Count Maine “in” as one of the 18 states filing a motion to intervene to defend the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA” or “Agency”) Clean Power Plan (“Rule”). A coalition including 24 states wasted little time filing suit against the much-anticipated final Rule after it was posted in the Federal Register on October 23. The coalition alleges that the Rule is an overreach of the authority delegated to the Agency by Congress and more specifically, Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act cannot be used to regulate greenhouse gases. The petitioners are asking the court to stay the Rule while the suit is pending and ultimately, invalidate it as ultra vires.
On October 5, in the case of Natural Resources Defense Council v. U.S. EPA, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit invalidated the process USEPA used in promulgating its 2013 Vessel General Permit that sets that agency’s standards for discharges from merchant vessels under the federal Clean Water Act, also setting aside the VGP. Pursuant to the Court’s decision, EPA must completely re-do the regulatory process from the beginning, this time formulating a new VGP taking into account factors including: (1) EPA's previous decision to set the TBELs (Technology-based Effluent limitations) at the IMO (International Maritime Organization) Standard; (2) EPA's failure to consider onshore treatment for ballast water discharges; (3) EPA's decision to exempt pre–2009 Lakers from the TBELS in the 2013 VGP permit; (4) EPA's narrative standard for WQBELs (Water Quality-based Effluent Limitations) and (5) The monitoring and reporting requirements established by EPA for WQBELs.
Two energy companies recently secured leases for offshore wind projects in the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area located 12 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the winners of the leases totaling 354,409 acres. RES Americas Development LLC (a RES Group holding company) and Offshore MW LLC (backed by Blackstone Group) netted the leases (respectively, orange and yellow on map). Although the auction was the largest of its kind for the U.S. Department of the Interior, two of the four parcels up for bid did not receive bids. This perhaps signals that although the young market is primed, it has yet to fully accelerate; a condition most likely due to the absence of necessary policy incentives. This blog will keep a watchful eye on the auction of a New Jersey offshore lease slated for later this year that will serve as an additional barometer for the offshore wind industry.
January 29, 2015 – that’s the date the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has selected for the auctioning of four leases within the Massachusetts offshore Wind Energy Area (WEA). The WEA is located 12 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and encompasses more than 742,000 acres. A map of the proposed location can be found here (green shading). Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell praised the Commonwealth and Governor Patrick stating, “This sale will triple the amount of federal offshore acreage available for commercial-scale wind energy projects, bringing Massachusetts to the forefront of our nation’s new energy frontier.”
Next month, the disposal of food wastes and vegetative materials in Massachusetts will change significantly. New regulations take effect on October 1 limiting the disposal of commercial organic material to less than one ton per week from a single generator location.