Issuance of the Fourth National Climate Assessment On November 23, 2018, the Federal Administration released a major scientific report on the climate impacts to the United States.  The report, the Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume 2, Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States,[1] predicts that if significant steps are not taken, the damage caused by climate change will significantly impact the American economy by century’s end. It lays out a detailed picture of how communities across the country are already feeling the effects of climate change. Volume 1 of the NCA4, known as the Climate Science Special Report (“CSSR”)[2], was published in November 2017.  It summarized the state-of-the-art knowledge about how climate is affecting... READ MORE
On November 15, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a series of orders aimed at ensuring that ratepayers receive the benefit of the tax rate reductions from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  Specifically, FERC issued: a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) that would require all public utility transmission providers to revise transmission rates to address the effects of the tax cuts on accumulated deferred income taxes (“ADIT”); and a Policy Statement that provides accounting guidance related to ADIT. FERC also acted on 46 show-cause investigations it initiated in March under Section 206 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”), in which it required certain public utilities to revise their transmission rates to... READ MORE
Voters came out in record numbers for the midterm and elected a divided government; Democrats won the majority of seats in the House of Representatives, and Republicans won a larger majority than they previously held in the US Senate. HOUSE:  As of 4:02 pm today, Democrats have won 222 seats, Republicans have won 196 seats, and 17 races are undecided for the 116th Congress.  Democrats have flipped 29 seats, while Republicans have flipped two seats.  This is a change from the current majority for the 115th Congress which is 235 Republicans to 193 Democrats. READ MORE
Gwen Keyes Fleming will serve as moderator at ELI's workshop for policy development. READ MORE
Dan Press will be a featured speaker at the annual National TERO Convention in Cherokee, North Carolina. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman, Beveridge & Diamond, and NAWL's Environmental & Energy Practice Area Affinity Group cordially invite you to a breakfast program: Environmental Review and Permitting Reform for Infrastructure Projects.   The program is being coordinated by a group including Andrea Hudson Campbell, partner in our environment practice, and panelists will include  Gwen Keyes Fleming, partner in our environmental practice. READ MORE
VNF worked with the Seattle City Attorney’s office to defend the City of Seattle in an appeal of its environmental review for Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability Proposal.  Under the proposal, the City would upzone 27 neighborhoods, allowing increased development opportunities, while simultaneously imposing a requirement on developers with projects in those areas to provide or pay for affordable housing units—which will result in thousands of affordable homes over the next decade. READ MORE
Partner T.C. Richmond has joined the Board of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, a nonprofit organization that leverages the voices of a large and diverse group of allied interests working together to obtain public funding for new local and state parks, wildlife habitat, and preservation of working farm and forest lands.  In 1989, the Coalition spearheaded the Legislature’s creation of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP), the State’s premier conservation and recreation grant program which, to date, has administered over $1.3 billion in state, local, and private dollars for over 1,200 projects.  The Coalition also leads education and advocacy efforts on behalf of the national Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman ranked "Best Law Firm in the US" in fourteen areas of practice, with six areas receiving National Tier 1 honors, by US News & World Report. READ MORE
United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) On November 30, 2018, President Trump, President Peña Nieto, and Prime Minister Trudeau signed an updated NAFTA agreement after more than a year and a half of negotiations.  Rebranded the United States Mexico Canada Free Trade Agreement or USMCA, Mexico’s endorsement comes a day before President-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, assumes office, clearing a critical political hurdle for the ratification of the new agreement. Obrador, the head of the left-leaning National Regeneration Movement and a critic of Peña Nieto’s energy reforms, took an active role in USMCA’s negotiations but only agreed to support the deal so long as it is signed before his Presidency. Energy Specific Provisions The... READ MORE
FERC Moves to Implement America’s Water Infrastructure Act On November 13, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice Establishing Schedule Pursuant to America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA).  The AWIA was enacted on October 23, 2018.  As reported in our November 2018 newsletter, the AWIA includes measures to promote new hydropower development at existing nonpowered dams and development of closed-loop pumped storage projects.  The law directs FERC to establish within 180 days an expedited licensing process for projects at existing, nonpowered dams which: (1) have not previously been authorized for hydropower; (2) use for generation the withdrawals, diversions, releases, or flows from an existing impoundment... READ MORE
Legislative Update On October 23, 2018, President Trump signed into law the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA), Public Law No. 115-270, a comprehensive water resources bill that includes provisions specifically targeted to promote new hydropower development.  The AWIA includes a package of hydropower bills that were previously approved by the U.S. House or Senate but were never enacted into law.  The AWIA is composed of five major categories of hydropower reform: (1) extending preliminary permit terms and start of construction deadlines for new construction projects; (2) promoting new, small conduit hydropower facilities; (3) promoting hydropower development at existing nonpowered dams; (4) promoting development of closed-loop... READ MORE