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Full-Text Articles in Law

Reconsidering Regulatory Uncertainty: Making A Case For Energy Storage, Amy L. Stein Dec 2014

Reconsidering Regulatory Uncertainty: Making A Case For Energy Storage, Amy L. Stein

Amy L. Stein

This Article begins the complex dialogue that must take place to address the emerging technologies providing energy storage for our electricity grid. Energy storage has the capacity to be a game-changer for many facets of our grid, providing better integration of renewable energy, enhanced reliability, and reduced use of carbon-intensive fuels. Energy storage faces a number of obstacles, however, including technological, financial, and regulatory uncertainty. This Article focuses on the regulatory uncertainty, and defends the proposition that not all regulatory uncertainty is created equal. It argues for differential treatment of this uncertainty, depending on its context, scope, and source, and …


The Tipping Point Of Federalism, Amy L. Stein Dec 2014

The Tipping Point Of Federalism, Amy L. Stein

Amy L. Stein

As the Supreme Court has noted, “it is difficult to conceive of a more basic element of interstate commerce than electric energy, a product that is used in virtually every home and every commercial or manufacturing facility. No state relies solely on its own resources in this respect.” And yet, the resources used to generate this electricity (e.g., coal, natural gas, or renewables) are determined largely by state and local authorities through their exclusive authority to determine whether to approve construction of a new electricity generation facility. As the nation finds itself faced with important decisions that directly implicate the …


Renewable Energy Through Agency Action, Amy L. Stein Dec 2014

Renewable Energy Through Agency Action, Amy L. Stein

Amy L. Stein

Despite the many societal benefits associated with renewable energy, it is used to generate only about 5 percent of our nation's electricity needs. The bulk of governmental efforts to rectify this situation have disproportionately impacted private actors. This Article argues that the federal government should expand its efforts to more fully capture the gains that can be achieved by targeting both private and public actors, particularly federal agencies. Federal agencies have enormous purchasing power that can be channeled toward using electricity and fuels derived from renewable energy. Federal agencies are some of the largest consumers of electricity. Federal agencies manage …


Beyond Yucca Mountain: Split Liability Drives Action For Interim Nuclear Waste Storage, Amy L. Stein Dec 2014

Beyond Yucca Mountain: Split Liability Drives Action For Interim Nuclear Waste Storage, Amy L. Stein

Amy L. Stein

After fifteen years and six billion dollars, the United States still lacks a viable long-term solution to the mounting levels of high-level nuclear waste scattered across the nation in 68 sites. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (“NWPA”) and its 1987 Amendments have driven regulators to approve Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for burial of the 37,000 metric tons of nuclear waste in need of a final resting place. In the NWPA, Congress set January 31, 1998 as the deadline by which the Department of Energy (“DOE”) was to dispose of the utilities' nuclear waste. However, litigation challenges, scientific uncertainty, and …


Federalism And The Rise Of Renewable Energy: Preserving State And Local Voices In The Green Energy Revolution, Daniel Lyons Nov 2014

Federalism And The Rise Of Renewable Energy: Preserving State And Local Voices In The Green Energy Revolution, Daniel Lyons

Daniel Lyons

The rise of renewable energy has disrupted the traditional regulatory structure governing electricity. Unlike traditional fossil fuel power plants, wind and solar facilities are geographically constrained: they exist where the wind blows and the sun shines. Large-scale renewable energy is more likely to flow interstate, from resource-rich prairie and Southwestern states to energy-hungry population centers elsewhere. The difficulties of coordinating interstate electricity policies have led some to call for greater preemption of the states’ traditional duties as chief regulators of the electricity industry. But while preemption would eliminate some state-level roadblocks to interstate cooperation, it would sacrifice many of the …


Applying Administrative Law Principles To Hydraulic Fracturing, Joel M. Pratt Nov 2014

Applying Administrative Law Principles To Hydraulic Fracturing, Joel M. Pratt

Joel M Pratt

Because fracking regulators and industry need both legal clarity and the ability to react to new information, courts should apply principles of administrative deference to resolve conflicts between state and local fracking regulations.Under these principles, courts weigh expert agency decision making more heavily when the agency has acted reasonably. When faced with a conflict between state and local fracking laws, courts should adopt administrative principles and privilege expert agency regulations rather than engage in an independent judicial inquiry. Part I provides background on fracking and argues that states are in the best position to regulate the practice. Part II then …


