Jenner & Block

Corporate Environmental Lawyer Blog

May 9, 2016 Jenner & Block CLE Webinar: "Climate Change Law at the Close of the Obama Administration: Understanding the Past and Implications for the Future"

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By E. Lynn Grayson

Jenner & Block Partner Gabrielle Sigel will discuss the development of climate change law under the Obama Administration and how that law may affect future efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. She will provide a framework for understanding some of the most complex and dynamic legal decisions regarding administrative and environmental law since the Clean Air Act was enacted. Titled “Climate Change Law at the Close of the Obama Administration: Understanding the Past and Implications for the Future,” this CLE webinar will be held from 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm on May 12, 2016, at the firm’s Chicago office, 353 N. Clark Street.

Ms. Sigel is co-chair of the firm’s Climate and Clean Technology Law Practice and a founding member of the firm’s Environmental and Workplace Health & Safety Law Practice. She publishes extensively and is a frequent speaker on environmental law, climate change, and workplace health and safety issues.

Please click here to RSVP for attend the program in person or via a webinar.

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas, Sustainability

PEOPLE: Gabrielle Sigel

May 4, 2016 Climate Action Summit Brings Together Climate Leaders in Wake of Paris Agreement Signing

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By Allison Torrence

Approximately 700 participants, including leaders from government, business, finance, academia, philanthropy and civil society, will meet in Washington, DC on May 5-6, to attend the Climate Action 2016 Summit. Seven organizations have come together to jointly co-host the summit, providing this diverse group with the information, connections and tools they need to lead effective implementation in a new climate regime.

The co-hosts of the Summit are:

  • E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group
  • Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change; Founding Partner, Compact of Mayors
  • Naoko Ishii, Chief Executive Officer, Global Environment Facility
  • Judith Rodin, President, Rockefeller Foundation
  • Peter Bakker, Chief Executive Officer, World Business Council on Sustainable Development
  • Nigel Topping, Chief Executive Officer, We Mean Business
  • Wallace Loh, President, University of Maryland

The goal of the Summit is to strengthen the multi-stakeholder approach to climate implementation. The summit will address how to deliver on climate commitments and embed the transformation agenda across the globe in government, key sectors and among the general population. At the same time, the summit will focus on near-term implementation actions and long-term implementation needs. These will focus on City and Sub-national implementation; Transport; Land-use; Energy; Resilience/Adaptation; and Analysis and Tools to Support Decision Making.

More information about Climate Action 2016 is available here.

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas, Sustainability, Water

PEOPLE: Allison A. Torrence

April 22, 2016 Earth Day: 2016 Interesting Insights

Earth Day 2016 Jenner Block Logo

Grayson photoBy E. Lynn Grayson

On April 22, more than one billion people every year celebrate Earth Day in more than 190 countries. According to the Earth Day Network, it is the largest civic observance in the world. Here are some interesting insights about Earth Day this year: 

  1. It’s going to be more important than ever because at last count 155 countries, including the U.S., have agreed to sign the Paris agreement on climate change during a special ceremony at the United Nations in New York.
  1. This year’s celebration is a lead up to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, and the Earth Day Network has pledged to plant 7.8 billion trees worldwide to account for every single person living on Earth.
  1. Learn more about Earth Day by viewing Google’s latest Doodle with fascinating paintings and pictures from around the world.

CATEGORIES: Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas, RCRA, Sustainability, Water

April 21, 2016 More Than 150 Countries to Sign the Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day

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Earth Day Jenner Block Logo

By Allison Torrence

The United Nations has announced that up to 155 countries, including the United States, are planning to sign the Paris Climate Agreement at the Ceremony for Opening Signature, on Earth Day, April 22, 2016. The ceremony will take place at UN headquarters in New York. With over 150 world leaders set to sign the Paris Climate Agreement, the signing is expected to be the largest single signing of an international agreement in world history.

For more information about the signing ceremony and the Paris Climate Agreement, visit the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change website.

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, Greenhouse Gas, Sustainability, Water

PEOPLE: Allison A. Torrence

April 20, 2016 What is Your Global Footprint?

Siros photoEarth Day 2016 Jenner And Block Image

By Steven M. Siros

As part of our ongoing focus on Earth Day 2016, I found an interesting tool that allows one to measure one’s global footprint. The Earth Day Network has put together a Ecological Footprint Calculator that allows one to input specific parameters and determine how much of an impact each one of us has on the planet as a whole.  At least for me, the results were somewhat sobering. Please click here  to use the calculator to measure your impact.

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas, Sustainability, Water

PEOPLE: Steven M. Siros

April 18, 2016 Earth Day: Climate Change Attitudes and Perceptions

Earth Day 2016 Jenner and Block imageGrayson photo

By E. Lynn Grayson

One of the most significant environmental and energy policy issues today is climate change. One of the biggest events of the past year in environmental and energy policy was the Paris COP21 talks. More countries than ever have pledged to significant carbon cuts, yet in many people’s views, those pledges fall short of what a lot of scientists say is necessary. A recent interview of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with Kimberly Strassel, a member of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial board, highlights some of the challenges.

