Energy & Utilities Updates

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Energy & Utilities issues written by leading professionals.
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Africa Update - October 2015

Leading the News - Burkina Faso: On October 1st, authorities in Burkina Faso said General Gilbert Diendere, the leader behind a recent coup attempt in the country, was in the custody of security forces. According to...more

California Takes the Bronze: Implications and Impacts of California’s SB 350

On October 7, Gov. Brown signed into law the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (“SB 350”) 2015. This comes as no surprise, because when the state legislature passed SB 350 on September 11, 2015, Gov. Brown said...more

Updates on Environmental, Administrative and Regulatory Law: EARL e-News: EPA Strengthens Power Plant Water Discharge Regulations

On September 30, 2015, the EPA finalized a revision to its wastewater effluent standards for power plants. The new regulation (which takes effect sixty days after Federal Register publication of the revision) updates a 1982...more

Court Dismisses Landowners’ Objections to Mariner East 2 Eminent Domain Request

In an Order issued September 29, 2015, Cumberland County Judge Edward Guido dismissed all the preliminary objections filed by a group of landowners challenging the right of Sunoco Pipeline LP to condemn property for the...more

Eighth Circuit Upholds FERC Rule on Co-op Avoided Cost Rates

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has upheld the long-standing determination by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that the avoided cost rate paid by a distribution cooperative for energy purchased...more

EPA Issues Final Residual Risk Rule for Refineries

On September 29, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued substantial new regulations to control hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from petroleum refineries. The final rule arises from the “residual...more

Environmentalists Issue Notice of Intent to Sue EPA for Alleged Failure to Review and Revise RCRA Oil and Gas Regulations

On August 26, 2015, seven environmental groups (“Environmental Parties”) issued a Notice of Intent to Sue (“NOI”) United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Administrator Gina McCarthy for EPA’s failure to meet its...more

Consequential Loss in Energy Commodity Contracts

Energy commodity contracts can be of significant monetary value, and their breach may expose the defaulting counterparty to significant liabilities for contractual damages. In considering potential liabilities, contracting...more

Energy Technology Connections Newsletter: Your Law Firm Link to Industry News - October 2015

A Note from the Editors - Our October edition of Energy Technology Connections brings you recent industry highlights, the latest news from Capitol Hill, and a list of upcoming energy industry events. In Leaders in the...more

Hyperdynamics Resolves FCPA Investigation with SEC Settlement

On September 29, Hyperdynamics Corp. announced a settlement with the SEC, fully resolving the SEC’s FCPA investigation into the Houston-based oil and gas company’s operations in the Republic of Guinea. The SEC proceeded via...more

Commenters Weigh in on Proposed Regulations for Determining MLP Qualifying Income

IRS’ proposed MLP regulations generate flurry of specific industry-related comments and spur public hearing. “I’m mad as Hell, and, frankly, I’m not going to take it anymore.” — Paraphrase of concerned citizen and...more

EPA Finalizes Tougher Ozone Standards

On October 1, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final rule lowering the ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb nationwide (2015 Ozone...more

Hitachi Settles SEC FCPA Case for $19M

On September 28, the SEC filed a settled complaint in Washington, D.C. federal court against Tokyo-based Hitachi, Ltd. for alleged FCPA books and records and internal controls offenses. According to the SEC’s Complaint, the...more

Policy and Legal Implications of Implementing Renewable Energy at Scale: Getting the Most Out of The Clean Power Plan (Part 3 of...

On August 3, the Obama Administration released the much anticipated final Clean Power Plan (CPP). The nation’s first ever standard to address power plan pollution has an ambitious overall goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 32%...more

SENER Publishes Mexican Wholesale Electricity Market Protocols

In a major step toward the implementation of a modern and competitive wholesale electricity market in Mexico (the "Wholesale Market"), on September 8, 2015 the Secretaría de Energía ("SENER") published the first set of...more

Energy & Environment Update - October 2015

Energy and Climate Debate - With Congress avoiding a government shutdown by passing a continuing resolution last week, both the House and Senate are in session this week with full schedules, including several energy and...more

Operating a Well in California May Automatically Put You At Risk for a Prop 65 Lawsuit

California's Proposition 65 is notorious for its duty-to-warn requirement, which states that a business must give a clear and reasonable warning prior to exposing people to certain levels of any listed chemical. The warning...more

Career change made as oil prices drop

Terry D. Ragsdale knew he had to make a career change in the 1980s as energy prices plummeted. It didn’t look like the industry could or would rebound. Nor did he think that after the recent high prices that he would see a...more

Cleantech and solar photovoltaic innovation – an area of opportunity for the mining industry

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) funding priorities for new investment represent an area of opportunity for the mining industry. While investment in clean technology may, on the surface, seem at odds with the...more

CPUC Set to Tackle Net Metering Debate with New Distributed Generation Tariff

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) could soon make big changes to how rooftop solar installations function in the state. Under Assembly Bill 327, enacted in 2013, the CPUC has until December 31, 2015 to...more

Justice Department Recovers Nearly $6 Billion From False Claims Act Cases in 2014

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) obtained a record $5.69 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government in fiscal year 2014. This marks the first time the DOJ...more

PHMSA Announces Proposed Pipeline Safety Regulations

On October 1, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced proposed regulations to revise and update its pipeline safety standards and reporting...more

SEC Proposes Schedule for Disclosure Rules Regarding Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers – Final Rules by June 27, 2016

On September 2, a federal judge held that the SEC had “unlawfully withheld” agency action by failing to promulgate final rules requiring disclosure of government payments by resource extraction issuers and gave the SEC 30...more

Pipeline Proposal Would Expand Reporting and Testing, Cost $22.4M Annually

This year has been marked by a series of high-profile pipeline incidents in Montana, West Virginia and California, among others. In response to these incidents, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration...more

Battle Lines Drawn in Arizona Solar Rate Design Cases

Electric utilities and residential solar companies continue to wrangle over charges applicable to rooftop solar customers. Recent filings in rate design cases involving Arizona Public Service Company (APS) and UNS Electric,...more

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