Sustaining An Unsustainable Fuel Source: How Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Limitations Can Improve The Sustainability Of The Tar Oil Industry, Brittany Debord Sep 2014

Sustaining An Unsustainable Fuel Source: How Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Limitations Can Improve The Sustainability Of The Tar Oil Industry, Brittany Debord

Brittany DeBord

The United States seeks to achieve energy security and self-sufficiency by acquiring energy from Canadian tar sands and promoting a domestic tar sands industry. However, support for this industry is inconsistent with the greenhouse gas reduction policies of the Energy Independence and Security Act and the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, since tar oil extraction creates three times more carbon emissions than conventional oil extraction. Legislation limiting lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions has already been implemented through the Renewable Fuel Standard Program in response to concerns that plant-based fuel production leads to greater carbon emissions than intended. Since the lifecycle …


"Solar Reits": A New Tax Paradigm For Renewable Energy Financing, Richard A. Grisel Apr 2014

"Solar Reits": A New Tax Paradigm For Renewable Energy Financing, Richard A. Grisel

Richard A Grisel

The demand for renewable energy has never been higher. Regrettably, however, current financing methods and administrative programs have been inadequate to produce the necessary and sufficient market conditions to meet this demand.

One key to accessing lower cost capital—which in turn will help fill ever-increasing demand for renewable energy—is to move away from reliance on tax credits and tax equity financing models and attract a broader investor pool. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) have historically been a proven, effective capital-raising vehicle for various capital-intensive projects, such as buildings, transmission lines, and communication towers. Essentially, REITs are financial vehicles that allow …


Drones, Henry H. Perritt Jr., Eliot O. Sprague Apr 2014

Drones, Henry H. Perritt Jr., Eliot O. Sprague

Henry H. Perritt, Jr.

Abstract
Drone technology is evolving rapidly. Microdrones—what the FAA calls “sUAS”—already on the market at the $1,000 level, have the capability to supplement manned helicopters in support of public safety operations, news reporting, and powerline and pipeline patrol, when manned helicopter support is infeasible, untimely, or unsafe.
Larger drones–"machodrones”–are not yet available outside battlefield and counterterrorism spaces. Approximating the size of manned helicopters, but without pilots, or with human pilots being optional, their design is still in its infancy as designers await greater clarity in the regulatory requirements that will drive airworthiness certification.
This article evaluates drone technology and design …


Regulation Of Greenhouse Gases And Other Air Pollutants In The First Obama Administration And Major Air Issues For The Second Term, Patricia Mccubbin Feb 2014

Regulation Of Greenhouse Gases And Other Air Pollutants In The First Obama Administration And Major Air Issues For The Second Term, Patricia Mccubbin

Patricia Ross McCubbin

President Barack Obama has made addressing climate change the centerpiece of his environmental policy. Most recently, on June 25, 2013, the President gave a groundbreaking speech detailing the steps his administration will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the United States. Of great controversy, the President directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit emissions of greenhouse gases from both new and existing power plants, which represent 40% of total U.S. carbon emissions. The President’s call to action – in his June 2013 speech and throughout his first term – stands in stark contrast to Congress’s inability to …


The Next Great Compromise: A Comprehensive Response To Opposition Against Shale Gas Development Using Hydraulic Fracturing In The United States, Monika Ehrman Dec 2013

The Next Great Compromise: A Comprehensive Response To Opposition Against Shale Gas Development Using Hydraulic Fracturing In The United States, Monika Ehrman

Monika U. Ehrman

By 2015, the United States is poised to overtake the world’s current top producer of natural gas, Russia, due to the abundance of American shale gas, located in plays such as the now-familiar Marcellus Shale, which encompasses parts of New York, Pennsylvania, and certain Appalachian states and the Barnett Shale, located in North Texas. The recent rise in shale gas development is due mostly to the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (also referred to as fracing, fracking, and hydrofracking) technologies. The combination of these separate, but established, technologies allows for economic shale gas production. This Article describes these …


Lights Out In The Bakken: An Analysis Of Flaring Regulation And Its Potential Effect On North Dakota Shale Oil Production Dec 2013

Lights Out In The Bakken: An Analysis Of Flaring Regulation And Its Potential Effect On North Dakota Shale Oil Production

