Photo of Jayni Hein

Jayni Hein

Jayni F. Hein co-chairs the firm’s Carbon Management and Climate Mitigation industry group.

Jayni joins the firm after serving as Senior Director for Clean Energy, Infrastructure & the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

During her tenure at CEQ, she oversaw the Biden Administration’s ambitious environmental and clean energy agenda, leading work on low carbon projects and climate disclosure, and advancing the successful implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (2021) and Inflation Reduction Act (2022).

Jayni has extensive experience advising clients on NEPA, Clean Air Act, and Endangered Species Act issues, as well as energy development on public lands. As the former senior political appointee spearheading work to revise NEPA regulations and issue guidance on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, Jayni offers clients first-hand experience with infrastructure projects that require federal and state permits and authorization. She helps clients identify new funding opportunities and successfully advance clean energy and other infrastructure projects, including onshore and offshore wind, solar, hydrogen, transmission, semiconductor, and carbon, capture, sequestration, and utilization (CCUS) projects.

In addition, leveraging her government experience, Jayni advises companies and investors on ESG compliance and strategy in light of increased scrutiny of corporate climate and net-zero commitments. She advises clients on the legal and policy issues relating to ESG and climate-related regulatory requirements, investor demands, global reporting frameworks, and strategic business opportunities.

Clients benefit from her ability to creatively troubleshoot issues, establish relationships across government, and engage policymakers, industry, non-profit organizations, and other key stakeholders in constructive conversations around climate change, environmental justice, and corporate decarbonization goals.

Prior to CEQ, Jayni led energy and climate work at think tanks at NYU Law and Berkeley Law.

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On May 28, the Biden-Harris Administration issued the Voluntary Carbon Markets Joint Policy Statement and Principles (Policy Statement).  You can find Covington’s analysis of the Policy Statement here.  Jointly announced by the U.S. Secretaries of Treasury, Agriculture, and Energy, and senior White House climate officials, the Policy Statement describes a three-pronged approach to responsible carbon market development and participation: (1) credit or supply integrity, including protections regarding climate and environmental justice; (2) demand integrity, to ensure the credible use of credits; and (3) market-level integrity, including facilitating efficient market participation and lowering transaction costs.  The Policy Statement builds on other recent federal actions, including the Commodities Futures Trading Commission’s 2023 proposed guidance for voluntary carbon credit derivatives and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s final climate risk disclosure rule, which requires certain disclosures related to carbon offset purchases, in the Administration’s attention to and elevation of the voluntary carbon market as an important element in the nation’s climate policy. 

In this post, we dive deeper into the voluntary carbon market landscape, implications for business, and additional recent developments. Continue Reading Engaging in Voluntary Carbon Markets: Overview of Key Developments, Risks, and Opportunities

On May 13, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) issued Order No. 1920, the Commission’s long-awaited final rule regarding regional electric transmission planning and cost allocation for future transmission projects on the nation’s interstate electric grid.  Order No. 1920 revises key aspects of the Commission’s current regional transmission planning and cost allocation policies, largely adopted in 2011 in Order No. 1000, in an effort to help accelerate the buildout of transmission infrastructure needed to serve the country’s changing resource mix and growing energy demand projections. 

The major reforms adopted by FERC in Order No. 1920 center around four key areas: (A) planning horizon; (B) developing planning scenarios; (C) selection of transmission solutions and (D) cost allocation, each discussed in more detail below. At a high level, the rule requires transmission providers to engage in long-term regional transmission planning at least 20 years in advance, use at least seven enumerated benefits for the evaluation and selection of long-term regional transmission facilities, and hold a six-month engagement period for relevant state entities before filing a cost allocation method for a chosen project with FERC. Yet, while the Commission’s overarching goal of Order No. 1920 appears to be the selection of efficient long-term regional transmission solutions by transmission providers, the rule makes no mention of National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors (National Interest Corridors), geographic areas designated by the Department of Energy (DOE) where transmission congestion or constraints have an adverse effect on consumers, and where, in certain circumstances, FERC has siting authority for transmission facilities under the Federal Power Act (FPA).     Continue Reading FERC Issues Order No. 1920 To Accelerate Regional Transmission Planning

On May 28, the U.S. Secretaries of Treasury, Agriculture, and Energy, along with senior White House climate officials, issued the Voluntary Carbon Markets Joint Policy Statement and Principles (Policy Statement).  The Policy Statement provides observations regarding the current state of voluntary carbon markets, followed by a set of guiding principles for responsible market participation.  A White House Fact Sheet describes the Policy Statement as representing the U.S. government’s commitment to advancing the responsible development of voluntary carbon markets, “with clear incentives and guardrails.”  Notably, the Fact Sheet  states that, with such incentives and guardrails, voluntary carbon markets can drive significant progress toward the Administration’s goals of reaching global net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 and limiting warming to 1.5 °C.Continue Reading Biden Administration Publishes Voluntary Carbon Markets Joint Policy Statement and Principles

On May 1, 2024, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) published its final “Phase 2” National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) regulations, formally called the Bipartisan Permitting Reform Implementation Rule (“Final Rule”). Publication of the Final Rule completes a multi-year effort by the Biden Administration that included publication of final, narrower “Phase 1” rule in April 2022. The Final Rule is predominantly consistent with the 2023 proposed rule, which is analyzed in an earlier blog post.

