California Air Resources Board Adopts Cap and Trade Regulations

Climate Change

Recently, the Polluting StacksCalifornia Air Resources Board or ARB adopted its long-anticipated regulations for controlling greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) through a market-based cap and trade system. California’s regulations represent a significant development in the regulation GHGs. California could well set the model for similar controls in other states and will certainly stoke the nationwide debate over GHG regulations.

The ARB will set caps based on 2012 emissions for the state’s largest GHG emitters, including power plants, refineries, and other large industrial facilities. The cap will decline each year. Other sources will be phased in over time. The cap to be set, and the distribution of allowances, will be subject to considerable debate. The allowances will be distributed without cost early in the process, but will transition to an auction based system administered by the ARB.
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Court Upholds Pay to Pollute Rule

Green Building

Last week, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the federal Tract HomesClean Air Act does not preempt the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (Air District) from requiring certain developers to either reduce their polluting emissions from their construction activities or pay a fee. The case (National Association of Home Builders v. San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District, et al.) arose from a challenge by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to the Air District’s Rule 9510.

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Happy 30th Superfund

Contaminated Property

Contaminated Land30 years ago tomorrow, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), which is commonly known as the Superfund law. CERCLA, which Congress amended in 1986, was created to address the most contaminated properties in the United States and to provide federal authority to respond to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances. Congress passed CERCLA in response to public outcry from a series of environmental disasters such as Love Canal – where in 1978, carcinogens from long-ago abandoned chemical operations began percolating from the ground, causing residents of the New York town to experience miscarriages, birth defects and countless other health problems.

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States – Clean Up Your Act: EPA Issues A Final Rule Requiring Certain States To Revise Their Permitting Regulations To Address The Effects Of Greenhouse Gases

Climate Change

On December 1st, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule requiring several states to revise their state implementation plans (SIP) such that New Source Review (NSR) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits will cover greenhouse gases (GHG). Identified in the “SIP call” are 13 states including: Arizona, Arkansas, our own California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming. Although our title implies finger-wagging on the part of EPA, the agency indicates it has “worked closely” with the states to “ensure a smooth transition to GHG permitting.”Industrial Facility

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