The WSJ found that attitudes toward climate change differ markedly by region of the world and by political affiliation:

WSJ climate change opinion graph

The U.S. has a plan to reduce emissions by 28% but the proposal is the subject of ongoing litigation. In his interview, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over the impact internationally if the U.S. cannot obtain approval to meet its commitments to reduce GHG. President Obama has said that climate change is a bigger threat than terrorism and when asked if he agreed, the Secretary-General noted that “….longer term, it is a much, much more serious issue....concluding that climate change does not respect any borders. It affects a whole humanity, it affects our planet Earth.”

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas, Sustainability, Water

April 18, 2016 Earth Day 2016 Special Series: April 18–22, 2016

SirosEarth Day 2016 Jenner and Block image

By Steven M. Siros

In celebration of Earth Day 2016, the Corporate Environmental Lawyer blog will host a special campaign April 18-22 featuring unique news and stories about Earth Day events and activities taking place around the world, in addition to important developments in environmental law. As environmental lawyers, this is a good day for us to remember the contributions our clients and friends make to improving the environment in the communities where we live and work.

The theme for Earth Day 2016 is Trees for Earth.  In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, planting trees is the first of five major goals that will highlighted in each of the next five years.   The Earth Day Network challenges the world to plant 7.8 billion trees by 2020. 

You are invited to follow and participate in our Earth Day special series next week at http://environblog.jenner.com/ and follow us on Twitter @JennerBlockEHS.

If you have any questions about our Corporate Environmental Lawyer blog or this special series, please feel free to contact me at ssiros@jenner.com or 312-923-2717.

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, Greenhouse Gas, Hazmat, Sustainability, Water

PEOPLE: Steven M. Siros

April 7, 2016 Can A Smartphone Be Used To Verify Compliance With My Air Permit—Surprisingly, the Answer Soon May Be Yes—and Other New Enforcement Initiatives

EPA Next Gen Smart Phone CitiSense Sensor photo

Siros photoBy Steven M. Siros

In an effort to capitalize on what U.S. EPA characterizes as the successful integration of its Next Generation Compliance strategy into its enforcement arsenal, U.S. EPA recently confirmed that it intends to incorporate Next Generation Compliance into future environmental settlements. For those unfamiliar with the strategy, U.S. EPA’s Next Generation Compliance strategy is intended to achieve a higher rate of compliance and reduce pollution through the use of advanced monitoring and information technologies. For example, through the use of Electronic Discharge Monitoring Reports to monitor compliance with Clean Water Act NPDES permits, U.S. EPA is able to more readily identify and prosecute permit violations. Moreover, since much of this information is then publicly available, environmental organizations and citizen groups are more readily able to identify violators, which could result in an increased frequency of citizen suits and/or increased pressure being brought to bear on the regulators to enforce against repeated violators. 

CATEGORIES: Air, Greenhouse Gas, Sustainability

PEOPLE: Steven M. Siros

April 4, 2016 Alexander Bandza Moderating Young Professionals in Energy Event on Hydraulic Fracturing in Illinois

Allison Torrence photoFracking photo

By Allison A. Torrence

On Thursday, April 7, 2016, Young Professionals in Energy (Chicago) is hosting an event titled “Hydraulic Fracturing in Illinois: What Has The National Frenzy Meant For Our State?” at Jenner & Block’s Chicago office. The event will be moderated by Jenner & Block attorney and YPE Board Member, Alexander Bandza, and will feature presentations from Jenny Cassel, Staff Attorney at Environmental Law and Policy Center, and Nancy Loeb, Director of the Environmental Advocacy Center, Northwestern University School of Law.

For more information and to RSVP click here.

CATEGORIES: Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas, Real Estate and Environment, Sustainability, Water

PEOPLE: Allison A. Torrence

March 11, 2016 Lynn Grayson and Allison Torrence Presenting At CBA Seminar On Environmental Law

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Siros photoBy Steven M. Siros

On Wednesday, March 16, 2016, Jenner & Block partners E. Lynn Grayson and Allison Torrence will be speaking at a Chicago Bar Association CLE Seminar titled "Major Cases and Regulatory Changes in Environmental Law." Lynn Grayson will be presenting on proposed RCRA generator and pharmaceutical rules, and Allison Torrence, who is Chair of the CBA Environmental Law Committee, will be presenting on the U.S. v. Volkswagen Clean Air Act litigation.

The seminar is on Wednesday March 16, 2014 from 3–5 pm at the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court. A networking reception will be held at the CBA immediately following the seminar, from 5–6 pm.

For more information and to register for the seminar click here.