Monika U. Ehrman

The prolific escalation of activity in the Bakken is due to the relatively recent technological combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, coupled with high commodity prices. This requisite combination of technology and price permits economic hydrocarbon production of shale reservoirs. The resulting ramp up in shale production has propelled the United States to the top position as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. But with this increase in production is a corresponding increase in environmental concerns. Foremost among these concerns is the rise in greenhouse gas (“GHG”) and volatile organic compound (“VOC”) emissions. The majority of …


Legal Analysis Of The Eu Policy For Sustainable Transport Biofuels, Evgenia Pavlovskaia Dec 2013

Legal Analysis Of The Eu Policy For Sustainable Transport Biofuels, Evgenia Pavlovskaia

Evgenia Pavlovskaia

Warnings about limited oil resources, as well as the necessity to reduce GHG emissions and secure energy supply1 have become prioritized issues on the EU agenda. It has been suggested to partially replace traditional fossil fuels with other sources of renewable energy, for example with biofuels in the transport sector. This has been seen as a promising solution for complications connected with the extraction and supply of oil, as well as for the reduction of GHG emissions. It has also become understandable that the quality of biofuels and their production methods need to be sustainable. The material, from which biofuels …


Carbon Capture And The Information Quality Act, Brendan Burke Dec 2013

Carbon Capture And The Information Quality Act, Brendan Burke

Brendan Burke

In January 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed new source performance standard (NSPS) under the Clean Air Act for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new or modified electric utility plants that will effectively require implementation of a process known as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). The new rule would limit CO2, a previously unregulated greenhouse gas emission, from such generation facilities to a rate of 1,100 pounds per megawatt-hour. Energy producers, especially those employing coal-fired plants, are strongly opposed to these limits. In February 2014, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness sent a letter to the EPA …


Behavioral Approaches To Environmental Policy Analysis: A Case Study Of Offshore Wind Energy In The North American Great Lakes, Erik Edward Nordman Dec 2013

Behavioral Approaches To Environmental Policy Analysis: A Case Study Of Offshore Wind Energy In The North American Great Lakes, Erik Edward Nordman

Erik Edward Nordman

Behavioral economics, including prospect theory, offers new approaches to environmental policy analysis. The utility of behavioral approaches to environmental policy analysis is illustrated using a case study of offshore wind energy policy in Michigan, USA. Michigan has attempted to clarify the permitting process for offshore wind energy but those efforts have failed. Prospect theory suggests that Michigan legislators are, for the most part, risk averse to policy reforms as the state emerges from its “one-state recession” and into a gains domain. Legislators from some coastal districts perceive offshore wind development as a threat to coastal quality of life, are risk-seeking …


Risk Tradeoff Analysis, Public Opinion And Nuclear Safety: A Spanish Case Study, Xiao Recio-Blanco Dec 2013

Risk Tradeoff Analysis, Public Opinion And Nuclear Safety: A Spanish Case Study, Xiao Recio-Blanco

Xiao Recio-Blanco

The 2011 nuclear accident at Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant opened a heated worldwide debate over nuclear energy. Unfortunately, neither the previous nor current Spanish governments have publicized the evidence used to evaluate the merits of extending the lifespan of Spain’s own Garoña plant. This article uses the Garoña case for a twofold purpose. First, the article analyzes the accountability of Spain’s executive power decisions on potentially catastrophic industrial activities. The paper finds that the lack of appropriate information disclosure duties in Spain may allow the government to abuse its discretion on actions potentially damaging to human health and the environment. …


Public Lands And The Federal Government’S Compact-Based “Duty To Dispose”: A Case Study Of Utah’S H.B. 148 – The Transfer Of Public Lands Act, Donald J. Kochan Dec 2013

Public Lands And The Federal Government’S Compact-Based “Duty To Dispose”: A Case Study Of Utah’S H.B. 148 – The Transfer Of Public Lands Act, Donald J. Kochan

Donald J. Kochan

Recent legislation passed in March 2012 in the State of Utah — the “Transfer of Public Lands Act and Related Study,” (“TPLA”) also commonly referred to as House Bill 148 (“H.B. 148”) — has demanded that the federal government, by December 31, 2014, “extinguish title” to certain public lands that the federal government currently holds (totaling an estimated more than 20 million acres). It also calls for the transfer of such acreage to the State and establishes procedures for the development of a management regime for this increased state portfolio of land holdings resulting from the transfer. The State of …