Civil Procedure Energy & Utilities Environmental

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District Court Reviews Definition of “Gross Negligence” in Oil Pollution Act Reimbursement Action

On December 22, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion in Water Quality Insurance Syndicate v. U.S., which reversed the Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center’s (NPFC) finding of gross...more

Italian Constitutional Court declares the question of constitutional legitimacy on the “Spalma-Incentivi” Decree ‘groundless’

On December 7, 2016 the Italian Constitutional Court (the “Constitutional Court”) rejected the appeal filed by four solar energy operators against Art. 26, paragraphs 2 and 3 of Italian Law Decree no. 91, dated June 24, 2014,...more

California Sues Federal Government Alleging Inadequate Environmental Review of Offshore Drilling Proposal

In one of her last major legal actions before leaving office as California’s Attorney General, Kamala Harris, along with the California Coastal Commission (jointly the “Attorney General”), filed suit against various federal...more

December 2016: Energy Litigation Update

Update on Clean Power Plan. In August 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) finalized a new set of standards, now known as the Clean Power Plan (the “Plan”), aimed at reducing carbon emissions from fossil-fuel...more

Does MassDEP Have Authority to Regulate Electric Generating Emissions Under Section 3(d) of the GWSA? I’m Not So Sure.

As I have previously noted, I sympathize with the difficulties faced by MassDEP in trying to implement the SJC decision in Kain. However, that does not mean that MassDEP can simply take the easy way out. After rereading...more

EPA Surrenders in the Regional Haze Dispute With Texas

As I noted when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed EPA’s disapproval of Texas’s regional haze plan, EPA had pretty much no chance of winning. Although the parties then stayed the litigation to talk settlement, EPA...more

Environmental Groups Sue Federal Agencies Again in Unending Legal Battle Over Offshore Oil Development

On November 11, 2016, the Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”) and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper jointly filed suit against several federal agencies including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and...more

FERC Dismisses Electric Cooperatives’ Maryland Community Solar Program PURPA Case as Premature

On November 15, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order dismissing a petition for declaratory filed by two Maryland electric cooperatives requesting a FERC finding that regulations governing...more

DEP Is Trying to Implement Kain. How Are They Doing?

When the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Kain that § 3(d) of the Global Warming Solutions act requires MassDEP to promulgate emission limits for multiple source categories, requiring declining annual emissions enforceable in...more

Court Awards $206 Million to Alta Wind Projects in Section 1603 Grant Litigation; Smaller Award to Biomass Facility

The US Court of Federal Claims awarded damages of more than $206 million to Plaintiffs/applicants in a case with respect to the cash grant under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law...more

ICYMI: Energy & Environmental News Round-up

Oil & Gas - New Oil and Gas Emission Control Guidelines Posted - On Thursday, October 20, 2016, EPA published emission control techniques guidelines for the oil and gas industry regarding reducing smog-forming...more

EPA Must Consider Regulatory Impacts on Coal/Utility Industry Jobs and Plant Closure

On October 17, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia granted summary judgment to Murray Energy Corporation and its subsidiary coal companies, including UtahAmerican Energy, Inc. The decision...more

Energy Sector Alert Series: Supreme Court Cases to Watch

In this eight-week alert series, we are providing a broad look at current and emerging issues facing the energy sector. Lawyers from across the firm are discussing issues ranging from cybersecurity, antitrust and intellectual...more

An Update on Pennsylvania's Oil and Gas Law - Act 13 - After Supreme Court Decisions

While many key provisions of Act 13 have now been struck down by the Supreme Court’s two Robinson decisions, much of the Act remains. Act 13 of 2012 represented a major overhaul of Pennsylvania’s oil and gas law and...more

We Meant What We Said: Pa. Supreme Court Issues Latest Decision in Robinson Township

On September 28, 2016, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its latest decision in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth. Link to decision HA Doc. 241394 This latest iteration of Robinson Township (referred to by the Court as...more

Patience and Perseverance Paves the Way for Air-izona

John Quincy Adams is credited with saying: “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” This is certainly apropos for Arizona in light of recent federal actions...more

Pennsylvania Federal Court Decides a Novel CERCLA Issue: When Is the Current Owner Not the Current Owner?

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued a decision on an aspect of CERCLA for which it found almost no prior court precedent – the temporal aspect of the term “current owner or operator” –...more

Clean Power Plan has its day in court - Will the D.C. Circuit uphold EPA’s landmark CO2 regulations?

In a marathon day-long session before a packed courtroom (and a number of overflow rooms) on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, the full US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit heard oral arguments in a litigation challenging the...more

UPDATE: Court’s Tentative Decision Sides in Favor of DOGGR in CBD’s Wastewater Injection Lawsuit

Update: September 26, 2016 - On September 21, 2016, the Honorable George C. Hernandez, Jr. issued the final Statement of Decision, which affirmed the tentative decision denying all claims for relief. The court denied...more

DC Circuit Denies Sierra Club Appeal of FERC Authorization of Two LNG Facilities

Since 2012, the major opponent of new large-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects has been the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club has adopted a two-pronged approach in its opposition to LNG exports projects, opposing...more

A Lumber Mill Biomass CoGen Need Not Consider Other Fuels In Its BACT Analysis. Other Sources Should Be So Lucky.

Ever since EPA began considering how BACT analysis would be applied to greenhouse gas emissions, there has been concern that EPA would use its BACT authority to “redefine the source” – with the particular concern that BACT...more

Citizen Suits Remain a Potent Weapon

Although citizen groups have suffered some defeats in Clean Air Act cases in the NSR/PSD context recently, a decision last week in a different kind of CAA case is a reminder of just how powerful a weapon citizen suits can be,...more

District Court Rules Against an Illinois Power Plant in CAA Citizen Suit, Rejecting Three Defenses to Liability

In the case of National Resources Defense Council , et al. , v. Illinois Power Resources, LLC and Illinois Power Resources Generating, LLC, decided August 23, 2016, the United States District Court for the Central of District...more

District Court Dismisses Challenge to Biological Opinions In Light of Circuit Court’s Exclusive Jurisdiction

Primarily relying on precedent from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth and D.C. Circuits, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine recently dismissed an Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit challenging two...more

Court’s Tentative Decision Sides in Favor of DOGGR in CBD’s Wastewater Injection Lawsuit

As reported in a previous blog post, Earthjustice, on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”), filed a lawsuit against the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) in May 2015. The...more

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