This is a brief survey of many of the environmental and regulatory laws passed by the Texas Legislature and signed by the Governor in the 88th Regular Session of the Legislature, which ended in May 2023, although a special session has been called to address lingering matters. Altogether, more than 1,000 laws were enacted in this session, including a surprising number of water-related environmental bills.
Making good on a promise to redefine the Clean Water Act (CWA) term, “Waters of the United States” or WOTUS, on January 18, 2023, the latest revised definition of “Waters of the United States” was published in the Federal Register by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 86 FR 3004. The effective date of this rule was on March 20, 2023. Remarkably, this action marks the fourth time in eight years that these agencies have attempted to craft a workable definition of WOTUS and thereby affect far-ranging impacts on everything from infrastructure and agriculture to private land use. While the agencies indicate that the newly redefined WOTUS is, in many ways, a return to the longstanding regulatory regime, there are several notable changes.
Read more in Seeking Certainty: Redefining “Waters of the United States” by Anthony B. Cavender and Ashleigh Myers.
As demand increases for low-carbon technologies to power the energy transition, the acquisition of critical materials—so-called given their integral role in the transition of energy activities—is becoming increasingly important. As described in our previous post, such critical materials include rare earth elements (REE), lithium, nickel and platinum group metals. In short, the transition endeavors to reduce use of one non-renewable resource—fossil fuel—by significantly ramping up our use of other non-renewable resources. While critical material discussions have largely centered on the availability and economic extractability of the minerals themselves, Pillsbury is also counseling on the other resources needed to bring the materials to market at the scales required for our decarbonization goals.