What You Missed in Environmental Policy News: Week Ending Feb. 19


Supreme Court pillar

The biggest news this past week was the passing of conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. It put the environmental world into a tizzy, and we reported about how it could ultimately boost the odds of the Clean Power Plan surviving in the courts. This latest development comes right after Supreme Court issued a stay on the rule last week.

Bloomberg BNA legal editor Rebecca Wilhelm also did a retrospective review of the dozens of majority opinions and dissents Scalia issued on environmental law during his 30 years on the Supreme Court.

In other environmental policy news we covered this week:

The EPA admitted in a report that it knew about the risks that eventually led to blowout at the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colo., where more than 3 million gallons of wastewater and sediment were released in August. An e-mail included in the report revealed that an on-site Environmental Protection Agency official knew there was pressure building up at the mine entrance. (Story for subscribers by Bloomberg BNA reporter Tripp Baltz).

This was a particularly hard week for the EPA. An EPA Office of Inspector General report revealed numerous incidences of employee misconduct. The report highlighted a variety of misdeeds, ranging from conflicts of interests to inappropriate romantic relationships with subordinates. (Story for subscribers by Bloomberg BNA reporter Anthony Adragna).

Meanwhile, panelists at a National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners meeting in Washington this week opined over how a Supreme Court case coming up next week could affect states’ energy generation planning. Experts said the case could have large implications for how states conduct their energy procurement decisions. (Story for subscribers by Bloomberg BNA reporter Rebecca Kern).

There’s no rest for the Clean Power Plan’s opponents as they encouraged states in a letter to “put their pencils down” after the Supreme Court issued a stay on the rule. The letter was sent by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to the National Association of Clean Air Agencies and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. (Story for subscribers by Bloomberg BNA reporter Andrew Childers).