Civil Procedure Zoning, Planning & Land Use Energy & Utilities

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Oklahoma Holds Question of Whether Fracking Causes Earthquakes is for the Courts to Decide.

The issue of whether hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” causes earthquakes has first-party insurance implications because policies typically exclude damage from tremors attributable to man-made causes as opposed to purely...more

EPA and Corps Issue Rule Defining “Waters of the U.S”

On June 29, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) published a final rule defining “waters of the United States.” The rule becomes effective on August 28, 2015. Because...more

Declaration Requirement Removed from First Nation Consultation Procedures

On June 10, 2015, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) released a revised version of the Joint Operating Procedures for First Nations Consultation on Energy Resource Activities (Procedures) and Bulletin 2015-20. While the...more

Irrigation District Sues, Says State Board Lacks Jurisdiction to Curtail Senior Water Rights

On June 26, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) filed a petition for writ of mandate in Contra Costa County Superior Court requesting that the Court set aside the State Water Resources Control Board’s June 12, 2015...more

More Injunction Arguments In BLM Fracking Rule Litigation Prior To Major Court Hearing Tomorrow

Several more key filings have come into the federal litigation challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands in advance of the June 23 consolidated preliminary...more

California Appellate Court: CDFW Notification Required for Water Diversions

Any plans to “substantially divert” water from a river or stream requires notification to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California Court of Appeal found. In reversing a lower court’s decision that favored...more

Ninth Circuit Rules Approval of Oil Spill Response Plans is Non-Discretionary

On June 11, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (Bureau) approval of oil spill response plans (OSRPs) relating to oil leases in the Beaufort and...more

Preliminary Injunction Arguments Pour Into Litigation Against BLM’s Final Fracking Rule

Since our last update on federal litigation in Wyoming challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on public lands, the flurry of activity continues in advance of the June 23...more

“Clearing” the Waters – U.S. EPA and the Army Corps Finalize “Waters of the United States” Definition

On May 27, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“U.S. EPA”) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) issued their highly anticipated final revision to the definition of “waters of the United...more

Utah Legislative Update: 2015 Water Law Legislation

This year the Utah Legislature took action on two water law issues that it has struggled with for several years—the authority of the State Engineer to consider forfeiture during review of change applications and the rights of...more

Alaska Supreme Court Says Exploration is a Transfer of Interest in State Land, Cannot Be Allowed Without Full Public Notice and...

The Alaska Supreme Court’s recent decision in Nunamta Alukestai v. Pebble Limited Partnership, No. 7011 (Alaska filed May 29, 2015) significantly alters the permitting process for projects within the jurisdiction of the...more

Braving the Headwinds Hitting U.S. Wind Energy

The development of offshore wind projects in the U.S. has been a story of high hopes and many setbacks. Thus far, 2015 has perpetuated the same storyline, with major setbacks plaguing one of the major U.S. offshore wind...more

Court of Appeal Decision Extends Lake and Streambed Alteration Program to Water Diversions

In a decision that will have ripple effects on water diversions throughout California, the Court of Appeal held that section 1602 of the Fish and Game Code requires notification to the Department of Fish and Wildlife...more

Revision Of Coal Mining Permit By Environmental Group Results In Attorney Fee Award

In Black Mesa v. Jewell, 2015 DJDAR 1050, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that an environmental group was entitled to an award of attorney fees arising out of their challenge to the Office...more

Preliminary Injunction Motion Filed To Stop BLM’s Final Fracking Rule

Last Friday, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the Western Energy Alliance (WEA) opened their arguments on a preliminary injunction motion to halt the federal Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final...more

No Aboriginal Title Required: BC Court of Appeal Allows First Nations’ Civil Claim Against Alcan to Proceed

On Wednesday April 15, 2015, the BC Court of Appeal released its decision in Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. In its decision, the court allowed the claims of the plaintiffs Saik’uz...more

Colorado Supreme Court Restricts Use of "Lone Pine" Discovery Orders

On April 20, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court released an important decision restricting the use of so-called "Lone Pine" orders. See Antero Resources Corp. v. Strudley. Lone Pine orders require plaintiffs in toxic tort cases...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

Bill to Streamline Federal Permitting for Major Energy and Infrastructure Projects Advances in the US Senate

On May 6, 2015, the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs voted 12-1 in favor of a bill designed to streamline the Federal permitting process for major energy and infrastructure projects. The bill,...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

CEQA Judicial Outcomes: Fifteen Years of Reported California Appellate and Supreme Court Decisions

This report analyzes all published opinions from 1997 through 2012 litigated to the California Court of Appeal or the California Supreme Court concerning the analytical validity of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC Approval of Maryland Natural Gas Facility

On April 24, the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community v. FERC, upholding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC” or the “Commission”) approval of Dominion Transmission’s...more

Saskatchewan Court of Appeal: No Surface Activity Means No Duty to Consult First Nations

In its recent decision in Buffalo River Dene Nation v. Saskatchewan (Energy and Resources), the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan held that the government was not required to consult the Buffalo River Dene Nation (BRDN) before...more

Lone Pine Loss: Supreme Court of Colorado Says State Rules Don’t Allow Use of Lone Pine Orders in Natural Gas Drilling Case

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Colorado issued its long-awaited decision in Antero Resources Corp. v. Strudley and held that the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure do not allow a trial court to issue a modified case...more

Opponents of EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan Face Tough Questions From the Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral argument on the first legal challenges to EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” on April 16, 2015. The plan is a proposed rule under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air...more

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