Energy & Utilities Updates

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Energy & Utilities issues written by leading professionals.
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The Problem With Using Economic Incentives to Reduce Water Use? People

Earlier this month, I noted that demand side management policies need to take human behavior into account if they are going to be successful. The same is apparently true for policies to reduce water consumption in...more

San Francisco Cannot Sue Federal Agency For Gas Explosion Under APA

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit issued its Opinion in City & County of San Francisco v. US Department of Transportation, holding the City may not proceed against the Secretary of Transportation and the Pipeline and Hazardous...more

Water Conservation Pays off in California

Cities and communities throughout California logged impressive water savings during the month of June, according to the State Water Resources Control Board. Figures released Thursday show the use of urban potable water in...more

Iowa Modifies its Renewable Energy Tax Credit Regime

The governor of Iowa has signed into law House File 645 (the “Act”) modifying statutory provisions related to Iowa’s renewable energy tax credits, effective June 26, 2015. There are four primary changes, three of which are...more

Activists ask Court to Scrap EIR and Stop Fracking

Today, July 30, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) filed a complaint in Sacramento County Superior Court against the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”). CBD claims, among other things, that DOGGR...more

2015 Summary of Key Maine Environmental Legislation

The Pierce Atwood Environmental and Land Use Practice Group is pleased to provide the 2015 Summary of Key Maine Environmental Legislation enacted or carried over in the First Regular Session of Maine's 127th Legislature...more

Proposed Rule from US Department of the Interior Increases Pressure on Coal Mining Industry

On July 27, 2015, the US Department of the Interior, through its Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), proposed to revise regulations adopted under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of...more

EPA Ordered to Revise CSAPR Emissions Budgets

On July 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revise emissions budgets for several states under the agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR or the...more

D.C. District Court Judge Chastises the Department of the Interior, Ordering It to Deliver a Plan on a BLM Drilling Permit, After...

On July 27, 2015, D.C. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon entered a strongly worded order in Solenex LLC v. Jewell, chastising the defendants, including the Department of the Interior and numerous other federal agencies,...more

Natural Contaminants Exceed Human-Made Contaminants in California’s Groundwater

Defendants in groundwater contamination cases in California have additional evidence to direct blame where it should be placed – on naturally occurring contaminants. An extensive study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has...more

Tenth Circuit Finds Price-Anderson Act Does Not Preempt Nuisance Claims

This decision departs from all other federal circuits that have addressed the issue and, if adopted by other courts, represents a significant expansion of potential liability for operators in the nuclear energy industry....more

The D.C. Circuit Sends EPA Back to the Drawing Board to Fix Its Transport Rule Emissions Budgets

The Clean Air Act’s good neighbor provision prohibits upwind states from emitting air pollutants in amounts that will “contribute significantly to nonattainment” of a national ambient air quality standard in a downwind state....more

EPA and the Army Corps Seeking to Consolidate Challenges to Recently Issued “Waters of the United States” Rule

Since the EPA and the Army Corps published the final rule defining “waters of the United States” on June 29, 2015, 72 plaintiffs have already filed ten separate complaints in eight federal district courts challenging the...more

Tax Policy Update

First it was three years, now it’s three months. The Senate’s attempt to pass a multiyear highway bill ran off the road this week after House Republicans announced they will adjourn one day early for the month-long August...more

California Supreme Court Denies Requests to Depublish San Juan Capistrano Case

Action Means the Closely Watched Tiered Water Rate Case Is Final - The California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied requests to depublish the appellate court opinion in Capistrano Taxpayers Association v. City of San...more

MSHA Workplace Examination “Clarification” Places Enforcement Target Squarely on Operators

Over the years, the Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) has tried on two different occasions to overhaul the workplace examination standard at 30 CFR §56/57.18002 by issuing program policy letters. The agency’s primary...more

New Battleground Emerges in New York Fracing Debate

When New York officially banned hydraulic fracturing in late June 2015, many assumed the long-heated political debate was over and there would be no fracing in New York unless the courts overturned the ban. In less than a...more

Why project bonds are on the rise in Latin America

Latin American project bonds continue to grow as a source of infrastructure financing, particularly as private capital is needed to close multi-billion-dollar shortfalls in spending for needed infrastructure projects in Latin...more

Shocking? – Insurers Consider Potential Aggregate Risks from a Power Grid Attack

In the fast-developing cyber insurance marketplace, insurers have closely considered the possible risks and have analyzed the potential aggregation of such risks. While not the only topics of interest to insurers, these two...more

AUC Finds TransAlta Guilty of Manipulating Electricity Market

In a landmark and long anticipated decision, on July 27, 2015, the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) released its 217-page decision in Market Surveillance Administrator allegations against TransAlta Corporation et al., Mr....more

Pennsylvania Court: Using Property for Gas Storage Holds Production Rights Under “Dual Purpose” Leases

A recent trial victory for Range Resources – Appalachia LLC and Columbia Energy Ventures LLC (CEV) fills gaps left by the prior leading decisions on “dual purpose” storage and production leases, and cements the rights of...more

Contracts – It’s More About the Drafting Than the Suing

It’s been said that your most important decisions are made when you write your contract, not when you have to sue on it. Kachina Pipeline Company v. Lillis agrees. In a gas-purchase agreement, can the pipeline operator...more

Competition News July-August 2015

French merger control: The Competition Authority agrees to approve the prospective acquirer of assets sold by the purchaser - On May 15, 2015, the Competition Authority authorized, subject to certain conditions, the...more

DOE Releases Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Northern Pass Project

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Northern Pass Transmission, LLC’s proposed 187-mile transmission line across the United States-Canada border in New...more

Energy & Environment Update - July 2015 #4

Energy and Climate Debate - Energy and climate issues will garner substantial attention between now and the August recess, and congressional, Administration, and international efforts will remain high through the end of...more

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