Jun 13, 2018

Wind and Gas Surpassed by Solar as Biggest Source of New U.S. Power

Solar Power: Technicians work on solar panels

In the first quarter of 2018, developers have installed 2.5 Gw of solar power – up 13% from the previous year. According to a report from the Solar Energy Industry Association and GTM Research, the 2.5 Gw increase accounted for 55% of all new power generation with solar panels beating new wind and natural gas turbines for a second straight quarter. The growth in the solar sector came despite tariffs on imported panels which were anticipated to increase costs for developers. According to GTM, total anticipated installations this year are expected to be upwards of 10.8 Gw. For more information,… Read more


May 15, 2018

EPA Announces New Carbon Neutral Policy for Forest Biomass Energy

Carbon Neutral Policy and Forest Biomass

On February 23, 2018, Scott Pruitt announced a new EPA policy which will treat forest biomass burned at power plants as carbon neutral in all future regulations.  According to Pruitt, the policy will provide “much-needed certainty and clarity” on the carbon neutrality of forest biomass – a clarification that the forest and paper industries have long sought.  Biomass involves obtaining energy by burning wood and other organic matter which is classified as renewable energy in the European Union and United Nations because plant stocks can be replaced with new growth.  In the U.S., regulatory uncertainty regarding how the EPA would treat… Read more


May 2, 2018

Guilt-Free Sara Lee: Renewable Energy Plans

Renewable Energy - Wind Energy

Grupo Bimbo SAB (“GB”), the maker of Sara Lee Cakes and Thomas’ English Muffins, has announced plans to buy wind credits to erase its carbon footprint created by its baking operations. GB announced plans to convert to renewable energy for all its U.S. operations by 2020 and has just locked in credits for 100 megawatts of wind power from Invenergy LLC, a Chicago-based, renewable energy company. GB will begin offsetting its energy use with generation from Invenergy’s Santa Rita East wind farm in Iron County, Texas, in the third quarter of 2019. In a statement released by GB’s Chief Executive… Read more


Apr 24, 2018

City of Atlanta Taps SGR Client Cherry Street to Launch Clean Energy Program

Clean Energy: Solar Panels in City

Atlanta-based Cherry Street Energy, LLC, a Client of SGR, in partnership with the City of Atlanta, launched the Solar Atlanta Program on Monday, April 23 – an initiative to provide cost-effective, local solar power on 24 municipal buildings. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Mayor’s Office of Resilience, and City Councilmember Andrea Boone commemorated the program’s kickoff with a community demonstration at the C.T. Martin Recreation Center, one of the buildings set to receive a rooftop solar array in the coming month. Cherry Street Energy is the first and largest non-utility of its kind in Georgia. The company signed a… Read more


Apr 11, 2018

Update on EPA Formaldehyde Emissions in Composite Wood Products

Formaldehyde Emissions in Composite Wood Products

When the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California invalidated the Trump Administration’s attempted one-year delay of the EPA rule limiting formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products on February 16 (see this newsletter published March 14, 2018, found here), it stayed the effect of its Order until March 9 to allow the parties to attempt to reach a settlement on the effective date of the emissions limits. The parties did reach agreement on March 9, and an Order was entered on March 13, establishing that the formaldehyde emissions limits in EPA’s rule become effective on June 1, 2018…. Read more


Mar 13, 2018

Federal Court Rejects EPA Rule Delaying Formaldehyde Standards in Composite Wood Products

Formaldehyde Standards in Composite Wood Products

In the wake of illnesses reported by refugees from Hurricane Katrina who were housed temporarily in manufactured housing, Congress in 2010, in the Formaldehyde Standards in Composite Wood Products Act, required EPA to issue rules limiting formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products.  The Obama EPA took 6 years to issue the final rule, which required compliance with the new emissions limits by December 2017.  In September 2017, the Trump EPA issued a rule delaying compliance with the emissions limits until December 2018.  The delay rule was challenged by the Sierra Club and the New Orleans-based group A Community Voice.  Judge… Read more


Feb 12, 2018

Solar Tariffs Set to Slow Expansion of Solar in U.S.

Solar Panels - Solar Tariffs - Solar Energy

President Donald Trump’s tariffs on solar panel imports to the U.S. are expected to add roughly 10% to the cost of a utility-scale solar farm in the U.S. and 3% to rooftop units bought for homes according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.  The tariffs are projected to cut U.S. installations by 11% over the next five years, but the decision is unlikely to reshape the economics of the photovoltaic business on the global stage or threaten China’s leadership of the industry.  While Bell Labs in the U.S. invented the modern photovoltaic cell in the 1950s, the industry flourished elsewhere while… Read more


Feb 6, 2018

EPA Must Consider Banning Drinking Water Flouridation

Drinking Water

A federal judge in California has ruled that EPA wrongly dismissed a petition to ban fluoridation of drinking water under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  Food & Water Watch, Inc. v. EPA, N.D. California, 12/21/2017.  The Petitioners sought a determination by EPA to ban the use of fluoride in drinking water.  EPA dismissed the petition because it sought only to ban a single use of a chemical, finding that Section 21 of TSCA requires that a Section 21 petition seek to ban all uses of a chemical, rather than a single use.  The Court disagreed, holding that the new… Read more


Jan 23, 2018

Supreme Court Rules Challenges to WOTUS Rule Must be Brought in District Court

Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule

In a unanimous decision issued on January 22, 2018, the Supreme Court held that challenges to the WOTUS Rule must be reviewed first in federal district court, reversing the Sixth Circuit’s ruling with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court’s decision results in a lift of the national stay of the WOTUS Rule ordered by the Sixth Circuit, which could make the Rule’s provisions enforceable, at least until another court issues a national stay of the Rule. In 2015, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers proffered a definition of the term “waters of the United States”… Read more


Jan 18, 2018

9th Circuit: EPA Must Update Its Lead Dust Standards

Lead Dust Clean Up

In another blow to the Administration’s deregulatory agenda, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on December 27 that EPA has a non-discretionary duty to propose updates to its 2001 lead dust hazard standard.  The Court gave EPA 90 days to issue the proposal, and a year to finalize it.  Community Voice, et al v. EPA (9th Circuit, Dec. 27, 2017).  The Court’s 2-1 decision rejected the Administration’s argument that its only duty under the law was to issue the original standards in 2001, and that the decision whether to update the standards was within the agency’s discretion.  Instead,… Read more