Kenneth J. Markowitz Stacey H. Mitchell Dario J. Frommer Christopher A. Treanor January 23 2023 Climate change policy update: EPA environmental justice grants, National Blueprint of Transportation Decarbonization and climate scenario analysis exercise 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 FTC publishes updates to its Green GuidesEPA announces $100 million available for two environmental justice grantsBiden-Harris administration releases National Blueprint of Transportation DecarbonizationInterior Department proposes rule to modernise clean energy developmentFederal Reserve Board releases details on pilot climate scenario analysis exercisePotential stove regulations cause re-evaluation of CPSC by RepublicansDrought leads to city cutting off neighbourhood's water supplyEnvironmentalists fear that Newsom's budget cuts jeopardise climate programmesHochul announces $143 million investment in water infrastructure projectsResearch indicates potential carbon storage in Great Lakes regionDunleavy outlines Carbon Management Bill PackageTwo bills pave way for West Virginia Hydrogen Hub projectThis article outlines pertinent legal and policy climate change developments in the United States during the past week.(1)FTC publishes updates to its Green GuidesThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking public comment on its proposed rulemaking to the Green Guides for the Use of Environmental Claims (Green Guides). Last updated in 2012, the proposed regulation seeks to update the Green Guides and outline best practices on environmental marketing claims. Specifically, the FTC is seeking feedback on the Green Guides' necessity, proven consumer benefits and suggested modifications (for further details, see "FTC publishes updates to its Green Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims").EPA announces $100 million available for two environmental justice grantsOn 10 January 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $100 million for two environmental justice grants. Funded through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement Program (EJCPS) will receive $30 million, while the Environmental Justice Government-to-Government programme (EJG2G) will receive $70 million. The EJCPS programme will support non-profit community organisations in developing and implementing projects that address environmental and public health issues. The EJG2G programme seeks to create model state activities resulting in measurable environmental or public health benefits for communities disproportionately impacted by climate change.Biden-Harris administration releases National Blueprint of Transportation Decarbonization The Department of Energy, in collaboration with the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and the EPA, released the US National Blueprint of Transportation Decarbonization to slash greenhouse gas emissions and reach President Biden's goal of "securing a 100% clean electrical grid by 2035 and reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050".Interior Department proposes rule to modernise clean energy developmentThe Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is slated to publish a proposed rule to modernise clean energy development in the US Outer Continental Shelf. The rulemaking would update regulations, streamline processes, clarify provisions, strengthen compliance provisions and aims to "advance the Department of the Interior's (DOI) energy policies in a safe and environmentally sound manner that would provide a fair return to the U.S. taxpayer".Federal Reserve Board releases details on pilot climate scenario analysis exercise On 17 January 2023, the Federal Reserve Board released details on its pilot climate scenario analysis exercise. Specifically, the six biggest banks in the United States will "analyze the impact of scenarios for both physical and transition risks related to climate change on specific assets in their portfolio". The board is slated to collect qualitative and quantitative data throughout the pilot programme, including information on governance and risk management, measurement methodologies, risk assessment, data challenges, and best practices.Potential stove regulations cause re-evaluation of CPSC by RepublicansAs the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC's) Richard Trunkja Jr noted that he is considering gas stove regulations to address air pollutants, Senator Joe Manchin and Republicans are questioning the CPSC's role. Manchin called for the re-evaluation of the CPSC, while House Energy & Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers is slated to discuss a potential regulation in a committee hearing. Despite the lively discussion, it is unlikely that the CPSC will pursue the regulation, as the other four commissioners have not indicated support for such an effort.Drought leads to city cutting off neighbourhood's water supply The city of Scottsdale cut off its water supply, sourced from the Colorado River, to the Rio Verde Foothills community in early January 2023. Since Scottsdale's decision, residents in Rio Verde Foothills have come to rely on water haulers to search distant towns for available water, almost tripling their water prices. To identify a long-term solution, residents are debating forming their own water district to purchase water from elsewhere or hiring a Canadian private utility company to supply water. However, the water district plan was rejected by the Maricopa County Supervisors in August 2022.Environmentalists fear that Newsom's budget cuts jeopardise climate programmes Governor Gavin Newsom released his newest budget, which features cuts for climate spending by $6 billion, $3.3 billion of which comes from the state's clean transport initiatives. In 2022, Newsom advocated for the five-year $54 billion climate package during the last legislative session. However, Newsom hopes to offset those reductions with federal funds and a new bond reserve. Environmental advocates are calling for Newsom to address how the state can meet its lofty electrification goals in the wake of the spending cuts. The governor expressed optimism that the state will meet its climate goals, citing increased investments in climate and transport as justification for his budget.Hochul announces $143 million investment in water infrastructure projects The New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation Board approved a plan to authorise "municipal access to the capital needed to get shovels in the ground for critical drinking water and sewer projects in New York City and the Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson, and North Country regions". Specifically, the plan will support financing through New York's Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and build on previously announced grants.Research indicates potential carbon storage in Great Lakes region Researchers at the University of Michigan determined that the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence region are able to provide 52 billion tons of environmentally sound carbon storage by using natural and engineered methods. However, the scientists noted the necessity of identifying carbon storage strategies to make sure emission offsets do not affect the atmosphere.Dunleavy outlines Carbon Management Bill PackageGovernor Mike Dunleavy detailed his Carbon Management Bill Package, showcasing anticipated legislative and regulatory action to engage in the carbon markets. The state's Department of Natural Resources would oversee carbon capture, utilisation and storage, as well as biologic sequestration.Two bills pave way for West Virginia Hydrogen Hub project Two bills in the West Virginia legislature, Senate Bill (SB) 161 and SB 162, may allow for property owned by the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) to be used as underground storage of emissions as a hydrogen hub project. SB 161 would empower the DNR to sell, lease or dispose of property under its control, although it is prohibited from doing so in state parks or forests without legislative approval. Moreover, SB 162 would enable the DNR to lease state-owned underground spaces beneath forests, wildlife management areas and other land under the DNR's jurisdiction for use in carbon sequestration.For further information on this topic please contact Kenneth J 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.