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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.

New Mexico Files RCRA Notice of Intent to Sue EPA

by Patrick J. Paul On January 14th, the State of New Mexico provided the legally required notice under the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to sue the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the State of Colorado, and others for violating 42 U. S. C. § 6972(a)(1)(B) alleging that it had created an […]

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Waters of the U.S. Rule Drowning to Start 2016

by Patrick J. Paul Although likely to survive a presidential veto of a joint resolution seeking to nullify the June 29, 2015 rule submitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers amending the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, this rule is starting […]

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Amended Federal Rules on Discovery to Impact Environmental Litigation

by Mitch Klein The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were recently amended. Amongst the changes, perhaps the most significant are the changes to discovery under Rule 26. Previously, parties were entitled to conduct discovery regarding anything that might be “reasonably calculated” to lead to relevant and admissible evidence. In practice, this led to some parties […]

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MK

Is It Remedial or Removal — The Distinction Is Critical in Determining the Statute of Limitations for Actions under CERCLA

by Mark D. Johnson Under CERCLA activities to clean up hazardous substances are characterized as either “removal actions” or “remedial actions.”  Generally, removal actions are interim actions to clean up or remove hazardous materials.  42 U.S.C. § 9601(23).  Remedial actions are efforts to permanently remedy the presence of hazardous materials.  Id. § 9601(23).  A claim […]

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MJ
Former Partner

Battery Energy Storage – the Game Changer

by Raymond S. Heyman One of the fastest emerging technologies in the energy industry is battery storage. Seen as a solution to frequency regulation challenges and renewable energy shortfalls, battery storage is sometimes called the next “game changer.” There are two types of battery energy storage options. Large “front-of-the-meter” storage applications are grid scale and […]

RH
Former Partner

It’s the Effect of the Project on the Environment – Not the Effect of the Environment on the Project

by Sean Sherlock The California Supreme Court has resolved a longstanding uncertainty regarding the scope of environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). In 1995, a California Court of Appeal held that CEQA requires a lead agency to evaluate the effect of a project on the environment, but not the effect of the […]

White House Launches “Moonshot” Effort on Water, Promoting Recycling and Market Forces

by Timothy J. Sabo The White House has released a new report, “Water Resource Challenges and Opportunities for Water Technology Innovation” (December 2015).  The report describes a strategy of promoting innovation in the water sector, described as a “moonshot” effort. The report includes a notable emphasis on market forces, especially in the West, stating (page […]

TS
Former Counsel

The Exceptional Events Rule is Finally Receiving a Makeover by the EPA

by Amanda Reeve Crowds watched in mute horror as Phoenix was rapidly overtaken by an ominous thick, dark cloud that swept from ground to sky.  Moving like a giant tidal wave across the Arizona skies, it appeared to be engulfing the sun above as it roared across the state.  The event left behind a brown […]

AR
Environmental & Regulatory Policy Advisor

Renewables Sector May Reap Windfall from Paris Climate Summit

by Erik G. Nielsen On November 30, 2015, world leaders converged in Paris for COP 21—the United Nations conference on climate change.  This is the 21st year that countries from around the world have come together with the goal of reducing the impacts of global climate change.  While negotiations are still ongoing, it is expected […]

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EN
Former Associate

New CEQA Cases Approve of Flexibility in Determining Environmental Baseline

by Sean M. Sherlock The California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) requires agencies to evaluate whether projects they are performing or permitting will have a significant effect on the environment. But significant compared to what? In evaluating a project’s impact on the environment, an agency must determine appropriate baseline conditions against which to compare the project. […]