We are pleased to welcome you to the 100 Day installment of important regulatory and legislative events in the new Administration.
President Biden capped his 100-days with an address to Congress where he highlighted many of the same themes we’ve discussed in our series. These include infrastructure investment, clean energy, oil and gas leasing changes, labor union empowerment, concern with big tech, and climate change. Also in the first 100 days, many key Administration leaders have been appointed, and the Administration has reversed course on dozens of Trump Administration policies.
Partner Alexandra Dunn provides the latest environmental developments.
Associate Maria Fuentes discusses the Department of Energy's announcement about its intent to cut the costs and support research on Hydrogen and CCUS technologies.
Associate Emily Hutson gives us the latest on the Department of Justice Antitrust Division.
While this twelfth episode marks the 100th day of the new Administration, the Baker Botts team will continue to provide updates every few weeks as we continue to watch the evolving policy landscape.
Following President Biden’s announcement last week that the United States will target reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, EPA took a step toward that target this week by seeking public comment on reinstating California’s authority to adopt stricter vehicles emission standards than those required under federal law. Thirteen states and Washington, D.C. have committed to following California’s stricter emissions standards.
The Senate confirmed Janet McCabe as EPA’s Deputy Administrator. McCabe served in the Obama Administration as acting assistant administrator of the EPA’s air office, where she worked on efforts to reduce carbon emissions like the Clean Power Plan, although the Plan was never implemented.
EPA Administrator Regan announced the establishment of an EPA senior agency Council on PFAS to advance the agency’s efforts to reduce PFAS risks. EPA also announced that it is halting use of a longstanding, expedited program to approve low volume, new PFAS under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
EPA also observed Water Week and announced $6.5 billion in new funding for water infrastructure projects and focused efforts to help rural and disadvantaged communities.
Finally, based on new COVID-19 CDC guidance, EPA announced that it would stop expediting the registration of surface disinfection products for SARS CoV-2, and focus on innovations in air disinfection technologies.
During President Biden’s Leaders’ Summit on Climate on April 23, Secretary Granholm announced that the Department of Energy seeks to cut the costs of clean renewable hydrogen, also known as “Green Hydrogen”, by 80% before 2030. The reduction in costs to green hydrogen would help make the fuel source a viable alternative to natural gas and would assist the United States in decarbonizing its economy. Green hydrogen can be used to power vehicles through fuel cell technology and can heat homes, office buildings and industrial facilities. In order to cut the costs of green hydrogen, the Department of Energy will likely focus on electrolyzers and clean electricity.
Secretary Granholm also mentioned that the Department of Energy seeks to reduce the cost of industrial atmospheric carbon capture. The DOE will also increase incentives for carbon capture in order to promote large scale efforts.
Reports indicate that Jonathan Sallet remains one of Biden’s leading candidates for the role of assistant attorney general for the DOJ Antitrust Division. Sallet, a former senior DOJ official under the Obama administration, has been at the helm of a Colorado case against Google. Sallet’s potential nomination to the post of AAG is a further indication that the Biden Administration intends to be vigorous in its antitrust enforcement efforts against big tech companies. The other likely nominee, Jonathan Kanter, is known to be more progressive than Sallet, which could spell trouble for big tech companies opposed to the Biden administration’s robust antitrust enforcement agenda.
Throughout the first 100 days of the Biden administration, all signs point to a growing consensus among lawmakers regarding the necessity of antitrust enforcement reform, particularly for big tech and companies in the pharmaceutical sector. The FTC and DOJ are expected to be more aggressive in their investigations and enforcement actions, and this agenda would be enabled if any of the proposed antitrust reform bills pass. We will continue to monitor these areas and provide our clients with updates on these important developments.
ABOUT BAKER BOTTS L.L.P.
Baker Botts is an international law firm of approximately 700 lawyers practicing throughout a network of 13 offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the technology, energy, and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit bakerbotts.com.