E. Donald Elliott

E. Donald Elliott

Attorney

Don Elliott, co-chair of the firm’s Environmental Practice, has over 30 years of experience in environmental and energy law.  He served as Assistant Administrator and General Counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and teaches courses on both energy policy and environmental law at Yale Law School.

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CEQ Finalizes NEPA Rule Updating Regulations

On July 17, 2020, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published a Final Rule updating regulations to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Final Rule closely tracks the Proposed Rule released in January 2020. The final rule makes a number of notable changes to existing NEPA regulations.… Continue Reading

Non-binding OSHA COVID-19 Guidance Sparks Calls for Federal Action and Plans for State Action to Create Binding Rules

Critiques of OSHA’s current flexible approach to COVID-19 in the workplace provide insight into how a Democratic administration might regulate differently at the federal level.  Moreover, some states have moved forward with establishing binding rules to address COVID-19 in the workplace, which may provide models for future federal efforts.… Continue Reading

OSHA Issues Interim Enforcement Guidance for COVID-19

In guidance to its enforcement staff released on April 13, OSHA has re-emphasized the obligations of employers, particularly in the healthcare industry, to ensure workplace health and safety and to report illnesses and deaths relating to COVID-19 notwithstanding the pandemic.  The guidance also recognizes shortages of N-95 masks and other PPE and other practical considerations … Continue Reading

President Trump Establishes Regulatory Budgets by Executive Order

Amid  all of the controversy surrounding President Trump’s Executive Order suspending immigration from seven countries, and his nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, another executive order that may be at least as significant in the long run to reining in the administrative state has not received much attention.  The Executive Order on … Continue Reading

Energy Efficiency Standards A Quiet Success

Electricity consumption in the United States has generally declined in recent years, due in part to the quiet success of several energy efficiency standards.  In 2013, for instance, the average amount of electricity used in American homes fell to 2001 levels, despite consumers using more products that require electricity. Building on this success, the U.S. … Continue Reading

Comparing Externalities from Energy Sources

Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen recently decried “the failure to develop a framework for assessing the comparative costs of different sources of energy . . . inclusive of the externalities involved.”  As if on cue, the European Union (EU) issued an interim research report by an outside consultancy last month that purported to do just … Continue Reading

EPA Clarifies Standards for CERCLA Assessments

In a move designed to provide greater certainty to those purchasing, selling, or evaluating industrial or commercial properties, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed to remove any lingering effect of ASTM International’s E1527-05, a nine-year-old industry standard practice for evaluating potentially contaminated sites under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). As … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Invalidates State Law Encouraging Fracking

A divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated portions of a law designed to encourage economic development through hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as “fracking”).  Robinson Township v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (December 19, 2013).  The case involved challenges to a recently-enacted commonwealth law known as “Act 13,” which was intended to promote energy projects involving fracking by … Continue Reading
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