Administrative Agency Energy & Utilities

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Administrative Agency issues written by leading professionals.
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MassDEP Has A Lot of Discretion in Implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act

Unsatisfied with the pace of the administration’s implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act, the Conservation Law Foundation sued the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, seeking a court order...more

SEC Charges Australian Mining Company for FCPA Violations Arising from Its Hospitality Program at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

On May 20, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced a $25 million settlement with Australian mining company BHP Billiton (the "Company") to resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) charges...more

Such a fact pattern does not a $5 million penalty make

Or so says one dissenting FERC Commissioner in the recent Maxim Power enforcement proceeding. On May 1, 2015, FERC issued an order assessing civil penalties (the “Order”) of $5 million against Maxim Power Corporation and its...more

OSHA Adds Employers in the Upstream Oil and Gas Drilling Industry to Its Severe Violator Enforcement Program

On February 11, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced revisions to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (“SVEP”). Under SVEP, employers in designated...more

PHMSA Steps Up Review of Pipeline Construction

Enforcement Focus on 60-Day Notification Requirement - The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has stepped up enforcement efforts concerning pipeline and LNG terminal construction....more

How Dry You’ll Be: California Adopts Regulations for Mandatory Water Conservation

As California enters another summer under severe drought conditions, regulators are taking steps to encourage significant reductions in water usage. After years of a “carrot” approach, Californians may start seeing the...more

For Municipalities: Tax Increment Financing Law – Near Miss at the Legislature

You may have heard recently that the Maine Legislature was considering a bill that would have created significant problems for municipalities who use, or plan to use, tax increment financing as part of their economic...more

FREQUENT QUESTIONS: Form R Part II

As the July 1 deadline for filing the Form R for your facility approaches, these additional Frequent Questions may assist your preparation. Question: For purposes of Section 313 reporting, is ammonium nitrate in a...more

[Event] BakerHostetler Shale Symposium – June 4, Houston, TX (incl. Webinar Option)

BLM’s Hydraulic Fracturing Rule: The First Step in the Regulatory March of 2015 After a regulatory review process lasting more than three years, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently issued a final rule purporting...more

California Water Law Update

To address the worsening drought, on April 1, 2015, Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-29-15 (“Executive Order”), mandating a 25% reduction in potable urban water consumption. In response, the State Water Resources...more

DOT Tank Car Rule Reflects Refined Cost-Benefit Analysis

On May 1, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation, acting through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, issued a much-anticipated final rule on the enhanced tank car standards and operational...more

State Water Resources Control Board Adopts Emergency Water Restrictions Throughout California

Sweeping Regulations Expected to Take Effect by May 15 - The State Water Resources Control Board took final action on emergency regulations designed to achieve an overall 25 percent reduction in potable urban water use...more

New Federal Oil-By-Rail Regulations Published

Today, May 8, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a final rule for rail transport of crude oil in the Federal Register. These rules come after several high-profile oil train derailments,...more

Dispersants...Will We Ever Be Able to Use Them Again?

On January 22, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Proposed Rule on dispersants. The Proposed Rule drastically changes the EPA’s approach to dispersants and could imperil proven and effective means of...more

Slow and Steady Wins the Race? Another Chapter in Ontario’s Ostrander Point Wind Farm Challenge

In an important development in the ongoing saga of judicial challenges to wind farm developments in the province, the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”) has restored the finding of the Environmental Review Tribunal (“ERT”) that...more

FAA Proposes Framework of Regulations For Small-Scale Commercial Drones

On Feb. 15 the Federal Aviation Administration released its long-awaited proposed framework for regulating small-scale commercial drones, which weigh less than 55 pounds.1 In its proposal, the FAA made explicitly clear that...more

D.C. Circuit Vacates 100-Hour Exemption for Emergency Generators

On May 1, 2015, the D.C. Circuit in Delaware v. EPA vacated a portion of EPA’s National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Reciprocating Internal...more

New Standards for Shipping Crude Oil, Petroleum Products and Renewable Fuel by Rail

On Friday, May 1, the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) issued a final rule establishing new requirements for transporting flammable liquids in a continuous block of 20 or more tank cars or 35 or more tank cars loaded...more

“Peace Train” or “Crazy Train”?

In my former days defending agency actions in federal court, I had a standard line I used with frequent success when rules were attacked by all sides: “Your Honor, we’ve been sued here by both industry and environmental...more

Tough Mandatory Water Restrictions of up to 36 Percent Retained in Draft Emergency Drought Regulation for California

State Water Resources Control Board Cites Need to Avoid Potential “Catastrophic Impacts” - The State Water Resources Control Board released revisions to its draft emergency regulations to restrict overall potable urban...more

EPA Is Not an Expert in Determining Electric System Reliability

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed and remanded EPA’s rule allowing backup generators to operate for up to 100 hours per year as necessary for demand response. It’s an important decision that could have lessons...more

Recent Crude-by-Rail Developments

The transportation of crude oil by rail continues to be a key issue for rail and energy industry stakeholders as well as policy makers. Below is a summary of recent developments. 1. DOT Takes Six Crude-by-Rail Safety...more

Supreme Court Finds No Pre-emption in Natural Gas Act Case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held in ONEOK Inc. v. Learjet, Inc., that the Natural Gas Act (NGA) does not pre-empt state-law antitrust suits over manipulation of natural gas indices. The court’s decision has important...more

Oil on the Rails: States Increasing Regulation of Oil Trains

The increase in North American petroleum production in recent years, coupled with inadequate pipeline infrastructure, has resulted in a significant rise of, and reliance on, the transport of crude oil by rail. Public...more

Mixology 101: Blending Trade Secret Protections and Fracking Chemical Reporting

Whether you live in the East, the Great Plains, the Southwest, or the Rocky Mountain West, the oil and gas industry’s use of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in oil and gas development is something you have likely heard a...more

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