Four federal agencies—the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development—have released a Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization, an ambitious plan that outlines the principles the federal government will continue to use to pursue its stated goal of economy-wide net zero emissions by 2050. This “whole of government” mobilization will profoundly affect many investment decisions, collaborations, regulatory actions and policy disputes with material impacts across many business sectors.
John Mizerak is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office. He focuses on environmental matters as well as civil and administrative litigation, and has advised on issues under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, CERCLA, and other environmental and energy regimes.
Congress, the media, and the public have given significant attention to remarks this week by a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) indicating that the agency would be considering a federal ban on gas stoves due to their health effects. The suggestion of a ban on gas stoves has drawn comments from bipartisan policymakers in both chambers, and even the White House has weighed in against the prospect of a potential ban.
The CPSC is unlikely to ban gas stoves in the near future, although it has the authority to ban unreasonably dangerous products that cannot be made safe, and has done so with toxic substances in children’s products and other product categories in the past. A CPSC rulemaking on mandatory safety standards for gas stoves, however, is a possibility, and that process may drive the establishment of voluntary industry standards by a standards-setting body. Additionally, other federal and state regulators have recently sharpened their focus on indoor air quality and gas-powered appliances, for both health and environmental reasons. The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), for instance, is undertaking several activities related to indoor air quality. And the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) recently adopted a plan that would effectively prohibit the sale of gas-powered space and water heaters in California by 2030.
Particularly with regard to federal regulatory activity on gas stoves and other gas-powered appliances, potentially affected parties will have ample opportunities to help shape the outcome of any mandatory or voluntary product standards put in place or accepted by the CPSC, and to engage with other regulators. This alert provides an overview of recent and emerging legislative and regulatory activity related to indoor air pollution, focusing particularly on activity by the CPSC and EPA. Companies—both those with interests in gas stoves and those concerned with indoor air quality issues more broadly—should carefully follow indoor air quality developments, including in their interactions with regulators, given the increased focus on this area.…
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued three requests for information regarding recycling issues, a first step towards distributing funds and carrying out mandates contained in the last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The programs for which EPA is requesting information are primarily directed toward improving recycling of…
The Fifth Circuit recently allowed the federal government to resume use of the “social cost of carbon” (SCC), after a district court enjoined reliance on the metric earlier this year. The SCC aids cost-benefit analysis of regulatory actions and can provide insights into the impacts of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The continued…
Last year, Covington predicted an increased focus on environmental enforcement under the Biden Administration. Recent statements by key environmental leadership have confirmed this, further sharpened Administration priorities, and track renewed focus by DOJ more broadly on combating corporate malfeasance. In the coming year, regulated entities should prepare for increased criminal enforcement, including consideration of conduct within their supply chains. They should also expect increased scrutiny of their environmental compliance programs, including the potential for corporate monitorship if DOJ deems a company’s compliance program to be inadequate.
Continue Reading Environmental Enforcement in 2022: Renewed Focus on Criminal Conduct, Compliance
The D.C. Circuit issued a decision in Vecinos para el Bienestar de la Comunidad Costera v. FERC, which faulted FERC for failing to consider whether the social cost of carbon (SCC) is a “generally accepted” analytical tool for assessing the significance of greenhouse gas impacts under NEPA. The decision is likely to result in…
This is the twenty-fifth in our series on the “ABCs of the AJP.”
The American Jobs Plan aims to electrify 20% of the country’s iconic yellow school bus fleet through a new “Clean Buses for Kids” program, alongside a broader effort to replace 50,000 diesel transit vehicles. The move will have important health benefits and assist in the electrification of the heavy duty transportation and freight sectors, which face additional challenges as they seek to decarbonize.
Continue Reading Yellow School Buses and Diesel Electrification
This is the twenty-second in our series on “the ABCs of the AJP”
The single largest expenditure in President Biden’s original proposal for his American Jobs Plan is a $174 billion investment to promote electric vehicles (EVs). This considerable sum reflects the fact that increasing the number of EVs on the road in the United States would advance a number of key administration priorities, as described below.
Continue Reading Vying for America’s Future through Electric Vehicles
This is the eleventh in our series on the “ABCs of the AJP.”
America’s kids are the beneficiaries of many of the provisions of President Biden’s Jobs Plan, and several of the proposals would benefit them and their caretakers specifically. Children have become a focus point of discussions about climate change, because absent intervention they are poised to inherit a world that suffers from its negative effects without having contributed meaningfully to the emissions that bring it about. This has been a central narrative of the long-running Juliana litigation, for example. The Biden Administration has also recognized the intergenerational inequity of climate change in other policy initiatives, for example in its ongoing efforts to revise the social cost of greenhouse gases.
Continue Reading Kids and a Sustainable Future
This blog is the second in a series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”
The American Jobs Plan recognizes that a net-zero economy will require significant innovation in and deployment of energy storage technology. For example, the President’s efforts to decarbonize the power sector by 2035 will include increased reliance of renewable energy sources, which will benefit greatly from utility-scale battery systems. The push to electrify the transportation sector also depends on cost-competitive batteries powering vehicles. Here, we present three ways in which AJP seeks to advance battery technology and adoption.
Continue Reading Building Back Better with Batteries