Allison Smith

Allison Smith

Allison Smith focuses her practice on the permitting and siting of geothermal, solar, wind, biomass and gas-fired energy facilities in California. Allison counsels public and private entities on compliance with The California Environmental Quality Act, the California Coastal Act, local land use regulations, and state and federal air pollution control laws. She also advises  electricity producers and importers on compliance with the California cap and trade program and mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting.

Subscribe to all posts by Allison Smith

Three Air Quality Regulatory Actions Ripe for Litigation in 2017

Which air quality regulatory actions are most likely to see noteworthy litigation activity in 2017? My colleagues Krista McIntyre and Rachel Cox are guest-blogging today with commentary on key areas we’re watching: the Clean Power Plan, Boiler MACT and Methane Rule. All eyes are on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for a decision on the enforceability of the … Continue Reading

New Law Takes Aim at GHG Associated with California’s Water Sector

The recent wave of climate change legislation in California also included a new and not particularly well-known law aimed at curbing greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions associated with water use. SB 1425 will create a voluntary registry to track the water sector’s energy use and GHG emissions. According to Senator Pavley, the author of SB 1425, … Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about the Proposed Revisions to Cap and Trade

Late Tuesday, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released draft amendments to the state’s cap and trade regulation, including revisions to the current program in place through 2020, an extension of the program through 2030, and setting the stage for continued emissions reductions under the program through 2050.  ARB’s proposed amendments come in the middle … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standard

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Michigan v. EPA, a Clean Air Act case involving hazardous air pollutant regulations, with implications for fossil fuel-fired power plant owners and operators in California and across the country.  Below you’ll find guest blogger Tom Wood‘s insight into the case and the arguments: On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Dispute over California Low Carbon Fuel Standard

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied petition for review in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey. In Rocky Mountain Farmers, the Ninth Circuit addressed the constitutionality of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), focusing specifically on whether the LCFS discriminates against out-of-state businesses and thus violates the dormant Commerce Clause. Read our September 2013 blog … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Curtails EPA’s Power to Regulate Greenhouse Gases under Clean Air Act

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a surprising decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act (CAA).  The Supreme Court has held that EPA cannot regulate stationary sources under the CAA Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) … Continue Reading

EPA Unveils Sweeping New CO2 Rules

The world continues to shift for the energy sector in California. On Monday, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the highly anticipated proposed CO2 standards for existing power plants in the U.S.  The proposed rules would affect existing power plants undertaking changes, as well as those not contemplating any modifications.  What’s more, states can meet the proposed standards through implementation of … Continue Reading

Caltrans EIR Analysis of Impacts to Redwoods Found Inadequate

In Trisha Lee Lotus v. Caltrans (Jan. 30, 2014), the First District Court of Appeal reversed a Humboldt County Superior Court decision, and ruled that a California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) environmental impact report (EIR) failed to adequately analyze the significance of the project’s impacts to old-growth redwood root systems in a state park. Caltrans … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Outlines Budget Priorities for CalEPA and Natural Resources Agency

Governor Brown released a summary of his proposed 2014-2015 budget this week, including details on proposed environmental protection and natural resources spending.  The Governor’s budget provides $3.6 billion in funding for the California Environmental Protection Agency, including $3.1 billion in State funds and $54 million from the General Fund.  Proposed funding of CalEPA programs include:  $850 million … Continue Reading

Second District Court of Appeal finds Failure to Request a CEQA Hearing within 90 Days is Excusable Neglect

The Second District Court of Appeal has issued a decision in Comunidad en Accion v. Los Angeles City Council (case no. B240554 (Sept. 20, 2013), finding that the petitioner’s failure to timely request a hearing under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) was excusable neglect.  The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s ruling dismissing … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard is Constitutional on its Face

This week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey, ruling on the constitutionality of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).  The Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s holdings in large part, in particular finding that the LCFS does not on its face violate the dormant … Continue Reading

