The US Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service released anticipated final regulations pertaining to the federal income tax credit for carbon capture projects under Section 45Q of the Internal Revenue Code on January 6, 2021. The final regulations in certain significant respects respond favorably to taxpayer comments to the proposed regulations released on May 28, 2020.
Morgan Lewis partner Neeraj Arora and associate Jane Kang authored a Project Finance International article about the implications of the rapid growth of the energy storage asset class. In the piece, they discuss technology risks, lack of full-wrap EPC contracts, operating risks, and revenue streams.
A new coronavirus (COVID-19) relief bill—the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which includes the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (the Act)—was signed into law on December 27. The Act not only contains tax provisions to provide direct relief to individuals, but also includes tax benefits for various industries, including the “green” energy and technology industries.
The US Congress has adopted the first extensive update to US federal energy policies in over a decade in the Energy Act of 2020 (Energy Act), which President Donald Trump signed into law on December 27 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The Consolidated Appropriations Act also includes the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (Taxpayer Act), which includes tax provisions important to the energy sector.
At its December open meeting, FERC proposed to establish rules for incentive-based rate treatments for voluntary cybersecurity investments by a public utility.
FERC has issued a final rule, Order No. 874, expanding the eligibility criteria for Qualifying Facilities (QFs) as defined under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) to enable certain fuel cell–based electric generation to receive QF status.
The secretary of the US Department of Energy (DOE) issued an order on December 17 prohibiting electric utilities from installing equipment or components provided by Chinese companies in electric facilities serving designated “Critical Defense Facilities.” Relying on authority from Executive Order 13920 on Securing the United States Bulk-Power System, the order identified threats to the electric supply chain from China and concluded that prohibiting Chinese equipment in these sensitive facilities is necessary to respond to the Chinese government’s plans to undermine the bulk-power system.
President-elect Joseph Biden announced on December 15 that he intends to nominate former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to serve as secretary of energy in his new administration. Ms. Granholm previous served as the attorney general of Michigan and as Michigan’s governor from 2003 to 2011.
Morgan Lewis partner and co-leader of the firm’s Mobilizing for Equality Initiative Grace Speights was featured in a Law Practice Today article about the evolving conversation around racial justice within the legal sector and beyond. In the piece, Grace and other legal leaders discussed their own experience in the industry and what more can be done.
Draft guidance from the US Environmental Protection Agency provides a clearer look at how the agency intends to apply the US Supreme Court's "functional equivalent" analysis to determine when National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits are required for discharges of pollutants reaching waters of the United States through groundwater.
Morgan Lewis partners Michael Richman, Julie Stapel, Elizabeth Goldberg, and Craig Bitman authored a Lexis Nexis Practical Guidance article about the US Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) proposed three ERISA regulations and one prohibited transaction class exemption, including the newly finalized Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments.
The Nasdaq Stock Market (Nasdaq) announced that it had submitted a proposal to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seeking approval of new listing rules to advance board diversity and increase transparency to investors regarding the diversity characteristics of Nasdaq-listed company boards.
SAN FRANCISCO, December 4, 2020: Morgan Lewis associate Kevin Benedicto has been recognized by the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Barristers Club with its 2020 Diversity Award. Kevin is one of two recipients for this year’s award, which honors individuals who are dedicated to increasing awareness of diversity issues in the Bay Area legal community.
Partner Elizabeth Goldberg spoke with Pensions & Investments about the US Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Employee Benefits Security Administration focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) enforcement.
San Francisco voters on November 3 approved Proposition L, which imposes an additional tax on businesses whose highest paid executive makes 100 times or more than the median salary of the business’s employees based in San Francisco.
Morgan Lewis Firm Chair Jami McKeon has been named to Equal Justice Works' board of directors. In a press release announcing the new board members, the organization highlighted Jami’s established commitment to pro bono work and diversity both at Morgan Lewis and while serving on the nonprofit boards of serval organizations.
Partner John McGahren spoke with Law360 for an article about what a Biden administration may mean for environmental policy.
The US Department of Labor’s final ERISA regulation generally follows its proposal but without the focus on environmental, social, and governance investing.
Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) on November 12 released updates to its benchmark proxy voting policies, which will apply for shareholder meetings taking place on or after February 1, 2021. We highlight below some of the most significant changes for the 2021 proxy season, including a new policy directed at improving racial and ethnic diversity on public company boards.
PHILADELPHIA, November 16, 2020: Morgan Lewis partner Kenneth Polite has been recognized as a Pennsylvania Trailblazer by The Legal Intelligencer in its 2020 edition of the list. The annual list recognizes lawyers who have made significant contributions to their practice and acted as agents of change. Kenneth was selected for his work to advance racial justice through the courts and police reform.
Morgan Lewis partner and co-leader of the firm’s education industry team Ami Wynne spoke with Boston Business Journal about the firm’s efforts to support clients in the higher education sector amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and shared her observations on new trends of resource sharing between universities and taxing endowments.
As the nation has turned its attention to fighting a global pandemic and the very real, human cost associated with that fight, the decade-old battle over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is once again in the limelight. On November 10, right after the election, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in California v. Texas, S. Ct. Nos. 19-840 & 19-1019.
Nonprofit organizations are on the front lines in the battle against the coronavirus (COVID-19), but they also number among the many victims of COVID-19’s devastating financial impact. In response, the Federal Reserve recently announced that loans would be available to nonprofit borrowers under the Main Street Lending Program, and issued a FAQ on two new facilities—the Nonprofit Organization New Loan Facility and the Nonprofit Organization Expanded Loan Facility.
Members of the US Senate Banking Committee recently introduced a bill to create the Fair Access Financial Services Act of 2020, which is aimed to make any practice of discrimination by a financial institution on the grounds of the consumer’s race, color, religion, national origin, or sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity) expressly illegal.
Partner Julie Stapel was quoted in a PlanSponsor article about a recent US Department of Labor proposal regarding environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing.
Morgan Lewis partner Sandra Moser was featured in Bloomberg Law’s Leading Questions series. In the Q&A, Sandra, former chief of the US Department of Justice’s Fraud Section, discussed the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, the biggest challenge facing white collar practices, and a “war story” from her time at the Fraud Section.
Associate Kevin Benedicto was quoted in a San Francisco Lawyer about his work with the Bar Association of San Francisco’s (BASF) Criminal Justice Task Force and the firm's Mobilizing For Equality efforts.
A new report shows that the number of women on California corporate boards has increased 66.5% since 2018 after the state required corporations to have at least one to three female directors by 2021. Despite the significant progress, the total representation of women on California corporate boards remains at a minimal 24%.
In July 2020, a Morgan Lewis team partnered with the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) Criminal Justice Task Force (CJTF) to advise city leaders on various police reform proposals related to labor negotiations with the San Francisco Police Officers Association, the city’s police union. Below, associate Kevin Benedicto describes the efforts Morgan Lewis has undertaken with the CJTF and their importance.
A recent report from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission encourages financial regulators to consider the risks climate change poses to the US financial system and includes recommendations for addressing these risks.
Diversity and inclusion in business has taken center stage in public discourse, and by-and-large, businesses have stated their commitment to diversity and inclusion, announcing various new initiatives to address racial inequality.
The administration has begun taking actions with regard to workplace diversity trainings and representation goals on the basis of race, but clarifies that unconscious bias training is still permissible.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on September 30 signed into law Assembly Bill No. 979, which requires publicly held companies headquartered in California to have a minimum number of directors from “underrepresented communities.”
With a recent executive order, California is the first state in the nation to commit to ending the sale of fossil fuel–powered vehicles. The order also directs the expedited regulation and closure of oil extraction and production facilities.
Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders along with Representative Peter Welch recently introduced the Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Act of 2020.
Under Order No. 2222, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hopes to “usher in the electric grid of the future” by opening wholesale markets to distributed energy resource aggregations.
As environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations continue to gain traction with investors, asset managers are confronted with varying levels of regulation that they must balance with the wide array of ESG demands being made by investors. Our global investment funds team has prepared a White Paper as a regulatory framework to navigate such considerations across the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Hong Kong, and Singapore.