Litigation

NYSERDA Requests PSC Authorization to Procure at Least 1,000 MW of Offshore Wind Capacity in 2020

On January 28, 2020, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (“NYSERDA”) submitted a petition to the New York State Public Service Commission (“PSC”) seeking authorization to issue a solicitation to procure between 1,000 and 2,500 megawatts (“MW”) of additional offshore wind capacity this summer. This procurement, which Governor Andrew M. Cuomo directed…

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Meet Katie Ghilain, Who Was Recently Promoted From Associate to Principal at SPR

Katie has always had a passion for the environment. Throughout her studies at Vassar College and NYU Law, she focused on how her varied areas of interest — law, public policy, scientific inquiry and economics — all intersect in the search for creative solutions to environmental problems. The interests that Katie discovered and honed during…

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NYC Local Law 97 Advisory Board Established, With Expert Working Groups Coming Soon

Implementation of New York City’s groundbreaking Building Emissions Law (Local Law 97 of 2019) is underway. On December 19, 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced the appointment of 15 Advisory Board members who will assess and report on over 20 aspects of the Law, with the help of expert…

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Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Maui Injection Wells Case

The federal Clean Water Act (CWA or Act) requires a permit for “any addition of any pollutant to navigable waters from any point source.” 33 U.S.C. 1362 (12) (A). On November 6, 2019, the US Supreme Court (Supreme Court) heard oral argument in County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, No. 18-260. The question before…

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Clean Water Act Update: EPA Repeals WOTUS Rule in Favor of Pre-2015 Rule

On September 12, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the “Corps”) (together, the “Agencies”)  announced a final rule (the “Repeal Rule”) rescinding the 2015 Clean Water Rule (the “2015 Rule”) that defined “waters of the United States” (“WOTUS”) under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). This Repeal Rule is…

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EPA Proposes Updates to Clean Water Act’s Water Quality Certification Requirements

On August 8, 2019, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published a set of proposed amendments (the “Proposed Rule”) to the regulations governing the issuance of Water Quality Certifications by states pursuant to Section 401 (“Section 401 Water Quality Certification”) of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). Under the Section 401 Water Quality Certification process,…

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New York State Passes the Most Ambitious Climate Change Legislation in the Nation and Advances Offshore Wind Energy Development with Inaugural Procurement of Offshore Renewable Energy Credits

On July 18, 2019, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law the New York Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (“CLCPA”), the most ambitious climate change legislation in the country. The CLCPA, among other things, codifies the State’s goals of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, including an 85% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by…

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Where Can Dredge Spoil Find a Home? Connecticut Seeks Dismissal of New York Challenge to Designated Ocean Dumping Site.

By Michael S. Bogin and SPR Summer Associate Aaron Aber  Connecticut and New York will file final briefs this summer in an ongoing dispute before the Eastern District of New York, regarding the legality of the U.S. EPA’s decision to designate a site in the Long Island Sound for disposal of navigational dredge material. The…

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Clean Water Act Update: The Latest Twists and Turns on the Path to Defining the Statute’s Jurisdiction

Debates over the reach of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) have been ongoing for decades. At stake is whether a discharge of a pollutant from a point source to a “navigable water,” defined as “waters of the United States” (“WOTUS”), requires the discharger to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit. The first…

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NEPA Review of Pipeline Project Upheld by D.C. Circuit – With Asterisk

On June 4, the D.C. Circuit issued a decision in Birckhead, et al. v. FERC, in which the petitioners challenged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC”) environmental review of a natural gas pipeline project.[1] Although the court ultimately rejected the challenge, the court suggested in dicta that FERC should do more to obtain information on…

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