Articles Posted in Infrastructure

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Real estate tokenization and smart home technology continue to grow, negotiations surrounding the bipartisan infrastructure bill stall its passing, artificial intelligence is poised to transform the construction industry, and more.

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The new infrastructure bill proposes regulations for the cryptocurrency industry, the demand for logistics rental space increases, the Supreme Court ends the eviction moratorium, and more.

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Diversity and inclusion efforts increase in the infrastructure industry, a recent United Nations report on climate change highlights its potential effects on real estate, construction projects fall behind schedule due to labor shortages, and more.

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On August 10, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a mammoth $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that includes spending for roads, bridges, electric vehicles, broadband, water infrastructure, and grid resilience, among other priorities. In “Senate Passes $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Package, Tees up $3.5 Trillion Budget Reconciliation Bill,” our colleagues on the Global Trade, Public Policy and Energy teams take a closer look at the legislation.

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On June 21, 2019, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued draft guidance clarifying the treatment of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in environmental impact reviews of federal projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Those wishing to comment on the draft must submit comments within 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

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On April 10, President Trump issued two Executive Orders (EO) relating to the revision of some aspects of federal energy policy and development.

1. The first EO is very comprehensive, affecting many federal agencies and departments, and is entitled “Promoting Federal Infrastructure and Economic Growth.” The EO emphasizes its concern with the need for infrastructure that “ is capable of safely and efficiently transporting these plentiful resources to end users.” To that end, the EO:

(A)     states the general policy that the U.S. Government is to promote private investment in the Nation’s infrastructure by establishing efficient permitting processes and procedures that avoid duplication and result in increased regulatory certainty;

(B)     reviews and revises existing federal guidance and regulations regarding Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), with particular emphasis on EPA’s guidance document, CWA Section 401 Water Quality Certification, and actions will be taken in accordance with a regulatory schedule set forth in the EO which has as its objective a notice of proposed rulemaking on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Section 401 regulations to be published in 12 months, with the final rules to be issued by May 2020;

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On February 26, 2019, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a joint memorandum (Memo) clarifying how state transportation departments that have been delegated responsibility under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) should implement federal directives to streamline the environmental review and approvals of major infrastructure projects. While the Memo establishes no new affirmative duties on these state agencies, it reflects yet another step in the Trump administration’s continued efforts to ensure collective adherence to its goal of expediting environmental review under NEPA.

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On February 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decided Norfolk Southern Railway Co. v. City of Roanoke, et al.; the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was an Intervenor-Defendant. The Fourth Circuit held that a large stormwater management fee (stated to be $417,000.00 for the year 2017) levied by the City of Roanoke against the railroad to assist in the financing of the City’s permitted municipal stormwater management system was a permissible fee and not a discriminatory tax placed on the railroad.

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President Trump signed an Executive Order yesterday January 31, calling on executive branch departments and agencies to encourage recipients of defined types of new federal awards to use cement, iron, steel, aluminum and certain manufactured products produced in the United States. The order builds on prior authority (Executive Order 13788 (April 18, 2017)) focused on procurements by the departments and agencies themselves. The new order extends the “Buy American” conversation to private parties that receive new support, to promote the use of domestic sources in their onward purchases.  It addresses programs that receive Federal financial assistance, 2 C.F.R. § 200.40, for creation, maintenance or repair of infrastructure projects.

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The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) recently posted final adopted text for amendments to the CEQA Guidelines.  The result of over five years of development efforts by the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research and CNRA, the amendments are the most comprehensive update to the CEQA Guidelines since 1998.  In “Natural Resources Agency Finalizes Updates to the CEQA Guidelines,” Pillsbury environmental attorneys Kevin Ashe and Eric Moorman explore the wide range of issues covered in the amendments, including the new Vehicle-Miles-Traveled (VMT) methodology for analyzing transportation impacts; use of regulatory standards as significance thresholds; environmental baselines; and numerous procedural and technical improvements.

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