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, Greenhouse Gas, Hazmat, RCRA, Sustainability, Toxic Tort, Water

PEOPLE: Allison A. Torrence, Steven M. Siros

February 25, 2016 Frisbees, Flatulence and the Impact of Scalia’s Vacancy on Important Environmental Cases

Torrence photoBy Allison A. TorrenceSCOTUS photo

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia undoubtedly had a significant impact on environmental law during his 30 years on the High Court. Known for his strong opinions and quotable prose, he often showcased both in opinions on environmental issues. One of my personal favorite quotes from Justice Scalia came in his strident dissent in the landmark GHG ruling of Massachusetts v. EPA. In his critique of the majority opinion, he argued that the majority’s reasoning would lead to the conclusion “that everything airborne, from Frisbees to flatulence, qualifies as an ‘air pollutant.’” Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497, 558 (2007).

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas, Water

PEOPLE: Allison A. Torrence

February 17, 2016 Jenner & Block Webinar: The Top Environmental, Health and Safety Issues for 2016 - What You Need to Know

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By Allison A. Torrence

On Tuesday, February 23rd, from 12:00– 1:15 pm CT, Jenner & Block Partners Lynn Grayson and Steven Siros will present a CLE webinar on The Top Environmental, Health and Safety Issues for 2016 - What You Need to Know.  The webinar will provide an overview of key environmental, health and safety issues in 2016 including the following topics:

  • Issues relating to the Corps’ jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act;
  • Fallout under the Safe Drinking Water Act after Flint;
  • U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan regulations, UNFCCC COP 21, and the potential regulation of aircraft GHG emissions;
  • Status of TSCA reform efforts;
  • Litigation relating to GMOs under FIFRA;
  • RCRA waste regulation amendments;
  • OSHA penalty updates;
  • U.S. EPA challenges;
  • Water scarcity and sustainability; and
  • Technological innovation and its impact on environmental practitioners.

To register for this free Webinar click here.

 

CATEGORIES: Air, Cercla, Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, FIFRA, Greenhouse Gas, Hazmat, OSHA, RCRA, Real Estate and Environment, Sustainability, Toxic Tort, TSCA, Water

PEOPLE: Allison A. Torrence, Steven M. Siros

February 10, 2016 Supreme Court Grants Stay of Clean Power Plan

Torrence photo By Allison A. Torrence

In an unusual step, on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of EPA’s “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units,” 80 Fed. Reg. 64,662 (October 23, 2015) (a/k/a “the Clean Power Plan”). The stay is unusual because the challenges to the Clean Power Plan are still before the D.C. Circuit Court, which denied a request for a stay in January.

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas, Sustainability

PEOPLE: Allison A. Torrence

January 13, 2016 Climate Change, Energy Addressed in State of the Union

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Torrence photo By Allison A. Torrence

 

President Obama addressed the nation last night in his final State of the Union speech. While the President covered a wide range of topics, he spent time to discuss the often politicized and controversial topics of climate change and alternative energy. When outlining the “four big questions” he believes the nation has to address, Obama asked “how do we make technology work for us, and not against us, especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change?”

Later, Obama dismissed anyone who disputes the science of climate change, and framed the challenge of climate change as an opportunity for American businesses to invest in alternative energy. He claimed that the solar energy industry employs more Americans than the coal industry and pushed for giving homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy. Obama stated that he wants to accelerate the transition from “old, dirtier energy sources” by pushing to “change the way we manage our oil and coal resources so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”

The full transcript of the President’s State of the Union speech is available here and you can watch video of the speech at the White House's website.

CATEGORIES: Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas, Sustainability

PEOPLE: Allison A. Torrence

December 29, 2015 U.S. EPA Releases 2015 Enforcement Statistics

Siros_Steven_COLORBy Steven M. Siros

The United States Environmental Protection Agency ("U.S. EPA") recently announced its 2015 enforcement statistics, noting that for fiscal year 2015, U.S. EPA initiated enforcement actions resulted in $404 million in penalties and fines.  In addition, companies were required to invest more than $7 billion to control pollution and remediate contaminated sites; convictions for environmental crimes resulted in 129 years of combined incarceration for convicted defendants; and there was a total of $39 million committed to environmental mitigation projects that benefited communities throughout the United States. 

The largest single penalty was the result of a Clean Air Act settlement with two automobile manufacturers that resulted in a $100 million penalty, forfeiture of emissions credits and more than $50 million being invested in pollution control and abatement measures.  U.S. EPA's 2015 enforcement numbers were up from 2014 ($100 million in fines and penalties collected in 2014).  

Please click here to go to U.S. EPA's 2015 enforcement statistics website.

 

 

CATEGORIES: Air, Cercla, Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, FIFRA, Greenhouse Gas, Hazmat, OSHA, RCRA, Sustainability, Toxic Tort, TSCA, Water

PEOPLE: Steven M. Siros