Conflict of Laws Energy & Utilities

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EPA Asks STB to Resolve Preemption Question

The Administrator of Region IX of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has petitioned the Surface Transportation Board (STB) for a declaratory order to address whether locomotive idling rules issued by the South Coast...more

Fracking Heats Up in California: Moratoria and Earthquakes

The last several weeks have seen some interesting developments suggesting an increase in temperature in the debate over hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in California. First, a couple of jurisdictions took actions...more

Fifth Circuit Limits Pollution Liability

In a significant decision issued February 24, 2014, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal laws preempt state laws in the case of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, because the event occurred in federal...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declares Portions of Marcellus Shale Act Unconstitutional, Upholds Local Regulation of Oil and Gas...

On December 19, 2013, in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania et al., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared portions of Act 13 of 2012 (Act 13), commonly known as the “Marcellus Shale Act,” unconstitutional. As...more

PA Supreme Court Holds Portions of Oil and Gas Act Unconstitutional

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently held that several provisions of Act 13 of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act are unconstitutional as it gives Marcellus Shale and natural gas drillers unfettered access to drilling...more

Litigation Over Hydraulic Fracturing in New York Rolls On, As Arguments Are Made To High Court The Same Week A New Lawsuit Emerges...

On December 16, 2013, the Town of Dryden, New York filed its merits brief with the New York Court of Appeals, arguing that state law does not preempt the Town’s local zoning ordinance purporting to ban hydraulic fracturing....more

ALJ Rules Mine Operators Do Not Have Right to Perform Pre-operational Examinations of Equipment Prior to MSHA Inspection, Citing...

In an opinion issued on December 10, 2013, Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission Administrative Law Judge Richard Manning ruled that allowing operators to perform examinations of mobile equipment immediately prior...more

Colorado Oil and Gas Association Files Suit Against Fracking Bans

On December 3, 2013, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (“COGA”) filed suits challenging citizen-passed initiatives that ban oil and gas activities in the cities of Fort Collins and Lafayette. The ordinance passed by the...more

A Summary of the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act (H.R. 2728)

On November 20, 2013, the House passed Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act (H.R. 2728), giving state law primacy over federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing. The key provisions of the bill...more

House Passes Legislation Which Would Prohibit Department of the Interior from Enforcing Federal Fracturing Regulations

On November 20, 2013, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2728, Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act, which was introduced by Representative Bill Flores (R-Texas)...more

White House Threatens Veto Of House Bill Giving States Primacy Over Federal Regulation Of Hydraulic Fracturing On Federal Lands

On November 20, the U.S. House of Representatives began floor debate on a bill giving state law primacy over federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing on federal lands: H.R. 2728 (“Protecting States’ Rights and Preventing...more

House of Representatives to Consider Legislation Relating to Hydraulic Fracturing

The House of Representatives plans to consider two bills relating to hydraulic fracturing next week. The first of the two, H.R. 2728, Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act, was introduced by...more

Maryland and New Jersey Programs Supporting New Generation Invalidated

Two federal district courts recently found that the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") over wholesale sales of electricity under the Federal Power Act (the "FPA") preempts state...more

Another Judicial Assault On GHG Emissions

The federal courts barred federal common law nuisance actions to obtain money damages or injunctive relief. American Elec. Power Co. v. Connecticut, 131 S. Ct. 2527 (2011)(holding nuisance claims seeking injunctive relief...more

Whatever Happened To State Law Carbon Dioxide Liability Claims? Still No Music After Bell

“Therefore, the Court declines to assert supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims which are dismissed without prejudice to their presentation in a state court action.” So ends the last analytical...more

Federal Court Finds New Jersey’s Long-Term Capacity Pilot Project Unconstitutional

On October 11, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey issued its decision in PPL Energyplus, LLC v. Hanna. This case follows a recent decision in which the U.S. District Court for the District...more

MD and NJ Programs Subsidizing New Power Plants Found Unconstitutional in Separate Federal Decisions

On October 11, 2013, New Jersey’s Long-Term Capacity Pilot Program (LCAPP) became the second state program designed to foster the development of new in-state power plants to be found unconstitutional in as many weeks. In late...more

Third Circuit Decision Finding No CAA Preemption of State Law Nuisance Creates Apparent Split With Fourth Circuit

A recent case from the Third Circuit has muddied the waters for emissions facilities complying with Clean Air Act (“CAA”) permits. In Bell v. Cheswick Generating Station, 2013 WL 4418637 (Aug. 20, 2013), the Third Circuit...more

Judge Upholds DOGGR's Application of UIC Fracking Exemption

Last week, a judge in Alameda County Superior Court denied the Center for Biological Diversity’s motion for summary judgment in a case arguing that DOGGR is obligated to regulate hydraulic fracturing activities under the...more

Second Circuit Affirms Exxon Judgment, Rejects Clean Air Act Preemption Argument

Exxon Mobil Corp. must pay up, so said a three judge panel of the Second Circuit late last month. Opening the door to a flood of litigation concerning the gasoline additive MTBE, the Second Circuit affirmed a jury verdict...more

The Atomic Energy Act Preempts Vermont’s Efforts To Close Vermont Yankee: Sometimes, Legislative Intent Is Just Too Clear To...

Last week, in Entergy v. Shumlin, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals largely struck down Vermont’s efforts to close Vermont Yankee. Although three separate Vermont statutes were at issue, and Entergy made both preemption and...more

We Still Don’t Need No Stinkin Cooperative Federalism: The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Holds that GHG Sources Require PSD...

Last Friday, I posted about the limits to EPA’s cooperation with states in the name of “cooperative federalism” under the Clean Air Act. On the same day, in Texas v. EPA, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals only emphasized my...more

The New Range Wars: CEQA and the Williamson Act Are Deployed To Fight Global Warming Solutions In Save Panoche Valley

Nothing says “battle royal” quite like pitting several of California’s heavyweight environmental laws against one another in a “winner-take-all” litigation brawl....more

Court of Appeals to Hear Fracking Ban Case?

Last week, Norse Energy filed its Notice of Appeal to the New York State Court of Appeals. ...more

N.Y. Appellate Court: Municipalities Can Ban O&G Activity

An intermediate appellate court in New York recently affirmed that a local government has the authority to enact zoning ordinances banning all oil and natural gas activities within municipal limits. In 2011, the Town of...more

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