Newest Additions

Saudi Arabia Pursuing Nuclear Energy to Maximize Energy Diversity

By: Bandar Altunisi, Associate

Known as global powerhouse of fossil fuels, Saudi Arabia has focused on diversifying its energy sources in the last 10 years. Saudi Arabia considers solar energy to be a leading alternative energy source with an approximate potential 2,200 thermal kWh of solar radiation (sunshine) per square meter.[1] Furthermore, Saudi Arabia intends to pursue other alternative energy sources like wind power, waste to energy, biomass, and other viable sources of clean energy. King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), a government authority charged with promoting development and advancing research in renewable and atomic energy, issued a roadmap with a goal of 54 GW of power produced from renewable energy sources (mostly wind and solar) by 2032.[2]

For the full article, please click here.


Is the Smart Grid Better Protected?: Nine Months After NIST Releases Cybersecurity Framework

By: Sandra Zegarra, Associate

            As the United States’ power infrastructure transitions from the current electric grid to the Smart Grid, an assortment of new security and reliability concerns, notably in the cyber security arena, have been introduced.[1] Although the objective of the Smart Grid includes heightened security, the implementation of supplementary technologies such as smart meters, sensors, and advanced networks present new vulnerabilities.[2]

For the full article, please click here.


Not So-Sweet Tea:  A Legal Fix for Managing the Organoleptic Effects of Lake Hartwell’s Drinking Water

By: Adam Shaw, Associate

Planktonic or “blue-green” algae are single-celled bacteria that are normally “a beneficial component of the food chain.”[i] In warm, nutrient-rich environments, however, they can produce dense blooms that result in toxic substances known to cause sickness in livestock, wildlife and humans.[ii] In the summer of 2014, Lake Hartwell, located between Georgia and South Carolina at the northern segment of the Savannah River, experienced just such a dense algal bloom. What caused it? The “dramatic end of long-term drought.”[iii]

For the full article, please click here.


Commercial Nuclear Reactor Licensing Hurdles — New York v. NRC

By: Scott Farnin, Associate

More than two years ago, the D.C. Circuit vacated and remanded the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (“NRC”) Waste Confidence rule in New York v. NRC.[1] As a result of that decision, the NRC suspended all licensing issuances for commercial nuclear power plants until the court’s remand was appropriately redressed.[2] On September 19th, 2014 the NRC issued its Final Rule on Waste Confidence, addressing the concerns of D.C. Circuit. Now, licensing issuances are set to start up again after a two-year hiatus.

As of December 2013, there are an estimated 72,000 metric tons of commercial spent fuel in storage at commercial nuclear power plants.[3] Spent fuel from commercial reactors is currently held on-site at nuclear power plants in 34 states.[4] Originally, the fuel was meant to be held on-site temporarily, while the federal government was going to build a permanent, geological repository for the spent fuel at Yucca Mountain. However, after decades of political roadblocks, the repository at Yucca has yet to open, resulting in spent fuel accumulating on-site at commercial nuclear power plants.


For the full article, please click here.


JEEL’s Most Recent Publication

Volume 5, Number 3 | Summer 2014



The U.S. Supreme Court Passes on Chance to Weigh in on  California’s Climate Change Initiative

By: Christina Tabacco, Associate

Posted: September 17, 2014


On June 30th the Supreme Court of the United States declined to grant the petition for certiorari by plaintiff-appellees in the case Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey, 730 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2013), cert. den’d 134 S.Ct. 2875 (June 30, 2014) . The plaintiffs sought to strike down a major component of California’s climate change initiative (AB 32),[1] arguing that certain regulations violated the dormant Commerce Clause. The question at the heart of the lawsuit was whether California could regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions based on regulators’ unique accounting method called “lifecycle analysis.”


Lifecycle analysis, colloquially deemed, “well to wheel accounting” allows regulators to tally the total amount of GHG emissions from sources of automotive fuel (i.e. crude oil and various types of corn and sugar cane ethanol blended gasoline) by including emissions generated during production, refinement and transportation. The law creates declining caps regulating the total amount of GHGs that may be emitted from sources sold in California under the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).

For the full article, please click here.


