Kenneth J. Markowitz Stacey H. Mitchell Dario J. Frommer Christopher A. Treanor August 29 2022 Climate change policy update: 29 August 2022 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP | Environment & Climate Change - USA Kenneth J. Markowitz, Stacey H. Mitchell, Dario J. Frommer, Christopher A. Treanor Environment & Climate Change Biden wins key climate case, but impacts may be limitedAttorney general objects to SEC ESG proposalsClimate Bill expands federal loan programmes to tackle climate change in power sectorCalifornia phases out sale of gas carsThis article outlines pertinent legal and policy climate change developments in the United States during the past week.(1)Biden wins key climate case, but impacts may be limitedOn 17 August 2022, a decision from the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals put a pause on "federal oil and gas leasing designed to give the government time to study the program's contributions to planet-warming emissions". The initiative – part of the 27 January 2021 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad – was one of the first climate actions taken by President Biden after he took office.However, the impacts of the decision may be limited due to the fossil fuel leasing mandates in the recently signed Inflation Reduction Act. Further, on 18 August 2022, Judge Terry Doughty of the Louisiana District Court "barred the Biden administration from pausing new oil and gas leases on federal lands in 13 Republican-led states". The ruling argued that the Biden-Harris administration's pause on lease sales violates the Mineral Leasing Act and Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.Attorney general objects to SEC ESG proposalsOn 17 August 2022, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed formal comments with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The comments argued that the agency's proposal – which would oblige firms to prove the validity of its environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts and goals – violates the major questions doctrine, which was settled in West Virginia v Environmental Protection Agency. In the background to the proposal, the SEC states: "Since the mid-2000s, many financial institutions have signed on to climate and sustainability-related investment."Climate Bill expands federal loan programmes to tackle climate change in power sectorThe Inflation Reduction Act 2022 includes "as much as $350 billion in additional federal loans and loan guarantees for energy and automotive projects and businesses". The Biden administration is aiming to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by 2035.California phases out sale of gas carsOn 25 August 2022, the California Air Resources Board approved a new rule that bans new, gas-powered cars in California starting with 2035 models.For further information on this topic please contact Kenneth Markowitz, Stacey H Mitchell, Dario J Frommer or Christopher A Treanor at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP by telephone (+1 202 887 4000) or email ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]). The Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP website can be accessed at www.akingump.com.Leila Fleming, public policy specialist, assisted with the preparation of this article.Endnotes(1) For further updates, including upcoming congressional hearings, federal agency climate news and events, click here. For the previous week's update, click here.