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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.

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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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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. […]

Changes in Ozone Standard and Other “Hot Air” Topics Affecting Arizona’s Business Community Addressed at Annual Air Quality Conference

by Lucas J. Narducci The Arizona Manufacturers Council, in conjunction with Maricopa County, held its 2015 Air Quality Conference on Friday, November 6th with tremendous success having the largest attendance for this event in recent years.  Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. was the law firm sponsor and Amanda Reeve, our Environmental Policy and Regulatory Advisor, was the […]

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Arizona Court of Appeals Finds that Liability Limits in Utility Tariff May Bind Third Parties; Also Approves Tort Claim for Violation of “Blue Stake” Laws

by Timothy J. Sabo A recent Arizona Court of Appeals case found that a utility’s tariff can impose binding limits on liability, even on third parties.  The case is US Airways, Inc. v. Qwest Corporation, 722 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 12 (Arizona Court of Appeals, October 1, 2015). The case arose from an accident that severed […]

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Former Counsel

Habitat Mitigation Plans under the ESA and the Law of Entropy; Perhaps It Is Time to Reorganize?

By Cynthia Chandley The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been around since 1973. It certainly has seen its share of amendments (1978, 1982 and 1988) and it has been the subject of more than its share of litigation. As the law has evolved, its principles have been woven into the fabric of our society, our […]

Former Partner