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The Unintended Effects of Protecting the Environment – How Banning Fracking Can Lead San Benito County To Bankruptcy

On November 4, 2014, San Benito County voters went to the poles to vote on Measure J, the measure designed to prohibit hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and related gas and oil extraction activities, as well as other...more

Ballard Spahr Lawyers Turn Back Robinson Township Challenge to Waste-to-Energy Facility

Although some have suggested that Robinson Township, et al. v. Commonwealth, a 2013 Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that struck down key provisions of a state law regulating the oil and gas industry, could impair...more

SB-1281 Amended to Remove Requirement for Oil, Gas Drillers to Use Recycled Water

SB-1281 faced strong industry opposition due to the bill’s requirement that oil and gas drilling companies use recycled water for new operations during drought emergencies. Industry representatives have stated that such...more

Governor Christie Vetoes New Jersey Fracking Ban

Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have banned the treatment, discharge, and disposal of fracking wastewater in the state, arguing that the bill violated the United States...more

Mexico Energy Reform: Secondary Legislation Enacted

President Peña Nieto announces short-term plans for accelerating the reform’s implementation. On August 11, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced that federal legislation was enacted to implement the...more

Industry Group Sues Compton for Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing

The City of Compton is being sued for its ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing, effective on April 22, 2014. (Western States Petroleum Association v. City of Compton, et al., Case No.BC552272.) Although Compton is not...more

Colorado Supreme Court Clears Ballot Initiative Aimed at Bolstering Local Control of Oil and Gas Drilling

On June 30, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion In the Matter of the Title, Ballot Title, and Submission Clause for 2013–2014 #89[1] (Initiative 89). In affirming the finding of the state’s Ballot Title Setting...more

2014 Florida Legislative Post-Session Report

The 2014 Legislature came into session in early March and adjourned in early May. Florida lawmakers passed more than 260 bills, 26 of them applied only to local areas. One proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution was...more

Governor Renews Drought Declaration And Orders Contract Provisions Voided

Soon after entering government service, California was hit by the Northridge Earthquake. As General Counsel to the Business, Transportation & Housing Agency, I received a call directing that I prepare draft executive orders...more

Federal Judge Strikes Down Minnesota Energy Law

A federal judge, in a ruling issued today, struck down a portion of Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act (NGEA) because it violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by attempting to regulate the generation of...more

Debates Continue Over Taxes And Fees On Hydraulic Fracturing In Ohio And Pennsylvania

In exchange for a $2.6 billion cut to Ohio’s state income taxes, Gov. John Kasich has proposed a package of tax increases in other areas. Included among those increases would be the gradual implementation of a 2.75 percent...more

Colorado Group Submits Another Anti-Fracking Statewide Ballot Petition For Consideration

Colorado voters may have yet another anti-fracking statewide ballot initiative to consider this November. The proposed constitutional amendment that was submitted to the Colorado Legislative Council on February 21 would...more

An Unprecedented Change in Mexican Energy Politics

In an unprecedented change in Mexican energy politics, the government has amended its Political Constitution to allow the participation of private capital in its upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas businesses. The...more

President Obama's Fifth State of the Union Address – A Little Something for Everyone

As required by Article II, Section 3, of the United States Constitution, President Obama appeared last night before members of the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, the Judiciary, certain members of his...more

Pennsylvania Governor Asks Supreme Court to Reconsider Decision Striking Down Act 13

Governor Tom Corbett is asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reconsider its December 19, 2013 decision striking down key provisions of Act 13 — a bill aimed at regulation of drilling activity in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus...more

Political Trends in Latin American Oil: Mexico and Venezuela

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has responded to over a decade of declining oil and gas production with vocal support of reform of the Mexican energy sector. While the Mexican Constitution provides PEMEX a monopoly in...more

Taxpayer Settlement Agreement Waives Future Claims and Judicially Estops Contradictory Claims

After challenging a 1991 Utility User Tax, taxpayers negotiated a monetary settlement agreement with Los Angeles County. The settlement agreement also provided for an election to validate the tax. After the election, a...more

New California Law Establishes Additional Requirements for Conducting Elections Involving Stormwater and Flood Control Service...

Public Agencies Must Adhere to New Steps By Next Summer - Public agencies that handle water, sewer, and solid waste services in California are required to comply with certain mailed notice and majority protest public...more

The Renewable Resources Coalition Case: Pleading Around California’s Anti-SLAPP Statute

The California Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Renewable Resources Coalition, Inc. v. Pebble Mines Corporation, et al., 218 Cal.App.4th 384 (July 20, 2013), illustrates perfectly the importance of careful drafting of...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

Local Initiative Measures May Not Set Water Rates Lower than Amount Needed to Cover Required Costs under the Water Code

After a county water district raised its water and sewer rates, opponents of the rate hikes qualified two initiatives for the ballot to reverse the increase. The district filed a court action for declaratory relief, arguing...more

Proposition 26 Does Not Apply Retroactively to Existing Local Assessments, Fees, or Charges

Proposition 26 expanded the definition of the term “tax” for purposes of article XIII C of the California Constitution in order to halt evasions of Proposition 218. A Court of Appeal recently addressed whether Proposition 26...more

Court Rules Voter Initiative Cannot Force Water District to Set Rates Below Level Mandated by State Statute - Water Districts Must...

In Mission Springs Water District v. Verjil, a California appellate court invalidated voter initiatives that had proposed to reduce a water district’s recently adopted rate increases and limit the amount the district could...more

American Suspicions Could Deter Chinese Investment

Chinese officials have long complained about American national security reviews, insisting they are an obstacle to Chinese investment in the United States....more

After Expensive Campaign, Proposal 3 Rejected By Voters

The renewable energy initiated constitutional amendment on the November 6 statewide ballot (Proposal 3) was defeated 62 percent to 38 percent. The proposal would have constitutionally mandated that by 2025, 25 percent of the...more

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