California Identifies the First Products for Regulation under the Green Chemistry Program

This post was written by Jamon Bollock

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) took an important step in implementing its Green Chemistry program by releasing its list of the first three “Priority Products” that will be targeted for scrutiny under the new Safer Consumer Products regulations. The list of Priority Products subjects certain types of children’s sleeping mats, spray foam used in building insulation, and paint or varnish strippers for assessment, reformulation, and possible prohibition. Manufacturers of these products will have to react quickly to respond to the agency’s notice.

At the same time, all manufacturers and retailers of consumer products sold in California, even those that do not make or sell any of the three proposed Priority Products, should monitor the rulemaking process and assist the agency in developing a regulatory program that works.

Ensuring a workable program is especially important because California’s Green Chemistry program will likely become a model for consumer protection and chemical safety regulations nationwide. Even if other jurisdictions do not adopt similar requirements, the size and importance of the California market dictate that manufacturers and retailers of consumer products sold throughout the country will be forced to comply with the requirements, resulting in de facto nationwide product safety standards.

For more information, please read the full client alert on reedsmith.com by clicking here.
 

Audio & Slides from last week's teleseminar - The Coal Industry: A New Reality

On Tuesday, March 4, 2014 Reed Smith hosted its first half-hour program in a series entitled "The Coal Industry: A New Reality".

The topics included:

  • How the recent chemical spill by Freedom Industries in West Virginia has created renewed national interest in the treatment of environmental claims in bankruptcy cases and what this means to the coal industry
  • How to get your corporate house in order and avoid officer and director, contingent, and successor liability
  • Updates and implications of recent cases and transactions

The audio and slides are available for download here.

~~~

ABOUT THE SERIES: Companies must adjust to maintain a global role in the world of energy. Where is the coal industry thriving? How can coal companies better position themselves? What are some economic and regulatory issues to watch? These are some examples of the issues to be discussed in the coming series.

The next teleseminar in the series will be April 15, 2014. David W. Wagner of our Energy and Natural Resources Practice in Pittsburgh will focus on upcoming environmental regulations, especially the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed emission standards and guidelines for existing coal-fired power plants.

If you require additional information, contact Lina Carollo at lcarollo@reedsmith.com.

Proposed Regulation of Hazardous Waste in Retail Sector

This post was written by Ed Walsh and Todd Maiden

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) in order “to collect information towards improving hazardous waste requirements for the retail sector”. To read it, click here. Retailer hazardous waste violations are already a hot enforcement issue in some jurisdictions like California where settlements against big box retailers and chain stores are regularly in the millions of dollars e.g., K Mart’s $8 million settlement and Home Depot’s settlement of $9.9 million. Now, EPA appears to be extending this focus nationally: the NODA states that it has committed to analyze information and identify issues about the regulations applicable to hazardous waste generated in the retail industry, including: a) what materials may be affected; b) what the scope of the issues are; and c) what options may exist for addressing the issues. Hazardous wastes from the retail industry sector are regulated under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the enforcement of which is typically delegated to the various states.

In the notice, the EPA states that it has conducted meetings with the Council on Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles Inc., the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, and select large retailers and consumer goods manufacturers. Many of the comments received were related to specific issues faced by the retail sector when managing hazardous waste pharmaceuticals. However, other retail-related comments were also raised, with some of the more important comments focusing on episodic generation, hazardous waste determination, reverse distribution, and aerosol can management. The EPA recognizes that retailers face widely varying duties under the hazardous waste generation regulations due to product recalls, customer returns, expiration dates, accidental product spills or breakage, seasonality and midnight dumping in parking lots. Different rates of hazardous waste generation also may subject retailers to different training, recordkeeping, manifesting and other hazardous waste regulations, as stated in the NODA.

While the states have taken the majority of enforcement actions against several major retail companies in connection with hazardous waste issues, in 2013, EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice reached agreement with one of the largest retailers to resolve RCRA violations that allegedly occurred across the country. As part of that agreement, the retailer committed to the continued development and implementation of a comprehensive, corporate-wide waste management program to identify and properly manage all hazardous wastes generated throughout its retail operations. Specifically, the retailer now has suppliers submit product information to a third party to evaluate product formulations to determine a product’s regulatory waste status and transportation classification, an electronic system that provides every employee with waste handling information for each product through the scanning of the UPC bar code, a waste management system that utilizes colored buckets to clearly designate where certain types of waste are accumulated prior to off-site shipment, and a reverse logistics system to track the disposition of all items going through their reverse distribution system.

