Tackling Biodiversity loss in England through the planning system

Trees reflecting on glass buildings in London, UK.

It has been well documented that the world is facing multiple environmental problems.  One such issue is that of biodiversity loss as populations grow and urbanisation takes hold.  England has sought to challenge this global threat at the local level through the imposition of far more rigid biodiversity net gain requirements in their planning system.

Long-term biodiversity targets in England include the restoration or creation of in excess of 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat by 2042.  The mechanism to achieve this, if successful, could accordingly represent a precedent for other nations and a method replicated at a far greater scale.

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Fargo-Moorhead Flood Risk Management P3 Wins Deal of the Year

The Bond Buyer announced its annual Deals of the Year in several categories. The winner in the P3 category was a bond issuance which financed a portion of the $2.75 billion Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area Flood Risk Management Project. The Fargo Moorhead project is a public-private partnership (P3), between the Red River Valley Alliance and the Fargo Moorhead Metro Flood Diversion Authority, to reduce local flooding risk in the Red River Valley. 

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UK Infrastructure Bank – Now Firmly Established and Lending

Those familiar with the UK infrastructure and energy sectors will be aware be aware that a Government-owned bank, established to fund projects in these sectors, has been talked about for some years, partially as a response to Brexit and the withdrawal of the European Investment Bank from the UK market, and also following the Government’s sale to Macquarie of a previous government-backed bank, the Green Investment Bank, in 2017.

Established in June 2021 (but discussed by Ministers long before this date), the UK Infrastructure Bank (“UKIB”), is now firmly in existence.  It recently published its first annual report and accounts, has made a number of significant senior recruitment hires and has financed a number of material projects including several in the digital / broadband sector. 

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Construction Matters

This month’s Construction Matters examines the purpose of bank guarantees pending the final resolution of a dispute, concurrent delays, and the recent western Australian Supreme Court decision to severe part of an adjudication determination beyond the adjudicator’s jurisdiction. In addition, we highlight a series of recent insights from around our firm that are topical to the construction sector.

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Colorado Creates P3 Office

During the 2022 session, the Colorado legislature created a Public Private Partnership Office with the Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration. The office was created by the legislature to facilitate the use of public private partnerships as a project delivery device to develop underutilized state land, and to promote the use of P3 as a delivery method where not previously authorized by state law.   

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Environmental Issues to Watch

The first two years of the Biden Administration have brought about a marked shift in environmental policy by contrast to the prior Administration, with the emphasis on addressing climate change at the national and international levels, the revisiting of a number of rules and policies of the prior Administration, the focus on environmental justice for disadvantaged communities in both the permitting and enforcement context and more significant enforcement of environmental laws and regulations generally. The pace of rulemaking and policy development has been brisk.  For developers, a number of recent developments with the potential to add time, money and additional complexity to projects bear watching as they evolve in the coming months.

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Welcome to the Global Projects View Blog!

The Squire Patton Boggs Global Projects Initiative is excited to present our Global Projects View Blog. 

Working from our Firm’s global perspective on all things infrastructure, we are looking forward to offering our insights and commentary on the many challenges infrastructure projects underway encounter and identifying new challenges and solutions faced by projects as they are initiated.

The Global Projects Initiative is a multidisciplinary team that includes lawyers with years of experience in public and project finance, commercial real estate, construction (including negotiation and litigation), regulatory compliance, environmental, tax and structured finance.   Lawyers participating in the Global Projects Initiative bring different experience and perspectives to our work in a variety of sectors including transportation, social infrastructure and energy and other utilities.  Whether debt financed or financed through a P3 structure, our lawyers are working on blogs that will discuss the “issues of the day” facing all parties to an infrastructure project in addition to examining developing challenges.

Our goal for this blog is to provide informative and insightful commentary on all aspects of infrastructure projects.  We will address a wide range of issues that are likely to impact project participants.  Our blogs will review and comment on current public policy, finance, regulatory, environmental, real estate, and construction topics that make for a successful project or perhaps lead to a series of challenges in need of a solution.  Our authors include Global Initiative members and many of our lawyers working on infrastructure projects.  If it involves roads, bridges, mass transit we expect to cover it.  We also expect to cover broadband, housing, higher education and healthcare facilities along with energy, water, broadband and other utility systems. 

Our initial blogs include commentary on the SEC’s new and proposed ESG reporting requirements, discussion of the proposed U.S. Federal Infrastructure Bank, a survey piece on environmental factors impacting projects, and how the regulation of PFAS could impact new projects.  In the coming weeks we will expand on these themes and others, many of which are simply too broad to cover in a single post.  Our goal with these series of posts will be to take the reader into more depth on those topics in manageable bites.    

We welcome your questions and suggestions for future discussions.  Infrastructure projects are complicated and building relationships is one of the key components for success.  We hope the discussion generated by the blog will contribute to relationship building and expect to cover the changing face of P3’s to a highly collaborative process and the need for parties to pivot when financial markets impact debt and equity financing.  In short, we want to generate discussion and contribute to problem solving needed to manage and successfully complete whatever infrastructure project you might be involved in.

Please feel free to reach out to Karol Denniston, our Global Projects Partner at karol.denniston@squirepb.com and to Jonathan Taunton, our Editor-in-Chief, at jonathan.taunton@squirepb.com with questions, comments and suggestions.  We look forward to hearing from you.

The ESG Investment Practices Disclosures: An Overview of What to Disclose Once the SEC’s Proposed Rules are Enacted

An image of a skyscraper

In our previous articles (Lack of Uniformity in ESG Ratings System Poses Risks and Opportunities, ESG Regs Abroad Offer Road Map For US Multinational Cos. & ESG Enforcement Risks: From “Greenwashing” to “Wokewashing”), we recommend that public entities begin re-visiting their ESG-related practices and policies in light of the expected ESG public disclosure amendments from the SEC. Although there has been significant pushback against the ESG movement that will likely lead the SEC to temper some of its proposed amendments, we expect some features to remain intact after the enactment of the amendments. One of these features will likely relate to the definition and fundamental characteristics of various ESG funds. This post examines the anticipated disclosure requirements below based on the category of an ESG fund.

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A Complimentary Infrastructure Funding Solution: The Federal Infrastructure Bank

Despite the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill’s historic $1.2 trillion investment in U.S. infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates an additional $2 trillion is needed to repair our deteriorating infrastructure. The federal government cannot address U.S. infrastructure funding needs alone. The Federal Infrastructure Bank (“the Bank”) would work directly with states and localities to identify priority projects and secure private capital to advance infrastructure needs across the United States.

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Regulation of PFAS Could Have Widespread Impacts for New Projects

Picture of building cranes in front of sunrise.

As we noted in a prior post, linked here, US EPA has proposed to designate two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as “Superfund.” CERCLA provides the Federal government with the authority to respond to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances in order to protect public health, welfare, and the environment.

PFAS, including the types covered by this proposal – PFOA and PFOS, are human-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. This significant proposal will likely, if finalized, have significant impacts on many aspects of new projects that should be taken into consideration during the initial stages of project development.

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