About Andrew Bell

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So far Andrew Bell has created 38 blog entries.

The Gates Are Open to Offshore Wind in California

By |2024-04-17T21:43:31+00:00May 27th, 2021|Uncategorized|

On 25 May 2021, the White House and the State of California announced a plan to unlock more than 600 square miles of federal waters off the California coast for commercial scale wind energy development, with 4.6 gigawatts of generation potential. The announcement is a welcome step forward in an ongoing effort by federal, state, and local stakeholders to kickstart the offshore wind industry in the West Coast’s deep ocean shelf. Although California is still years away from operational projects, Tuesday’s breakthrough signals the resolution of resource conflicts with the Department of Defense that [...]

Biden Administration to Revoke Trump-Era MBTA Rule

By |2024-04-17T21:43:58+00:00May 11th, 2021|Uncategorized|

On 7 May 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published a proposed rule that would revoke the Trump administration’s rule that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) does not apply to the incidental take of protected migratory birds. If finalized, the proposed rule would represent a return to pre-Trump years, when courts disagreed about the scope of the MBTA and USFWS exercised broad discretion whether to seek civil or criminal penalties against parties whose activities unintentionally harmed or killed migratory birds. The proposed rule may ultimately clear the way for an MBTA [...]

What Does Biden’s Offshore Wind Initiative Mean for California?

By |2024-04-17T21:44:02+00:00April 27th, 2021|Uncategorized|

In March 2021, the White House announced an ambitious federal initiative to expand offshore wind energy development in the United States. The plan targets 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 and calls on the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to authorize at least sixteen offshore wind projects over the next four years to meet that goal. The initiative’s short-term objectives are focused on the East Coast, where permitting is already afoot, but plans for the coast of California are underway as well. 30 Gigawatts by [...]

Biden Administration to Delay Effective Date of Trump’s MBTA Rollback Rule

By |2024-04-17T21:44:07+00:00February 6th, 2021|Uncategorized|

As expected, the Biden administration will invoke the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to delay the effective date of the Trump administration’s proposal to exempt incidental take from liability under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The Trump administration rule would have taken effect on 8 February 2021; the Biden administration delay will extend the effective date until 8 March 2021. The new Federal Register notice, to be published on 9 February 2021, will request further public comments to inform the Biden administration’s review of the rule while at the same time clearly signaling its [...]

DRECP Reform: Trump’s Parting Gift to Renewable Energy in California?

By |2024-04-17T21:44:11+00:00January 16th, 2021|Uncategorized|

On 14 January 2020, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a proposal intended to make it easier to develop renewable energy projects on BLM-administered lands in Southern California. The renewable energy industry should take the time to show the Biden administration why this is one Trump-era regulatory shift that should be carried forward if climate change reduction is indeed a priority. The proposal seeks in part to address long-standing renewable energy industry concerns that BLM took far too many acres off the table when it adopted the 10-million-acre Desert Renewable Conservation Plan (DRECP) [...]

A New Trump Administration Rule Exempting Incidental Take Under the MBTA Is Unlikely to Last Long.

By |2024-04-17T21:44:16+00:00January 6th, 2021|BGEPA and MBTA|

A long-standing regulatory tug-of-war over whether the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) prohibits incidental “take” of migratory birds is about to enter a new, but likely short-lived, phase. On 7 January 2021, the Trump administration will publish a new regulation affirming that the MBTA does not prohibit incidental take of migratory birds, a view directly at odds with the Obama administration’s enforcement of the MBTA against incidental take caused by industry, wind energy and oil and gas in particular. But there is a high likelihood the rule will never take effect if the Democrats [...]

Court Partially Strikes Down California’s Expansive New Dredge and Fill Rules

By |2024-04-17T21:44:42+00:00December 21st, 2020|Clean Water Act, Wetland and riparian permitting|

A 17 December 2020 trial court order largely prohibits the California Water Resource Control Board (State Board) from applying new rules that greatly expand California’s regulatory control over wetlands and dredge and fill activities throughout the state. The effect of the ruling may be temporary, however. The rules, which took effect on 28 May 2020, were in large part an attempt to regulate waters not covered by the narrowed scope of the federal Clean Water Act under the Trump administration. The rules were overturned almost seven months later when the court in San Joaquin [...]

Joshua Tree Designated as Candidate Species under California Endangered Species Act

By |2024-04-17T21:44:46+00:00September 22nd, 2020|Endangered Species, Uncategorized|

On 22 September 2020, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) unanimously voted to designate the western Joshua tree (yucca brevifolia) as a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), as expected.

California Stalls Joshua Tree Endangered Species Act Determination to Consider Up-Front Take Authorization

By |2024-04-17T21:44:50+00:00August 21st, 2020|Endangered Species, Uncategorized|

On 20 August 2020, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) again postponed its decision whether to designate the western Joshua tree (yucca brevifolia) as a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).

Is To Kill a Mockingbird Good Authority? Federal Court Sets Aside Administration’s Interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

By |2024-04-17T21:44:54+00:00August 19th, 2020|BGEPA and MBTA, Uncategorized|

On 11 August 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an opinion setting aside the U.S. Department of Interior’s (DOI) interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA) as contrary to law pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. The decision deepens a circuit split over an issue of importance to industrial and wind energy installations across the United States.

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