On June 2, 2014, as directed by President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Administrator Gina McCarthy signed EPA’s proposed emission guidelines for existing electric utility generating units, which EPA has dubbed the “Clean Power Plan.”  The proposal sets state-specific, rate-based goals.  According to EPA, this proposal will help reduce carbon emissions from the power sector 30% from 2005 levels by 2030.
Continue Reading EPA Proposes Emission Reduction Rules for Existing Power Plants

On May 29, 2014, the White House released a report, titled “The All-Of-the-Above Energy Strategy as a Path to Sustainable Growth,” wherein the report details the President’s energy approach and the ways in which the U.S. energy sector has changed during the President’s tenure.  The report was released just days before the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) is due to announce its new guidelines for limiting carbon dioxide for existing power plants under the Clean Air Act.
Continue Reading White House Releases Report Detailing President Obama’s Energy Strategy and Highlighting its Successes

On April 29, 2014, the United States Supreme Court (“Supreme Court”) reversed and remanded the D.C. Circuit’s 2012 decision that vacated the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (“CSAPR”).  The decision was 6-2 with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissenting.  Justice Samuel Alito recused himself from this case and therefore did not participate in the decision.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Upholds CSAPR

On April 15, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) fully upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (“MATS”). As a result, all existing coal- and oil-fired electric utility units will be required to meet specific, numeric emission limits for mercury, particulate matter, and acid gases next year.
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Upholds MATS Rule

On April 7, 2014, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) announced the agency proposed an all-time high of more than $9.7 million in civil penalties in 2013 to pipeline operators for violations of safety regulations.  PHMSA’s summary of cases involving civil penalties indicated that of the 266 initiated enforcement matters in 2013, 63 advanced to the civil penalty stage and accounted for the record amount of penalties.
Continue Reading PHMSA Announces Record Amount of Proposed Civil Penalties in 2013

On February 12, 2014, as directed by President Barack Obama in Executive Order No. 13636, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (“NIST”), an agency within the Department of Commerce, released the final Cybersecurity Framework (“Framework”).  While the Framework is intended to be voluntary, and is designed to facilitate the establishment of a national set of standards for cyber risk management across all segments of the economy, the manner in which the Framework will be implemented by and through the Sector-Specific Agencies, such as DOE, remains to be seen.
Continue Reading NIST Issues Voluntary Cybersecurity Framework

On February 4, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANOPR”) requesting comments on its Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations (“Radiation Standards”).  The ANOPR seeks input on six main issues to determine how to update the Radiation Standards and what, if any changes should be made.
Continue Reading EPA Requests Comments on Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations

On October 28, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (“Court”) issued its Memorandum Opinion in the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Coal Combustion Residue (“CCR”) litigation.  Under the Memorandum Opinion, the Court is directing EPA to provide a proposed schedule near the end of December for completing its CCR rulemaking.
Continue Reading Federal Court Orders EPA to Establish Timeline for Reviewing Coal Ash Regulation

On October 22, 2013, the Department of Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue (“ONRR”) announced that it had assessed civil penalties in the amounts of $2.719 million to Apache Corporation (“Apache”) for the “knowing or willful” submission of false information, and $648,000 to XTO Energy (“XTO”) for “knowing or willful” failure to permit an audit.  ONRR’s announcements mark the 11th and 12th civil penalties ONRR has announced this year.
Continue Reading Department of Interior Announces Civil Penalties for Two Energy Companies