All comments on the NODA should be submitted within 60 days following the notice's publication in the Federal Register. The notice was issued on February 4, 2014 and should be published shortly in Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2012-0426. Instructions on how to submit comments can be found in the NODA.

Reed Smith has represented and currently is representing companies facing these “reverse logistics” issues of how to properly manage hazardous substances in products that are returned to stores or other facilities, including decision-making on how and when it is possible to resell such products or return products to vendors or third parties who assist in reusing, reselling or recycling products. For questions, please reach out to one of the authors of this post, or with the Reed Smith attorney with whom you work.
 

Decrypting the Science Behind the U.S. EPA: The Secret Science Reform Act

This post was written by Christopher Rissetto

After years of alleging that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) relied on undisclosed and unverifiable data upon which to base its regulations, at least some Members of the U.S. House of Representative have decided to intervene. On February 6, 2014, David Schweikert (R-AZ-6), Chair of the Subcommittee on Environment, in the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, joined by Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX-21) and a total of 18 co-sponsors, introduced the Secret Science Reform Act (H.R. 4012).

No text of the bill is yet available. The bill’s title, however, gives a clear picture of the sponsors’ intention regarding the proposed legislation: To prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.

In a statement issued by the Committee, Chairman Smith gave an indication of the sponsors’ frustrations with the perceived absence of a scientific record to support EPA’s rulemakings: “Costly environmental regulations should be based on publicly available data so that independent scientists can verify the EPA’s claims. The Secret Science Reform Act of 2014, which I sponsored, prohibits EPA from using secret science to justify new regulations.”

The bill was referred to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

A hearing is presently scheduled on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, at 10 am, before the Committee’s Environment Subcommittee. The hearing is titled, “Ensuring Open Science at EPA,” and will receive testimony on the proposed legislation. Witnesses scheduled to give testimony are: Hon. John Graham, Dean, School of Public Environmental Affairs, Indiana University; Dr. Louis Anthony Cox, Chief Sciences Officer, Next Health Technologies, Clinical Professor, Biostatistics and Informatics, Colorado Health Science Center, and President, Cox Associates; Raymond Keating, Chief Economist, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council; and Dr. Ellen Silbergeld, Professor, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University.
 

The Coal Industry: A New Reality

Reed Smith is pleased to announce its upcoming teleseminar series entitled "The Coal Industry: A New Reality".

The first half-hour program to kick-off the series will be offered on Tuesday, March 4 at 8:00 AM pacific/ 12:00 PM eastern. See below for full details.

Coal Industry Survival Guide

Date: March 4, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM ET/ 9:00 AM - 9:30 AM PT/ 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM GMT

With expanded regulatory schemes and global economic shifts related to coal production, use and sales, the coal industry is facing significant changes and challenges. To help navigate this new reality, Reed Smith invites you to the first in a series of teleseminars that will address key industry issues.

Our kickoff program, called the Coal Industry Survival Guide, will include:

  • How the recent chemical spill by Freedom Industries in West Virginia has created renewed national interest in the treatment of environmental claims in bankruptcy cases and what this means to the coal industry
  • How to get your corporate house in order and avoid officer and director, contingent, and successor liability
  • Updates and implications of recent cases and transactions

SPEAKER: Robert P. Simons

TO REGISTER: CLICK HERE

ABOUT THE SERIES: Companies must adjust to maintain a global role in the world of energy. Where is the coal industry thriving? How can coal companies better position themselves? What are some economic and regulatory issues to watch? These are some examples of the issues to be discussed in the coming series.

The next teleseminar in the series will be April 15, 2014. David W. Wagner of our Energy and Natural Resources Practice in Pittsburgh will focus on upcoming environmental regulations, especially the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed emission standards and guidelines for existing coal-fired power plants.

 

If you require additional information, contact Lina Carollo at lcarollo@reedsmith.com.

