Paul Gutermann Quoted by Oil Price Information Service on 6th Circ. Decision in NEPA Suit

Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), for its article “DOE Support of Cellulosic Ethanol Plant OK'd by Appeals Court,” quoted Akin Gump environment, natural resources and land partner Paul Gutermann on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruling to uphold a Department of Energy (DOE) grant of $100 million to Frontier Renewable Resources LLC to build a cellulosic ethanol plant in Kinross Charter Township, Michigan.

Per the court’s decision, DOE’s “environmental assessment adequately supported its finding that funding the plant would not have a significant impact on the environment.” The plaintiffs had claimed that DOE had failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in conducting its assessment. The appellate court did rule, however, contrary to the District Court’s initial finding, that the plaintiffs—a local resident and the Sierra Club—had standing to sue.

Gutermann noted that this ruling could impact future litigation regarding new or expanding clean energy facilities and "could make it easier for opponents to challenge a project under NEPA by asserting health or environmental" matters. He added, "The showing that has to be made for standing is not as rigorous for procedural challenges under NEPA, as in this case, as would be the standard for a substantive challenge of a regulation."

Gutermann also wrote an article for Akin Gump’s AG Speaking Energy blog on this topic, which can be read here.