As the Trump Administration is pushing forward on its deregulatory agenda and, in particular, its efforts to improve the Endangered Species Act and its implementation by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, the Supreme Court is poised to hear a landmark case on designation of critical habitat under the ESA that could provide some guideposts for the services’ new regulations.

See the full report on The Nickel Report.

As reported in The Nickel Report, on Thursday, the Senate confirmed Susan Parker Bodine as the Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (“OECA”). OECA, the chief enforcement arm of EPA, coordinates the agency’s enforcement of numerous federal environmental laws within its authority.

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The Department of Commence published a request for comments related to implementation of the January 24, 2017 Executive Memorandum regarding “Construction of American Pipelines.”  The short Memorandum directs the Secretary of Commerce to “develop a plan under which all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines, inside the borders of the United States, including portions of pipelines, use materials and equipment produced in the United States, to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law.”  The Commerce Department is directed to submit its Plan to the President within 180 days, or by July 23, 2017.  The Memorandum also notes that “produced in the United States” excludes manufacture of any components or any assembly done abroad, but provides no further clarification on applicability.

Continue Reading Commerce Department Attempts to Clarify Executive Directive to Use U.S. Pipe

President Trump signed another Executive Order (EO) on January 30, 2017, entitled Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.  The new EO, applicable to the entire Executive Branch, including all federal administrative agencies, makes a straightforward directive: “…for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination.”  The Order goes on to state that the costs associated with any new regulations may not exceed the savings realized by repealing at least two prior regulations (“the total incremental cost of all new regulations…shall be no greater than zero.”).

Continue Reading New Executive Order Requires Agencies to Withdraw 2 Regulations for Every 1 Proposed

In his first days as President, Donald Trump has issued several directives to expedite pipeline and energy infrastructure projects and bring pipe steel manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.   Through an executive order, the President directed federal agencies to expedite environmental reviews and approvals for all infrastructure projects, with emphasis on “high priority” projects such as pipelines.  In addition, the President issued two executive memoranda to renew and expedite the approval of two oil pipeline construction projects, the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).  In another executive memo, Trump directed the Commerce Department to prepare a plan under which all new and repaired pipe used in the U.S. would be manufactured stateside.  In issuing these presidential directives, the new administration has furthered prior commitments to support pipeline infrastructure and domestic jobs, but whether these directives can truly expedite the necessary remaining approvals for Keystone XL and DAPL remains uncertain in light of limited consequence of these executive directives (beyond the executive branch) and the inevitable legal challenges.

Continue Reading Pipelines and Infrastructure Projects are Front and Center in Administration’s First Days