Public Comment Period Extended for Proposed Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Surface Activities Regulations

On January 22, 2014, the Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) issued a press release announcing that DEP and the Environmental Quality Board extended the public comment period and number of public hearings on the proposed regulations of oil and gas surface activities. The public comment period is extended from February 12, 2014 until March 14, 2014. There will be two additional public hearings on February 10, 2014 and February 12, 2014. Read the complete press release here.

Brownfield land in the UK: directors' and officers' liability

Members of the Brownfield Solutions team at Reed Smith have just published the first in a new series of articles looking at issues relevant to those with an interest in UK brownfield land. In the first article, the team looks at Directors’ & Officers’ liability in the context of brownfield sites. To view the article, click here.

Sanctions Update on Iran

This post was written by Alexandra Gordon, Lisa Mason, Leigh Hansson and Matthew Thomas

As reported in our client alert in December 2013, the “Joint Plan of Action” reached between the E3+3 and Iran in November 2013 envisaged a two-step process in relation to relief from international trade sanctions.

On 12 January 2014, it was announced that the interim deal (of six months of initial measures) between the E3+3 and Iran, constituting the first step of the “Joint Plan of Action”, would begin to run on 20 January 2014.

In summary, the proposed initial measures include suspending sanctions on prohibitions relating to the following:

    (a) the import, purchase and transport of Iranian petrochemical products;

    (b) Iranian imports of gold and precious metals; and

    (c) oil-related insurance and transportation services. In addition, EU authorisation thresholds for non-sanctioned trade would be increased.

In addition to the voluntary measures that the E3+3 proposed to undertake (as above), the US would unblock some sanctions against Iran so as to (i) allow US$2.4 billion in restricted oil sale assets to be transferred to Iran in instalments; (ii) suspend certain sanctions on Iran’s automobile industry; and (iii) allow safety-related repairs and inspections for certain Iranian airlines inside Iran. All other US sanctions against Iran would remain in place.

We understand that the Obama administration is in the process of finalising draft orders and policy statements to amend US sanctions to implement the first step of the “Joint Plan of Action”. Those should be made public shortly. We are continuing to monitor the situation, and will publish further alerts following any major developments. In the meantime, we understand that negotiations on a permanent agreement (i.e. the second step of the “Joint Plan of Action”) will begin within a few weeks.  

Lawyer's Guide to Emergency Response in the Energy & Natural Resources Industry

This post was written by Rebecca Archer, Caroline Brader-Smith, Carol M. Burke, Richard M. Gunn, Nicholas Rock

Emergencies, whether they be high profile public events or small and relatively self-contained issues, are unfortunately a fact of business life. Preparing for emergencies demonstrates a company’s ability to accept and deal with challenges and its commitment to maintaining the continuity of normal business operations instead of becoming caught up in the surrounding chaos. Drawing on our experience of dealing with a wide range of energy and natural resources sector emergency situations, this Reed Smith Client Alert suggests certain "best practice" approaches from the perspective of an external or in-house lawyer when facing an emergency situation by looking at the ways in which a company should prepare for an emergency before it happens, the steps that should be taken while the situation is ongoing, and how the aftermath of an emergency should be used as an opportunity for development.

Potential Impact of New California Fracking Disclosure Requirements

This post was written by Todd Maiden, Marilyn Moberg, and Michael Mandell

On November 15, 2013, the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) released draft regulations affecting hydraulic fracturing activities within the state that some state officials are touting as the "toughest in the nation." These proposed regulations include a public disclosure requirement of the chemicals used in "well stimulation activities" (including hydraulic fracturing and acid stimulation treatment).