CEQ’s Final Rule is notable in many respects. It advances sound environmental analysis to inform the public and decisionmakers while implementing new efficiencies to help accelerate the environmental permitting process for infrastructure projects, from solar, wind, and transmission lines to federally-funded domestic manufacturing projects. In this regard, the Final Rule is a key component of the Biden Administration’s commitment to advancing domestic infrastructure, including projects aligned with the Biden Administration’s climate and clean goals that are being further propelled by federal grants and tax incentives pursuant to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Continue Reading CEQ Final NEPA Regulations and Department of Energy Actions Aim to Responsibly Accelerate Clean Energy, Transmission, and Other Infrastructure Development

First observed on April 22, 1970, Earth Day has long been recognized as a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement.  On that day, over 20 million demonstrators nationwide marched to raise awareness of the need to protect and preserve the environment.  The energy generated from that day galvanized the country to action, leading to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December 1970 and the passage of several statutes later that decade—including the Clean Air Act (CAA) the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)—that serve as the foundation of U.S. environmental legislation.  Today, Earth Day is recognized by countries around the world, and has expanded from its initial focus on pollution control to include elevating environmental justice in low-income, disadvantaged, and indigenous communities and promoting domestic and international climate action.

Beginning with a proclamation on April 19 declaring climate change to be “the existential crisis of our time,” the Biden-Harris Administration marked Earth Day and the week after by announcing a suite of final rules and grant programs aimed at fossil fuel abatement and pollution control, accelerating electric transmission grid modernization and solar energy development, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector.  These actions underscore not only the continued “whole-of-government” approach that the Administration has taken to combat climate change but also the urgency with which federal agencies have moved to promulgate final rules and protect them from potential congressional revocation ahead of the Congressional Review Act deadline later this spring. 

To assist industries and markets as they evaluate the impact of these final rules and programs, we’ve spotlighted several of these Earth Week regulatory and grant-funding actions.Continue Reading A Week of Climate Action: Spotlight on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Earth Week Regulatory and Grant-Funding Actions

What You Need to Know.

  • After two days of intense negotiations, world leaders adopted a draft decision that sets out international climate priorities in response to the findings of the first Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement.  The decision covers several thematic areas, including mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation and resilience in the face of climate change, financing and means of implementation and support for climate projects, and loss and damage funding for climate-vulnerable nations.  The text of the draft decision can be found on the UNFCCC’s website here.

Continue Reading COP28 Final Negotiations Recap: A Global Agreement to Transition Away from Fossil Fuels

What You Need to Know.

  • The UNFCCC has released a draft text of the negotiated outcome of the first Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement.  The draft text currently includes four options to address the question of “phasing out” versus “phasing down” the use of fossil fuels, with the strongest option’s wording being “[a] phase out of fossil fuels in line with best available science.”  Options with weaker wording would call on the Parties to the Paris Agreement to take action towards “phasing out unabated fossil fuels and to rapidly reducing their use so as to achieve net-zero CO2 in energy systems by or around mid-century.”

Continue Reading COP28 Day 8 Recap: Empowering Global Youth and a Look Towards Final Negotiations

What You Need to Know.

  • Two years ago, governments at COP26 agreed to “phase down” the use of unabated coal. This year, countries remain split on specific language concerning fossil fuels more broadly.
  • A draft version of the climate agreement for COP28 provides three different options for the future of fossil fuel use.  The first requires the parties of COP28 to commit to “an orderly and just phase out of fossil fuels,” while the second would instead commit to “accelerating efforts towards phasing out unabated fossil fuels and to rapidly reducing their use so as to achieve net-zero CO2 in energy systems by or around mid-century.”  The third option would contain no text on this point.  Saudi Arabia’s energy minister has already rejected any language that would phase out fossil fuels.  And at the same time, NGO reports have sharply criticized the outsized role of fossil fuel lobbyists at COP28, especially at a time when the stakes are high for the energy transition.  

Continue Reading COP28 Day 6 Recap: Draft Agreement Lays Out Options Concerning Potential “Phase Out” of Fossil Fuels

Laws and regulations that require companies, both private and public, to disclose their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to expand in the European Union and in the United States.  Under the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), beginning in 2025, EU-based public companies and large EU-based private companies will be required to report all material Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions as set forth in the European Sustainability Reporting Standards.  In the United States, California recently passed landmark climate-related disclosure legislation that will require U.S. companies that do business in California and have greater than $1 billion in annual revenues to file annual reports publicly disclosing their Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions beginning in 2026 and Scope 3 GHG emissions in 2027.  This legislation is expected to be joined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) proposed climate-related disclosure rule.  Initially proposed in March 2022, if finalized, the SEC rule would require public companies to disclose their Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions and material Scope 3 emissions.  And later this year, world policymakers, activists, and business leaders will convene at COP28 to discuss global progress towards achieving the net-zero GHG emissions targets set by the Paris Agreement.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) sits at the center of all these efforts.  Established by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Counsel for Sustainable Development in 2001, the GHG Protocol establishes comprehensive standards for private and public entities to calculate and report their GHG emissions and track progress towards their emissions targets.

Continue Reading Calculating and Reporting Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A Primer on the GHG Protocol

On September 13, 2023, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 1305 (AB 1305), which imposes wide-ranging disclosure requirements on (1) entities that market or sell voluntary carbon offsets and (2) entities that purchase and rely on these offsets to advertise their climate goals.  The bill has been enrolled and is currently on Governor Newsom’s desk.

AB 1305 comes on the heels of escalating criticism of voluntary carbon offsets, including arguments that corporations use low-quality offsets to engage in greenwashing.  AB 1305 is likely to prompt companies to engage in careful due diligence before making climate-related claims and to ensure that they rely on high-quality offsets that correspond to real emission reductions or removals.Continue Reading Law Enacted by California Legislature Would Require Companies to Disclose Key Details About Voluntary Carbon Offsets and Claims Made in Reliance Upon Them