President Obama Releases Climate Action Plan

Today President Obama unveiled his Climate Action Plan, designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., prepare the U.S. for the effects of climate change, and lead international efforts to address global climate change.  For details of the Climate Action Plan and the President’s speech on the Plan at Georgetown University, see our blog post at Renewable + … Continue Reading

SCE Announces the Retirement of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

Putting uncertainty to rest for a variety of different stakeholders in California, Southern California Edison (SCE) announced today that the utility will permanently retire the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).  In addition to SCE’s press release, Governor Jerry Brown, California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey, and California Energy Commission Chairman Robert Weisenmiller have issued statements this morning about the … Continue Reading

New Lawsuit Challenges the California Supreme Court’s Original Jurisdiction over Power Plant Siting Cases

Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) and Center for Biological Diversity (Center) filed suit on May 29, 2013 to challenge the constitutionality of a provision of California law that requires appeal directly to the California Supreme Court of any decision on a thermal power plant license by the California Energy Commission.  The Supreme Court has discretion … Continue Reading

New Lawsuit Challenges California’s Cap and Trade Auctions

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is facing another legal challenge to its cap and trade program – Morning Star Packing Co. v. California Air Resources Board (Sacramento Superior Court case no. 34-2013-80001464, filed April 16, 2013).  A coalition of twelve companies, trade associations, and individuals filed the new lawsuit on Tuesday, challenging the legality … Continue Reading

South Coast Air Quality Management District Schedules Fifth Working Group Meeting on Proposed Rule 1304.1, Comment Period on Notice of Preparation of Environmental Assessment Open until May 8

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has scheduled its fifth working group meeting on the District’s proposed Rule 1304.1 for May 8, 2013.  The proposed Rule would impose substantial new fees for the replacement or repower of electrical generating facilities within the District, by charging developers who obtain air emissions offsets from the District’s … Continue Reading

South Coast Air Quality Management District Holds Third Rule 1304.1 Working Group Meeting

The South Coast Air Quality Management District held its third working group meeting yesterday for the District’s proposed Rule 1304.1.  The proposed Rule would impose substantial new fees on developers repowering electrical generating facilities within the District, which encompasses Orange County and parts of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.  Under the proposed Rule, … Continue Reading

California Air Resources Board Issues Results of Quarterly Cap and Trade Allowance Auction

On February 19, 2013, the California Air Resources Board held its second auction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission allowances for its Cap and Trade Program.  This was the first quarterly auction for 2013; the first auction was held November 14, 2012.  All ‘covered entities’ – GHG emitters regulated under Cap and Trade – were eligible … Continue Reading

California Air Resources Board Issues AB 32 Report

The California Air Resources Board has released its first semi-annual report to the California Legislature on the agency’s AB 32 programs, designed to meet the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.  The report details recent developments and anticipated milestones for three of CARB’s major AB 32 initiatives:  the cap … Continue Reading

California Issues 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan

The California Bioenergy Interagency Working Group has released its 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan, with the goal of facilitating the development of bioenergy in California on a variety of levels, including research and development support, streamlining and consolidating permitting, facilitating access to transmission, pipelines, and other distribution networks, and policies and laws to monetize the benefits … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Rejects EPA’s Transport (Cross-State Air Pollution) Rule

Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA that rejects the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to regulating upwind pollution from coal- and natural gas-fired power plants, among other sources. The so-called Transport Rule, also known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, had sought to … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Rules

Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, upholding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to the regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions against claims from a variety of interests.  The opinion addressed challenges to three EPA rulemakings:  (1) the agency’s “Endangerment Finding,” where it determined … Continue Reading

Injunction on California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Lifted Pending Appeal

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted an injunction that prevented the California Air Resources Board (CARB) from enforcement of the state’s low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), pending appeal of a lower court decision enjoining the LCFS.  In December 2011, a federal district court found the LCFS in violation of the dormant commerce clause, … Continue Reading

DRECP EIS/EIR Scoping Meeting at the Energy Commission

It’s a double header at the California Energy Commission (CEC) today.  The Renewable Energy Action Team – comprised of the CEC, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – is holding two public scoping meetings for the combined environment impact statement/environmental … Continue Reading
LexBlog