols permit dApps to access the blockchain platform and integrate with cryptocurrencies, NFTs and DeFi projects.