Specifically, DOGGR’s proposed regulations, based on California Senate Bill 4 (S.B. 4), require operators to post publically on the Chemical Disclosure Registry the trade name, supplier, and descriptions of the additives used in their fracking fluids within 60 days after an operation ends. In Wyoming, which enacted similar legislation in 2010, there has already been litigation regarding issues of trade secrets protection. Wyoming’s regulation requires that the owner or operator of a well provide the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission with, inter alia, the identity of all compounds contained in fracturing fluid additives for each fracturing operation. Wyo. Admin. Code OIL GEN Ch. 3 § 45(d)(ii). However, the regulation exempted information from disclosure to the public if an operator requested, and the Commission supervisor found that the information was a trade secret. See Id. at § 45(f) ("confidentiality protection shall be provided consistent with WYO. STAT. ANN. § 16-4-203(d)(v) of the the Wyoming Public Records Act, for the following records: ‘trade secrets, privileged information and confidential commercial, financial, geological or geophysical data furnished by or obtained from any person.’"). On November 20, the Wyoming Supreme Court heard arguments over whether a trade secret exemption could be invoked to prevent disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. See Powder River Basin Resource Council v. Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, No. S-13-0120. In contrast, S.B. 4 specifically provides that the following information is not a trade secret:

  • Identification of the chemical constituents of additives
  • The concentrations of the additives;  
  • Pollution monitoring data;
  • Health and safety data ; and  
  • Chemical composition of the flowback fluid following well stimulation.

In addition to trade secret issues, there has also been litigation involving fracking where plaintiffs allege negligence, strict liability, medical monitoring trust funds and nuisance against oil and gas companies. See, e.g., Fiorentino v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., 750 F. Supp. 2d 506 (M.D. Pa. 2010) (asserting, inter alia, causes of action for negligence, private nuisance, medical monitoring trust funds, and gross negligence). Thus far, courts have been unwilling to dismiss these claims until fact investigation ends. See, e.g., Fiorentino, 750 F. Supp. 2d at 509–510 (M.D. Pa. 2010) (deferring judgment on plaintiff’s claims until the end of discovery); Kamuck v. Shell Energy Holdings GP, LLC. No. 4:11–1425, 2012 WL 1463594 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 19, 2012) (same); Berish v. Southwestern Energy Production Co. 763 F. Supp. 2d 702, 704 (M.D. Pa. 2011) (same). For instance, in Pennsylvania, plaintiffs—63 individuals who executed leases giving an oil and gas company the right to extract natural gas from their properties—alleged the defendants improperly conducted hydraulic fracturing that allowed the release of methane, natural gas, and other toxins onto their land and into their groundwater. Fiorentino, 750 F. Supp. 2d at 509–10. These plaintiffs claimed that they experienced property damage and physical illness, that they live in constant fear of future illness, and that they suffer severe emotional distress. Thus, they requested an injunction prohibiting future natural gas operations, damages (under strict liability theory), and the cost of future health monitoring. Id. On ruling on the defendants’ motion to dismiss, the Fiorentino court refused to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims until the record was more fully developed and instead instructed the defendants to reassert their arguments at the summary judgment stage. Id. at 512-13. Firoentino is just now entering the summary judgment stage—two years after the court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss.

Reed Smith has extensive experience in hydraulic fracturing issues and commercial and toxic tort litigation and is following these issues closely. If you have any further questions, please contact one of the authors of this post.

Slides and Audio from December 4th Environmental and Energy Law Teleseminar

Year-End Local and Global Climate Change Analysis:
COP 19, California’s November Auction
and Quebec’s December Auction 

On December 4th our lawyers presented the latest Environmental and Energy Law teleseminar with impacting news and updates on GHG regulation globally and in California.

The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place from November 11-22 at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland. Our market-leading UK Climate Change lawyer provided a high-level discussion of COP 19 from London. Developments from California’s November 19th Auction and Quebec's first auction were also presented.

Topics:

  • COP 19 Overview and Observations 
  • California November Auction Update 
  • Quebec December Auction Update 
  • California/Oregon/Washington/British Columbia Pact 
  • AB32 Litigation Update

Speakers: David Wagner (Pittsburgh), Todd Maiden (San Francisco), Jamon Bollock (San Francisco), and Peter Zaman (London). To read more about our speakers, please click the attorney's name.

The slides and audio are available here.

The 19th Conference of the Parties (COP 19) - Daily Alerts

This post was written by Peter Zaman, Pryderi Diebschlag, and Felix Attafuah

A European team of Reed Smith lawyers presented a series of daily alerts from COP 19 which was held from 11 to 22 November 2013 in Warsaw, Poland. An abstract of each alert is set out below, please click the links to read the full entries.

