Monthly Archives: September 2020

The New Midas Touch — Everything He Touches Turns To Dung

Everyone noticed when President Trump issued an order earlier this month banning offshore oil and gas drilling in certain areas until 2032.  It was obvious to everyone that this was a campaign stunt, intended to improve his changes in Florida and North Carolina.  Of course, pretty much no one wants drilling in these areas and the order wouldn’t have been necessary but for Trump’s prior declaration that he was going to open up those areas to drilling.… More

Dog Bites Man, Pebble Mine Edition

As Bloomberg (subscription required) reported this week, executives of Pebble Partnership, which is developing the Pebble Mine project in Bristol Bay, Alaska, were caught on tape bragging about their political influence.  The recordings were made by the Environmental Investigation Agency, which somehow convinced the Pebble executives that the EIA “investigators” were actually investors considering putting money into the project.

For those of you who are shocked,… More

Regulating Guidance As Though It Were Regulation

I’ve been complaining about guidance for most of the 33 years I’ve been in practice.  The summary of the issue provided in Appalachian Power v. EPA in 2000 still has not been bettered:

Congress passes a broadly worded statute.  The agency follows with regulations containing broad language, open-ended phrases, ambiguous standards and the like.  Then as years pass, the agency issues circulars or guidance or memoranda,… More

The New NEPA Regulations Were a “Political Act.” Is That Enough to Invalidate Them?

Last week, Judge James Jones declined to issue a preliminary injunction that would have prevented implementation of the Trump Administration’s NEPA revisions.  Judge Jones’s explanation was fairly sparse.  He merely noted that the plaintiffs had not made the required “clear showing” that they are likely to succeed on the merits, though he did indicate that testimony, including expert opinion, is likely to be necessary.

I can’t say I’m shocked,… More