Introduction

On May 1, 2024, the Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) promulgated the Bipartisan Permitting Reform Implementation Rule (“Final Rule”), 89 Fed. Reg. 35,442 (May 1, 2024), which is better known as Phase 2 of the Biden Administration’s revisions to the regulations that implement the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”).

NEPA imposes a procedural requirement

California’s cap-and-trade program withstood a battle in court, and now the Legislature is proposing changes to the controversial program.  Senator Bob Wieckowski (Democrat – District 10), Chair of the Environmental Quality Committee, has authored Senate Bill 775 (“SB 775”) which would extend the cap-and-trade program to 2030 with modifications.  The existing cap-and-trade program, established under Assembly Bill 32 (2006) or the California Global Warming Solutions Act (“Act”), expires in 2020.  The Act requires the State Air Resources Board (“ARB”) to approve a statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit equivalent to 1990 greenhouse gas emissions level to be achieved by 2020, and to ensure that statewide greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to at least 40% below the 1990 level by 2030, as outlined in Senate Bill 32 (2016).
Continue Reading Senate Bill Proposes Major Market-Based Remodel of Cap-and-Trade Program

In a narrow win for plaintiff Wild Fish Conservancy (“Plaintiff”), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington held that the biological opinion (“BiOp”) for the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery (“Hatchery”) was arbitrary and capricious because the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) failed to adequately consider the effects of climate change.

This case concerns a Hatchery located on Icicle Creek about three miles south of Leavenworth, Washington.  The purpose of the Hatchery is to replace spawning habitat impacted by construction of the Grand Coulee Dam, and it is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) and the Bureau of Reclamation (“BOR”).  Icicle Creek is home to two Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) listed species: the Upper Columbia River Chinook salmon and the Upper Columbia River steelhead.Continue Reading Up the Creek Without a Paddle: District Court Holds that Biological Opinion Must Consider Climate Change Impacts

Late Tuesday, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released draft amendments to the state’s cap and trade regulation, including revisions to the current program in place through 2020, an extension of the program through 2030, and setting the stage for continued emissions reductions under the program through 2050.  ARB’s proposed amendments come in the middle of a recent milieu of uncertainty:  pending litigation challenging the legality of the existing program, an opinion from Legislative Counsel that ARB lacks authority under AB 32 to continue cap and trade past 2020, unprecedented weak demand at the most recent allowance auction, and legislation to establish a statutory emissions reductions mandate for 2030 still in process this session.  With all of these balls in the air, ARB has doubled down and drafted regulations dropping the program’s emissions cap from 334.2 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2e in 2020 to 200.5 MMT in 2030, with major elements of the cap and trade regulation continuing in effect past 2020 to achieve the emissions reductions.
Continue Reading What You Need to Know about the Proposed Revisions to Cap and Trade

In December 2012, San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor ruled that the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) had violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), in part because the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that SANDAG prepared for its 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) failed to analyze the greenhouse gas (GHG) targets set by

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On Friday, May 20, 2011, Judge Goldsmith of San Francisco Supreme Court issued a final order  (PDF) with respect to a lawsuit challenging the environmental review of the Cap and Trade regulations created under California’s AB 32 Greenhouse Gas statute and the associated Scoping Plan. In its order, the Court enjoined the Cap and Trade portion