Administrative Agency Civil Procedure Energy & Utilities

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EPA Proposes to Eliminate Affirmative Defenses for Many Clean Air Act Violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule on September 5, 2014 that would prevent states from including affirmative defenses in their Clean Air Act state implementation plans (SIPs) for emissions...more

Fifth Circuit Holds that Texas Public Utility Commission Can Limit Ability of Intermittent Wind Generators to Sell Their Power...

On September 8, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (“Fifth Circuit”), in a 2-1 decision, reversed an opinion by the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (“District Court”)...more

How Low Will They Go? A Lower Ozone NAAQS Begins to Have An Air of Inevitability

On Friday, EPA released its “Policy Assessment for the Review of the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.” EPA staff concluded: that it is appropriate in this review to consider a revised primary O3 standard level...more

Federal Agencies Cannot Be Fined for Reliability Standard Violations

The D.C. Circuit concluded that sovereign immunity prevents FERC and NERC from imposing monetary penalties on federal agencies that violate Reliability Standards....more

D.C. Circuit Ruling Upholds New Ground Rules in Development of Electric Transmission Infrastructure

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC or "Commission") landmark regional electric transmission planning rulemaking, a multi-year effort by the Commission that has been met with vigorous opposition from some...more

Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission Appeals Act 13 Ruling to State Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PPUC) is asking the state Supreme Court to review a July ruling by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court that strips PPUC of its authority to review and approve local drilling...more

Non-Incumbent Transmission Developers Win with Court’s Affirmance of FERC’s Order No. 1000

Non-incumbent transmission developers scored a big win last week. As we previously reported here, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld FERC’s Order No. 1000. Among other things, Order 1000 mandated that a regional...more

D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenges to FERC’s Order No. 1000

The court turned back all challenges to FERC’s order, which imposed major regional transmission planning requirements, concluding that FERC has adequately justified the order and acted within its statutory authority....more

California District Court Dismisses ESA Section 7 Case for Failure to Allege that Agency Action Took Place on the "High Seas"

On August 12, a judge for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss claims alleging that a federal agency violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to consult with federal...more

Fifth Circuit Holds that the Army Corps of Engineers' Jurisdictional Determination Does Not Constitute a Reviewable "Final Agency...

On July 30, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the issuance of a jurisdictional determination (JD) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is not a final agency action subject to...more

The SJC Gives “Great Deference” to the Energy Facilities Siting Board. That’s An Understatement

In two related decisions last week, the Supreme Judicial Court issued three important rulings, and handed the Brockton Power Company one major problem in its long-running effort to build a combined-cycle gas plant in...more

The Slow Grind of Justice for EPA's Carbon Emissions Regulations

It was inevitable that EPA's Clean Power Plan, regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants was going to generate law suits. Even if the suits are ultimately unsuccessful, an injunction against the Plan's adoption...more

Texas Court of Appeals Holds There is No Right Under The Administrative Procedure Act to Seek Judicial Review of a State Agency's...

On July 23, 2014, the Austin Court of Appeals held that Texas trial courts lack subject matter jurisdiction under the Texas Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to review orders by state agencies denying petitions for...more

EPA Re-gains “Green Light” to Regulate Permitting Procedures - D.C. Circuit overturns lower court decisions on EPA permitting...

Two district court orders declaring the federal Environmental Protection Agency acted illegally when it implemented certain permitting procedures for coal mining operations have been vacated by a federal court of appeals....more

Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Proposed Rule Defining “Waters of the United States” Under the...

On April 21, 2014, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (collectively the “Agencies”) released a proposed rule to define the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act...more

Only When a Permit is Required: The Supreme Court Caps the EPA’s Authority to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Stationary...

Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA et al. 573 U.S. ____ (2014) - On June 23, 2014, the United States Supreme Court held that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overstepped its authority under the Clean Air Act...more

Water, Water everywhere …

There were two court decisions this week regarding regulation of Maine rivers, one from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Watts v. BEP, and one federal, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay v. Hydro Kennebec, LLC. ...more

The Fifth Circuit holds it lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear petitions for review of Clean Air Act notices of violation

“Final actions” of the EPA under the Clean Air Act are subject to direct review by a United States Court of Appeals. 42 U.S.C. § 7607(b)(1). In a decision issued on July 3, 2014, in Luminant Generation Company, LLC v....more

The Clean Water Act - Is groundwater included?

There has been much controversy in the courts as to whether groundwater can be defined as “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. Courts are split on this decision, with equal numbers of rulings on both sides. One...more

More FERC Federalism: D.C. Circuit Affirms FERC’s Jurisdiction Again – New England Power Generators Ass’n v. FERC

On July 8, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied the petition for review filed by New England Power Generators Association, Inc. and other market participants’ over four Federal...more

The D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenge to EPA’s Final Guidance on CWA Coal Mining Permits: EPA Action Has to Be Really, Really, Final...

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit reversed Judge Reggie Walton’s decision from 2012 and affirmed EPA’s authority to adopt the “Enhanced Coordination Process” governing coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers in the processing...more

The Reach of Sackett is Not Infinite: Regulated Facilities May Not Challenge EPA Notices of Violation

After the Supreme Court held in Sackett v. EPA that EPA must provide hearings to those to whom it issues unilateral administrative orders, the regulated community immediately began to wonder how broadly the ruling would...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - July 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus - Second leg of California bullet-train line approved: SFGate.com - Jun 27: On June 27, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation gave its approval for work to begin on the second leg...more

U.S. Supreme Court Restricts EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On June 23, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its widely anticipated decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA concerning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from...more

New Supreme Court Ruling On EPA Authority Over GHGs – Little Clarification on the 111(d) Regulations

Last week, the United States Supreme Court issued a significant decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, that substantially restricts the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate...more

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