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About this Blog

Welcome to the S&W Environmental, Natural Resources, Oil and Gas Law Blog. This blog is a resource for the regulated community to stay current on new developments impacting the environmental, natural resources and energy sectors. It provides timely updates on a broad range of federal, state and local environmental topics — including proposed legislation and government rulemakings — that impact regulated industries throughout the southwest and the nation as a whole.

As Lake Mead Dwindles, Arizona and Other Colorado River Basin States Continue to Plan for a Drier Future

by Bill Staudenmaier It has become a familiar refrain.  For each of the past three years, the United States Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the major reservoirs on the Colorado River, has announced a new “record low” water elevation in Lake Mead.  A quick Google search identifies articles or posts discussing this downward trend in […]

In a Victory for Businesses and Developers, the United States Supreme Court Holds that Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations Are Appealable

by Chris Colyer The United States Supreme Court ruled today that an approved jurisdictional determination under the Clean Water Act constitutes an immediately appealable agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 500 et seq. This decision, United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc., rejects the United States Army Corps […]

CC

Recent Developments in the Gold King Mine Spill

by Megan H. Tracy On Tuesday, May 4, 2016, the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs chair, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), and committee member, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) formally requested a federal criminal investigation into the Gold King Mine spill. In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Sens. Barrasso and McCain stated that […]

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MT
Former Associate

Is Coal Down For The Count

by J. Matthew Derstine Last week Peabody Energy announced that it filed bankruptcy.  Peabody is the nation’s largest coal company.  The filing by Peabody comes on the heels of the January 2016 bankruptcy filing by Arch Coal, the nation’s second largest coal producer.  Over 26 coal companies have gone bankrupt in the past several years […]

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MD

ADEQ Director Testifies before Congress in Opposition to EPA Ozone Standard

by Patrick J. Paul On Thursday, April 14th, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Misael Cabrera testified before Congress regarding naturally occurring ozone levels in parts of Arizona making it impossible to comply with standards proposed last fall by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking to reduce ozone. Cabrera was testifying in […]

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International Environmental Law Guide Published

by Chris Colyer Our colleagues, Denise Dragoo and Stephen Smithson, contributed a chapter on United States environmental law for the 2016 International Comparative Legal Guide to Environment and Climate Change Law (13th Ed.). This Guide is used by in-house counsel across the globe to obtain basic familiarity with the different approaches to environmental law and […]

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Does a Project’s Impact on the “Character of the Community” Need to Be Evaluated under CEQA?

by Sean M. Sherlock Harry Rogers owned and operated a horse boarding facility called the Stock Farm, in the City of Poway, California – a city that proudly calls itself the “City in the Country.”  Rogers wanted to shut down the Stock Farm and subdivide his land into residential lots.  Not surprisingly, some of the […]

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New OSHA Silica Exposure Regulations Enacted – Decades After They Were Proposed

by Stephen W. Smithson On March 24, 2016, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) finalized new regulations (https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-04800.pdf) for workplace silica exposure. The prior regulations were adopted in 1971 (http://ehstoday.com/osha/osha-issues-final-rule-silica), and OSHA has been considering revised regulations since the Clinton administration (http://www.wsj.com/articles/obama-administration-issues-rule-to-limit-exposure-to-silica-dust-1458828839). Silica exposure is common throughout many industries, as it is […]

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RH
Former Partner

Proposed Amendments to BLM’s Planning 2.0 Initiative Could Significantly Impact the Management of Public Lands

by Christopher W. Payne On February 25, 2016, the United States Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) published proposed amendments to its land use planning rules as a part of its “Planning 2.0” initiative that was launched in May 2015.  The purpose of the Planning 2.0 initiative is to modernize the BLM’s planning process and increase public […]

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CP
Former Associate

Business Owner Ordered to Pay $1.3 Million for Leaking UST

by Megan H. Tracy The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) obtained a judgment against William Arnett for $1.3 million for underground storage tank (UST) law violations that stem back to the late 1980s. A Maricopa County Superior Court held that Arnett, the owner of property in Tucson that contained a UST, was liable to […]

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MT
Former Associate