As the most proactive companies plan for the future, the importance of a sustainable footprint, innovative healthcare, and community engagement is factoring into business development and continuity plans. More businesses are actively setting goals to limit their environmental footprint and address climate change concerns through energy storage, green business, and electric or hybrid transportation initiatives. Other companies are looking at their investments through an environmental, social, and corporate governance lens. And as COVID-19 turned a healthcare crisis into an economic one, the growth of telehealth, regulation and distribution of a safe vaccine, and rebuilding of a taxed healthcare system are sure to stay in the limelight.
Consistent with the Biden-Harris administration’s “whole of government” approach to climate change as announced in its Day 1 and Day 7 executive orders, on March 29 the administration announced a variety of concrete initiatives that executive agencies will be taking to accelerate the development, permitting, and construction of US offshore wind projects and boost the already-growing industry as a whole. In addition to highlighting the importance of offshore wind in lowering carbon emissions and addressing climate change, the announcement emphasized the substantial collateral benefits that the administration expects offshore wind growth will bring, including jobs, investment, and related infrastructure improvements.
The Biden-Harris administration announced its American Jobs Plan, a legislative framework laying out an ambitious $2 trillion investment in physical and human infrastructure, on March 31. The bulk of the proposed spending is directed to rebuild US infrastructure in the form of physical improvements on roads, bridges, airports, and ports, with additional investment and tax credits to support clean energy generation and storage, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency.
Since the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries around the globe have been analyzing their energy and development strategies and planning to meet their commitments. While some countries have made progress by, among other things, implementing new technology and examining different energy sources in an effort to achieve their commitments, other countries have been slower to implement any change. However, the events of 2020 appear to have breathed fresh air into the climate change dialogue.
The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) recently took steps pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Proposition 65, to further regulate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and other perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) announced during its March 18 open meeting two recent actions to promote greater use of distributed energy resources and demand response. First, FERC has amended regulations on distributed energy resource aggregation in the capacity, energy, and ancillary markets operated by a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) or an Independent System Operator (ISO). Second, and related to its distributed energy resource amendments, FERC is seeking public comment on whether to revise regulations barring RTOs and ISOs from accepting bids of certain demand response aggregations.
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has recently published two speeches reiterating the broad and fundamental importance of diversity and inclusion within financial services. Delivered by the FCA’s executive team, the speeches cover (1) the significant work still to be done to improve diversity and inclusion in the sector; (2) the value of diversity and inclusion and their importance to a healthy culture; and (3) the steps the FCA may take in the future to drive improvement, including potentially changing the way in which it considers senior manager applications and introducing diversity requirements to premium listing rules. Firms are encouraged to take note and to review the adequacy and effectiveness of their current diversity and inclusion arrangements.
Mexico’s Senate approved a set of amendments—sponsored by President Lopez Obrador—to Mexico’s Power Industry Law on March 2, 2021. The amendments aim to improve the market position and profitability of the state-owned utility company, Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), to the detriment of private energy producers, including foreign investors in renewable energy.
Renewable energy investors in Mexico have recently faced a series of governmental measures that strengthened the market position of Mexico’s state-owned utility company, Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), to the detriment of private utilities.
Partner James Tynion spoke with Law360 for an article about the Biden-Harris administration’s proposed $2 trillion infrastructure plan. In the piece, he explained the implications of the tax credit expansions on transmission investment tax credits (ITC).
Partner Grace Speights was featured in Washington Lawyer, where she discussed her legal career, the challenges faced by black women in Big Law, and her dedication to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
In a Law360 feature, Morgan Lewis partner Dennis Gucciardo and associate Jacob Harper highlighted some of the defining moments for the healthcare and life sciences industries in the year since the US government declared the COVID-19 pandemic of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant an emergency declaration.
Partner Grace Speights discussed how employers are working to create diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplaces.
Morgan Lewis partner Daniel Skees was quoted in a Utility Dive article about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) plan to offer incentives to utilities making cybersecurity investments that exceed mandatory Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) reliability standards. There are, however, many utilities not subject to FERC's jurisdiction and so many say the proposed incentives could be limited. "FERC, statutorily, can't offer incentives to a lot of utilities because they are not subject to the commission's ratemaking authority," said Daniel. He explained that delays are not uncommon and as a result FERC can't apply it as broadly as it would like.
Associate Doug Hastings’ comment during the National Biodiesel Conference was quoted in a FarmWeek Now article about the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) inside the Biden administration.
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.
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.