Subcontractor Coverage Under the Christian Doctrine

By: John Kashuba, Associate
Posted: September 10, 2014



Blog Post—JEEL-Subcontractor Coverage Under the Christian Doctrine


Problem: Recent litigation has produced ambiguity as to whether subcontractors are covered under the Christian doctrine. If this is indeed the case, practitioners advising clients bidding or negotiating for procurement work containing clauses espousing requirements as to the kinds of materials that must be used, or other clauses containing compliance mandates with environmental laws and regulations are strongly encouraged to be hyper-vigilant as to the wording, text, form, and structure of the contract. Any omissions or oversights by agency personnel or contractor must be carefully scrutinized and investigated to avoid problems further down the road.


Background: The Christian doctrine has become an indelible and enduring part of procurement jurisprudence, such that many in the field will need little introduction to its basic tenets. As a refresher, the doctrine is a reflection of two major principles. First, the government should not be bound by the unauthorized actions of its agents. Second, the laws and policies governing government procurement enacted by Congress should be respected and followed by all parties. As such, under Christian, required clauses that are omitted from a government contract, intentionally or inadvertently, are read into the contract by operation of law. Over the last 50 years, scholars, practitioners, courts, and administrative boards have struggled to decide what clauses should be covered under this doctrine, and which contractors should be covered . . .


For the full article, please click here.




 JEEL’s Most Recent Publication

Volume 5, Number 2 | Summer 2014


Green Siting for Green Energy

by Amy Morris, Jessica Owley, and Emily Capello

Balancing Economic and Environmental Goals in Distributed Generation Procurement: A Critical Analysis of California’s Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM)

by Jessica Wentz

Relieving the Congestion: The Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative

by Michelle Bailey


Promoting Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy and Managing Environmental Risk: Toward an Adaptive Management Strategy

by Molly A. Masterton

How to Save the Tortoises: Incorporating Wildlife Concerns in Siting of the Utility-Scale Solar Farms

by Hina Gupta


Solving the Goldilocks Problem: A Market Based Proposal for a More Efficient Feed-in Tariff in Japan

By: Caleb Rosenberg, Article Editor
Posted: March 15, 2014

During the midday hours of May 25, 2012, Germany accomplished an impossible task: nearly fifty-percent of the energy generated in the country came from solar power. Humming along at twenty-two gigawatts, Germany’s solar power plants pumped out electricity with the force of twenty nuclear power stations. Germany’s stunning achievement came with unsustainably high, incentive-based costs. Just over one month later, on June 28, 2012, the German legislature approved cuts to their solar incentives program to prevent costs from spiraling out of control.

Germany maintained an incentive program known as a feed-in tariff through which utilities pay energy producers certain published prices, called tariff rates, for energy. The feed-in tariff incentivized development of solar generating capacity by providing solar producers a special tariff rate (price per kilowatt-hour) above the prevailing electricity market rate. The higher tariff rates guaranteed the solar developer a profit. Utilities that bought electricity

For the full article, please click here.


The Hidden Environmental Impacts of Photovoltaic Panels

By: Adam S. Carlesco, Associate
Posted: March 9, 2014

It is an undeniable fact that renewable sources of energy have been rising tremendously over the past decade and are continuing to grow with nearly one in three new power projects being renewable in nature. While wind energy is leading the pack of renewable technology, solar energy has seen a 52.2% growth between July 2012 and July 2013. While many solar energy proponents continue to portray solar energy sources as a panacea for the growing global energy demand, these technologies carry a hidden environmental cost.

While solar energy only constitutes 0.11% of electricity generation in the U.S., many, including solar power researcher Dr. Richard Perez of the George Washington Solar Institute, believe that solar power is a completely feasible way to ensure full electricity to the American public with the development of large scale solar projects, along with supplements from wind and other renewable resources. What Dr. Perez fails to note, however, is that while solar power provides a source of energy free from the fluctuations of fossil fuel demands and greenhouse gas emissions, solar photovoltaic panel production carries a large upfront pollutant

For the full article, please click here.


Energy and Environmental Law Paper Series:

Essential Tool, Harmless Distraction, or Unintended Consequence: An Analysis of the Benefit Corporation and its Potential Impact on the Renewable Energy Sector
By: Kate D’Ambrosio
Posted: March 1, 2014

United States LNG Exports: The Current Legal and Economic Landscape
By: Yousef Rahman
Posted: February 1, 2014


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