Setting Expectations - The 19th Conference of the Parties (“COP”) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the “Convention”) opens today at the National Stadium in Warsaw, the Republic of Poland. For those who recall COP 14 in Poznań just before the Copenhagen COP, many will feel a strong sense of déjà vu as this COP also is one that is leading up to a more significant COP in Paris in 2015.

Day 1 - The Conference opened yesterday in Warsaw with speeches by the newly elected President of COP 19/CMP 9, His Excellency Marcin Korolec (Poland’s Environment Minister), and Ms. Christiana Figueres (Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC). Cutting through the usual soundbites, a poignant statement was made by the Philippines’ Climate Commissioner, Naderev Sano, who told the Conference that, in light of the destruction caused by typhoon Haiyan, he "will voluntarily refrain from eating food (during the conference) until a meaningful outcome is in sight".

Day 2 - Having completed the formalities of COP 19 on Day 1, Day 2 opened with a plenary meeting of the AWG-DP. Through the course of the day, contact groups, informal consultations, workshops and other events convened under the AWG-DP, SBI and SBSTA. This alert covers some of the issues discussed at these meetings.

Day 3 - Day 3 continued where day 2 left off, with more meetings, contact groups, informal discussions, workshops and other events taking place under the COP, AWG-DP, SBSTA and SBI. Poland’s decision to host a coal industry summit next week on the side lines of COP 19/CMP 9 has put the United Nations in a quandary. One of the purposes of COP 19/CMP 9 is to provide parties with a platform to discuss processes for slowing global warming (usually with a focus on phasing out fossil fuels like coal in favour of renewable energies like solar or wind power). Instead, the focus next week will also be on coal as Poland (a country that generates 90 percent of its electricity from coal) tries to engage COP 19/CMP 9 on a coal debate.

Day 4 - Frantic meeting schedules continued at the Conference against the back drop of news that Japan will announce a reduction in its 2020 greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions target. Japan is expected to announce today that it will now target a 2020 emissions reduction of 3.8 per cent from its 2005 emissions levels. This new target is in stark contrast to Japan’s previous target of achieving a 25 per cent reduction from its 1990 levels. Furthermore, under the Kyoto Protocol (which Japan has subsequently opted out of), Japan pledged to cut GHGs emissions by 6 per cent a year on average over a five-year period to March 2013. In anticipation of this announcement by Japan, China has been most vocal, with the Chinese lead negotiator expressing his "deep concern" and "dismay".

Day 5, 6 and 7 - As expected, Japan duly announced its intention to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 3.8% (from 2005 levels) by 2020. By comparison to Japan’s earlier goal of a 25% reduction from 1990 levels by 2020, this new target allows a 3.1% increase in emissions from 1990 levels. Friday’s meetings continued the trend of informal consultations and contacts groups, slowing striving towards substantive progress. The closure of the 39th SBSTA and SBI meetings, and the associated closing plenaries, provided an excellent opportunity to assess precisely how much or how little substantive progress has been achieved thus far.

Day 8 - The second week of the conference began with the COP President calling an informal stocktaking session, aiming to unite and focus the parties ahead of a week of hopefully more productive negotiations as the ministers begin to arrive. Simultaneously, the closing plenary session of the SBI reconvened, determined to conclude its meeting after a long weekend of negotiations.

Day 9 - Tuesday saw the opening ceremony of the high-level segment at COP 19 and CMP 9. As is customary, the curtain raiser began with numerous statements from a variety of heads of state and government ministers. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon set out a number of key objectives for the parties in Warsaw which were substantially echoed by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres. These include promoting the ratification of the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, increasing ambition levels across mitigation, adaptation and finance, and paving a route forward for an agreement in 2015.

Day 10 -The high-level ministerial discussions continued on Wednesday with a focus on trying to reach a consensus as to scaling up finance to the "magic number"of US$100 billion per year by 2020.The usual array of contact groups, informal consultations and meetings under the COP, CMP and AWG-DP workstreams continued throughout the day, culminating in the COP/CMP President convening another informal stocktaking plenary in the evening.

 

Day 11 - The focus of Thursday’s high-level ministerial discussions turned to the Durban Platform and sought to capitalise on the common ground that was established yesterday in the AWG-DP. As before, the array of contact groups, informal consultations and meetings under the COP, CMP and AWG-DP workstreams continued throughout the day, culminating in the COP/CMP President convening another informal stocktaking plenary session in the evening.

