White House Announces Expedited Schedule for Renewable Energy Projects

On August 7, the White House announced an expedited approval schedule for seven solar and wind projects on federal and tribal lands in Arizona, California, Nevada and Wyoming totaling 5,000 megawatts (MW) of energy-producing capacity, an amount sufficient to power roughly 1.5 million homes.

Three of the proposals would be first to come on line. The Quartzsite, McCoy and Desert Harvest solar energy facilities represent a combined 1,000 MW of capacity, and are on schedule for approval this year. Another project announced is the 3,000 MW Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind energy project in Carbon County, Wyoming, which would be the largest in North America.

If approved on schedule, the seven projects would add to the 7,200 MW of renewable energy the Obama administration already has permitted on federal lands and would help exceed a goal set by the 2005 Energy Policy Act to permit 10,000 MW of renewable energy by 2015.

For more information on environmental law topics, please contact one of the Burr & Forman team members for assistance. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Final FTC Green Guides Published

The final Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Green Guides were officially published in the October 11, 2012 Federal Register.

View the newly revised Green Guides here: Federal Register – FTC Revised Green Guides

 

For more information on environmental law topics, please contact one of the Burr & Forman team members for assistance. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

FTC Issues Revised “Green Guides”

On October 1, 2012, after many years of study and evaluations of several iterations, the Federal Trade Commission issued revised “Green Guides” targeting environmental marketing claims. The revised Green Guides include updates to the existing Guides and new sections on the use of carbon offsets, “green” certifications and seals, and renewable energy and renewable materials claims.

The modified Guides warn against making broad, unqualified claims that a product is “environmentally friendly” or “eco-friendly”, deeming these claims “nearly impossible to substantiate.”

The Guides also:

  • Caution against claiming a product is “degradable” unless it can be proven that the entire product or package will completely break down and return to nature within one year after disposal
  • Clarify guidance on compostable, ozone, recyclable, recycled content, and source reduction claims
  • Include new sections on: 1) certifications and seals of approval; 2) carbon offsets, 3) “free-of” claims, 4) non-toxic claims, 5) made with renewable energy claims, and 6) made with renewable materials claims.

Importantly, the Guides do not address use of the terms “sustainable,” “natural,” and “organic.”

According to the FTC, the Green Guides “describe the types of environmental claims the FTC may or may not find deceptive under Section 5 of the FTC Act. Under Section 5, the agency can take enforcement action against deceptive claims, which ultimately can lead to Commission orders prohibiting deceptive advertising and marketing and fines if those orders are later violated.”

More information about the new Green Guides can be found here: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/10/greenguides.shtm

For more information on environmental law topics, please contact one of the Burr & Forman team members for assistance. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Gibson Guitar Corp. Agrees to Resolve Investigation Into Lacey Act Violations

On August 6, 2012, Gibson Guitar Corp. entered into a criminal enforcement agreement with the United States, resolving a criminal investigation into allegations that the company violated the Lacey Act by illegally purchasing and importing ebony wood from Madagascar and rosewood and ebony from India.  The Lacey Act prohibits the importation into the United States of plants and plant products that have been harvested and exported in violation of the laws of another country.

The agreement requires Gibson to pay a penalty amount of $300,000 and provides for a community service payment of $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to promote the conservation, identification and propagation of protected tree species used in the musical instrument industry. Gibson also agreed to implement a compliance program and to withdraw its claims to the wood seized in the course of the investigation, including Madagascar ebony from shipments with a total invoice value of $261,844.

For more information on environmental law topics, please contact one of the Burr & Forman team members for assistance. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.