Looking back on my 45 years in the energy sector.
Clean Water Act
The Homer City decision increases uncertainty—but rewards forward thinking.
The D.C. Circuit’s CSAPR ruling reinforces the benefits of planning ahead and keeping options open. A diverse portfolio strategy reduces risks and costs.
EPA’s new water, waste, and air regulations complicate power plant compliance.
New environmental requirements under the Clean Water Act (CWA) will add to the already complex burden of compliance for power plants. As the Environmental Protection Agency moves forward with cooling water and effluent standards, utilities and generators will have to deal with overlapping rules and conflicting policy goals.
Indian Point and the battle for the nation’s energy future.
State lawmakers are trying to block relicensing of the Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York City, but the owner hopes to keep the plant generating low-cost electricity. The battle over Indian Point raises new legal issues—and represents a microcosm of the struggle for America’s nuclear future.
Has the Supreme Court frozen climate change litigation?
The Supreme Court’s decision in American Electric Power v. Connecticut strongly limits private nuisance actions against greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters by keeping these cases out of federal court. But the AEP decision won’t stop lawmakers from enacting new GHG regulations, and it won’t prevent plaintiffs from suing emitters in state courts.
Business models are evolving to suit a shifting industry landscape.
The next decade will bring serious disruption to the utility industry. But with cooperation from regulators and legislators, utility companies will be able to shift their business models to capture significant value—both in existing businesses and emerging ones.
Prospects for clean energy legislation in 2011.
With budget battles heating up in Washington, Congress and the Obama administration are squaring off to debate energy policy legislation. While Democratic leadership favors a clean energy standard, Republican lawmakers are focused on blocking administration initiatives to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. A compromise approach might bring substantial changes to America’s national energy strategy.
Legal and regulatory changes are transforming the industry.
This year has marked a sea change in energy policy, from environmental compliance to transmission pricing. Fortnightly interviews top lawyers to better understand how regulatory developments are affecting the power and gas industries.
Utilities cut support for climate-change deniers.
This summer marked the 40th anniversary of a pivotal event in the environmental movement. On June 22, 1969, the oily surface of the Cuyahoga River caught fire, drawing national attention to the plight of America’s lakes and rivers. However, clean water standards didn’t begin with the Cuyahoga River fire, the EPA or the Clean Water Act. A series of common-law nuisance lawsuits, combined with a patchwork of state laws and (weak) federal statutes, preceded the comprehensive legislation that emerged from the smoke of the Cuyahoga. Today we’re seeing a similar progression in greenhouse gas regulation, with civil suits, state initiatives and marginal federal actions apparently marching toward a national climate policy.
Congress revamps LNG and storage, giving broad new powers to FERC. Why the Feds still must consult with local authorities.
A major objective of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT) is to counter the worsened conditions in the natural-gas market that began in 2000 and are expected to continue over the next several years—namely, tight natural-gas supplies and high, volatile gas prices caused by a distinct shift in the supply-demand balance. Any noticeable reductions in gas prices that might be effectuated by the act will have little impact on natural-gas prices for a number of years.