In January, the EU launched itself into the new decade with the unveiling of its Green Deal: an extensive plan of ambitious climate targets and reforms culminating in a carbon neutral Europe by 2050. There have been debates about the details of the plan particularly among the developers of carbon neutral technologies excluded from the plan. However, the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to derail the EU’s aspiring climate change project before it’s even begun.
Temporary environmental enforcement discretion and forbearance policies can provide relief for companies and individuals unable to comply with conditions of their permits due to the impacts of COVID-19 on their workforce and operations. In “Texas Environmental Compliance During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” colleagues Christopher J. McNevin, Anthony B. Cavender, Sheila McCafferty Harvey, Reza Zarghamee and Amanda G. Halter discuss how environmental agencies are responding with updated compliance and enforcement policies.
Due diligence and compliance challenges require flexible approaches and creative solutions. In “Practical Tips for Managing Environmental Issues During the Coronavirus Pandemic,” colleagues Sheila McCafferty Harvey and Reza Zarghamee discuss how proactive and creative compliance strategies, and effective strategies to document parties’ efforts to comply with existing obligations, can help hedge against transactional and compliance risks.
On March 13, 2020, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed House Bill 74 (HB 74) into law. After the Governor signed HB 74, it became House Enrolled Act 60. HEA 60 allows utilities and other power plant owners to replace retiring coal and natural gas electric generation plants with small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).
In a letter ruling published March 16, 2020, the Tennessee Department of Revenue concluded that a contractor’s purchase of materials and equipment for use in the construction and installation of a new steam production facility at a federally owned manufacturing plant was exempt from Tennessee sales and use tax. Tenn. Letter Rul. No. 20-02 (issued Feb. 10, 2020).
California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency and, pursuant to his broad authority under the California Emergency Services Act and other statutory provisions, has issued Executive Orders suspending or modifying the effect of certain state statutes and regulation in response to COVID-19, and authorizing the commandeering of property needed for the response. In “California Executive Power and Industrial Facilities in the Wake of COVID-19,” colleagues Michael S. McDonough and Christopher W. Smith provide an overview of the recent updates and rulings on California’s facilities and operations.
On March 6, 2019, the South Carolina Administrative Law Court entered an order in Colonial Pipeline Co. v. South Carolina Department of Revenue, No. 18-ALJ-17-0443-CC, in which it held that a pipeline company’s assets may qualify for a property tax exemption for pollution control equipment of industrial plants under S.C. Code Ann. § 12-37-220(8). In his latest post on SeeSALT, Zachary T. Atkins examines this decision more closely.
On December 13, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the Forest Service was not authorized by the Mineral Leasing Act to grant a pipeline right-of-way under the Appalachian Trail to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline involving a small stretch of the Appalachian Scenic Trail.
There are more than 11,000 wells, nearly 600 platforms and 24,000 km of pipeline network on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). It is estimated that by 2025 more than 220 oil and gas production fields and their structures will be decommissioned. In their recent opinion piece, “Turning oil rigs into reefs: A missed opportunity,” colleagues Chris Harrison and Henrietta Worthington discuss why the Gulf of Mexico’s “rigs to reefs” approach has not been adopted in the UKCS.
Carbon-reduction initiatives have begun to increasingly target the construction industry, particularly in light of data showing that buildings generate up to 40% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions. While the Federal Green New Deal remains stalled in Congress and states have been slow to spring into action, a number of cities have moved forward with climate proposals that include a shift toward carbon-free buildings.