Civil Remedies Energy & Utilities

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Easements Made Easier: Building Pipelines with the Power of Eminent Domain Under the Natural Gas Act

Any person or entity seeking to construct a natural gas pipeline and successful in obtaining a certificate of convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may exercise the power of eminent domain to...more

B.C. Surface Rights Board Reduces Rent Payable After Landowners Fail to Prove Loss

In the recent decision of the B.C. Surface Rights Board in Encana Corporation v Perry Burl Piper and Leslie Lancelot Dowd, the Board awarded compensation to landowners less than the amount previously offered by the operator. ...more

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Legal Update: Judge Makes Findings of Gross Negligence and Negligence

While the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has largely disappeared from the news headlines, for the parties involved in the litigation, the legal machinations, particularly with respect to liability, have a long way still to...more

New Jersey Appellate Court Limits Measure of Damages for Contaminated Properties

On August 27, 2014, the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled in favor of Puritan Oil against a New Jersey property owner, finding that where the oil company had already taken steps to remedy contamination it caused on...more

FERC Issues Declaratory Orders in Shell and Pivotal Proceedings Related to LNG Production Facilities

On September 4, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) issued declaratory orders in response to two petitions, each seeking a jurisdictional determination under the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”)...more

Texas Supreme Court Argument Preview (9/14)

On Wednesday, September 17, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court will hear argument in three cases. The arguments will begin at 9:00 am, and you can watch them live. You can also watch the recording later at the same link....more

Yes, Virginia, It Is Possible To Win A Fee Award Against An Environmental NGO

Last week, Judge Walter Smith, Jr., ordered the Sierra Club to pay more than six million dollars – yes, you read that correctly – to Energy Future Holdings and Luminant Generation, after finding that the Sierra Club’s Clean...more

Freedom to Contract Prevails in New Mexico

Is freedom to contract a good thing for everybody? First Baptist Church of Roswell v. Yates Petroleum Corp. says yes, and confirms that the public policy in New Mexico is freedom to contract. In this case, it was to avoid...more

Nuisance Claims Becoming More Than a Mere Nuisance in Texas

Plaintiffs Bob and Lisa Parr obtained a $2.9 million verdict in April 2014 against Aruba Petroleum, Inc. for health problems allegedly related to oil and gas drilling operations and air emissions near their home. The large...more

CO2 is Good

In French vs. Occidental Permian, Ltd. the Texas Supreme Court held that costs associated with injection of carbon dioxide into a reservoir in a tertiary recovery operation were properly deducted from royalties. This...more

Federal Court of Appeals Rules that California Water District May Recover Expectancy Damages from the United States

Opinion Reverses Trial Court, and Bureau of Reclamation May Owe Additional Damages for Breach of Water Supply Contract - A recent federal appellate decision may clear the way for water purveyors to collect damages when...more

Water District Shorted by Federal Government May Recover Expectancy Damages

A federal appellate court may have made it possible for water purveyors to collect additional damages from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation when water deliveries are shortened due to an inexcusable breach of contract. The...more

Fifth Circuit Reins In Trend of Expanding ESA Liability for Remote Harm

The Fifth Circuit's recent decision in The Aransas Project v. Shaw, No. 13-40317 (5th Cir. June 30, 2014), clarified two points relating to the element of causation in claims under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). ...more

Energy Charter Treaty and the YUKOS/Russia experience

On 28 July 2014, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague published a final award in an Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) arbitration that has been active for the past decade, ordering the Russian Federation (Russia) to pay...more

Court Provides Guidelines on Valuing Natural Resources in Eminent Domain Proceedings

Valuing mineral rights in eminent domain proceedings is inherently speculative and can lead to wide swings in property valuations. So how do appraisers best deal with the uncertainty involved in mineral exploitation? The...more

Historic Award in the Yukos Majority Shareholders Arbitration

In this issue: - Background of dispute - Tax reassessments - Harassment of Yukos - Settlement offers - “Rigged” auction - Harassment of PwC - Bankruptcy - Legal...more

District Court Denies Motion to Enjoin Delta Water Transfers

Last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion brought by environmental groups to enjoin a water transfer project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta). Plaintiffs...more

Frac(k)ing, Parr v. Aruba, and Minority Oppression

WHAT IS IT, FRACING OR FRACKING? Having gone back-and-forth over how to spell the process, I’ve figured it out....more

Nuisance Verdicts in the Barnett Shale: Two claims arising out of the same natural gas operations yield two very different...

On April 10, 2014, a Fort Worth jury rejected a landowner's nuisance claim against a well operator in Teri Anglim v. Chesapeake Operating Inc., 2011-008256-1. Plaintiff Teri Anglim claimed that Chesapeake's operations at two...more

Proximate Cause and Foreseeability Are Required Elements of Endangered Species Act Liability: Fifth Circuit Reverses Injunction...

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed an injunction that would have prohibited the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) from issuing new water withdrawal permits affecting an estuary where...more

Texas Supreme Court Holds Cost to Remove Carbon Dioxide Injected in Enhanced Recovery Operations Is Properly Deductible from...

On June 27, the Supreme Court of Texas issued an opinion in Marcia Fuller French, et al v. Occidental Permian Ltd., No 12-002 (Tex. June 27, 2014), a case closely followed by the oil and gas industry. In its unanimous...more

Court of Appeal Upholds State Water Board Regulation Targeting Frost-Prevention Activities of Vineyards in Mendocino and Sonoma...

In Light v. State Water Resources Control Board (Opinion filed 6/16/2014), California’s First Appellate District upheld a State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) regulation that will potentially limit the amount of water...more

$2.9 Million Jury Award For Texas Fracking Claim: Lessons for Energy Company Risk Managers

A jury in Dallas recently awarded $2.9 million to a Texas family in one of the first trials involving allegations that hydraulic fracturing caused nearby residents to suffer health problems and property damage. Although...more

One Step Closer… Fifth Circuit Affirms BP Loss on CWA Liability Regarding Gulf Spill

The Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico occurred over four years ago, accompanied by numerous stories trumpeting the fact that BP would likely pay as much as $25 billion to the United States in civil penalties...more

Kids Get Their Day in Court on Climate Change

On June 11, the Oregon Court of Appeals held that two teens are entitled to a judicial declaration of whether there exists a “public trust” obligation in state officials to “protect the State’s atmosphere as well as the...more

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