 

The Impact of Present and Future UK Green Initiatives

This post was written by Nav Sahota, Siobhan Hayes, Maricela Robles Garza and Daniel Kyriakides.

There have been so many green initiatives from the UK government that it can be hard for companies owning or occupying property to work out what is really going to affect them and their bottom line. We are of the view that UK property owners and many occupiers are gradually going to implement more energy efficiency measures in their buildings. Some of the highest profile corporate occupiers have on-going programmes for reducing power consumption and improving their impact on the environment but others may be persuaded by the costs savings or required by some of these new laws and regulations to turn green (or at least pale green).

EPC Ratings - Investors of buildings which are let to multiple occupiers or have a long term tenant in them may not think of carrying out works to improve the energy efficiency of the building unless these are recoverable under their service charge provisions. Not all service charge clauses allow for the costs of improvements to be recovered.

However carrying out energy efficient improvements may help owners avoid the looming issue of buildings no longer being lettable where they have a low EPC rating. We posted on this topic back in April 2012 and it remains the case that from April 2018, it will be unlawful to rent out a residential or business property that does not reach a minimum energy efficiency standard (expected to be EPC rating 'E'). It now appears that even pre-existing lettings might become unlawful in April 2018 but we await draft Regulations to be sure.

To read the full Real Estate blog entry, please click here.

Slides and Audio for November 6th Environmental and Energy Law Teleseminar

 Pennsylvania Shale Gas Update:
Criminal Enforcement of Pennsylvania Environmental Laws

Did you know that violation of Pennsylvania environmental laws can result not only in civil fines and court ordered supplemental environmental projects, but also in criminal convictions, both for the charged entity and the people who manage it?

On November 6th, we discussed criminal enforcement of environmental laws that impact the Shale Gas Industry in Pennsylvania. The teleseminar was designed to help companies identify when a criminal penalty might be applicable to violations of environmental law, the internal guidelines which should be in place to deal with potential criminal actions and how the criminal process works in Pennsylvania.

Topics included:

  • A discussion of the criminal provisions of Pennsylvania’s environmental statutes, including the strict liability provisions of the Solid Waste Management Act
  • The procedural aspects of criminal enforcement in Pennsylvania
  • A discussion of the ways you can minimize the potential for criminal enforcement actions and the relationship with civil enforcement actions.

The slides and audio are available here for download.

 

West Coast Governors Announce Ambitious Plan to Coordinate Action on Climate Change

This post was written by Jennifer Smokelin, Jamon Bollock, and Todd Maiden

Once again, the states prove to be the first movers on climate change issues and the incubators for novel climate change policies. On the federal level, climate change bills get stuck in congressional committees. But governors on the West Coast are trying to spur action.

On October 28, 2013, British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate & Energy (the "Plan"), a "comprehensive and far-reaching strategic alignment to combat climate change and promote clean energy." (See Pacific Coast Collaborative, Press Release, October 28, 2013, p. 1). According to the statement released by Offices of the Governors of California, Oregon and Washington and the Office of the Premier of British Columbia, the "Action Plan represents the best of what Pacific Coast governments are already doing, and calls on each of us to do more—together—to create jobs by leading in the clean energy economy, and to meet our moral obligation to future generations." (Id.)

The Plan’s broad goals include addressing climate change comprehensively across many segments of the economy. The Plan will touch on the transportation sector, for example, through expanding the use of zero-emission vehicles (with a goal of ten percent of public and private fleet purchases by as early as 2016), adopting low carbon fuel standards, and exploring the development of high-speed rail across the region. (See Plan, Sections II(1), II(2), and II(3).) The Plan will also impact the commercial and residential building sector by transforming the market for energy efficiency and leading the way to "net-zero" buildings. (See Section III(1).) Additionally, the Plan will address the energy sector by focusing on streamlining the permitting of renewable energy infrastructure, supporting strong federal policy on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, and supporting integration of the region’s electricity grids. (See Sections III(2), III(4), and III(5).)

 

Continue Reading...