Energy & Utilities Administrative Agency

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FAA Proposes Framework of Regulations For Small-Scale Commercial Drones

On Feb. 15 the Federal Aviation Administration released its long-awaited proposed framework for regulating small-scale commercial drones, which weigh less than 55 pounds.1 In its proposal, the FAA made explicitly clear that...more

D.C. Circuit Vacates 100-Hour Exemption for Emergency Generators

On May 1, 2015, the D.C. Circuit in Delaware v. EPA vacated a portion of EPA’s National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Reciprocating Internal...more

New Standards for Shipping Crude Oil, Petroleum Products and Renewable Fuel by Rail

On Friday, May 1, the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) issued a final rule establishing new requirements for transporting flammable liquids in a continuous block of 20 or more tank cars or 35 or more tank cars loaded...more

“Peace Train” or “Crazy Train”?

In my former days defending agency actions in federal court, I had a standard line I used with frequent success when rules were attacked by all sides: “Your Honor, we’ve been sued here by both industry and environmental...more

Tough Mandatory Water Restrictions of up to 36 Percent Retained in Draft Emergency Drought Regulation for California

State Water Resources Control Board Cites Need to Avoid Potential “Catastrophic Impacts” - The State Water Resources Control Board released revisions to its draft emergency regulations to restrict overall potable urban...more

EPA Is Not an Expert in Determining Electric System Reliability

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed and remanded EPA’s rule allowing backup generators to operate for up to 100 hours per year as necessary for demand response. It’s an important decision that could have lessons...more

Recent Crude-by-Rail Developments

The transportation of crude oil by rail continues to be a key issue for rail and energy industry stakeholders as well as policy makers. Below is a summary of recent developments. 1. DOT Takes Six Crude-by-Rail Safety...more

Supreme Court Finds No Pre-emption in Natural Gas Act Case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held in ONEOK Inc. v. Learjet, Inc., that the Natural Gas Act (NGA) does not pre-empt state-law antitrust suits over manipulation of natural gas indices. The court’s decision has important...more

Oil on the Rails: States Increasing Regulation of Oil Trains

The increase in North American petroleum production in recent years, coupled with inadequate pipeline infrastructure, has resulted in a significant rise of, and reliance on, the transport of crude oil by rail. Public...more

Mixology 101: Blending Trade Secret Protections and Fracking Chemical Reporting

Whether you live in the East, the Great Plains, the Southwest, or the Rocky Mountain West, the oil and gas industry’s use of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in oil and gas development is something you have likely heard a...more

Justices Spar Over Pre-Emption as High Court Allows State Law Antitrust Claims to Proceed Against Interstate Pipelines

On April 21, 2015, in a 7-2 decision authored by Justice Breyer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state law antitrust claims brought against interstate pipeline companies by a group of manufacturers and other retail buyers...more

Long-Awaited California Residential Rate Design Reform Proposed at California Public Utilities Commission

On April 21, two Administrative Law Judges at the California Public Utilities Commission issued a long-anticipated proposed decision on residential rate design reform for the 3 large investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in...more

Canada’s Federal Budget 2015: A Significant Boost to Canadian LNG and Resources

In its last budget before a fall election, the Canadian federal government made a number of new spending commitments in energy and resources area, and also made significant changes to the tax and financing regime for...more

PHMSA Targeting Pipeline Construction - Enforcement Focus on 60-Day Notification Requirement

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has stepped up enforcement efforts concerning pipeline and LNG terminal construction. Construction-related inspections have resulted in a number of recent enforcement...more

ONEOK, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc.: The Supreme Court Holds that Natural Gas Jurisdictional Sellers are Subject to State Antitrust...

On April 21, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in ONEOK Inc. v. Learjet, Inc. addressing the extent to which the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”) preempts state antitrust claims brought against...more

Newly Installed FERC Chairman Norman Bay’s Past Opinions Signal Preference for Energetic Use of Commission Authority

On April 15, 2015, Norman Bay assumed the chairmanship of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”). Prior to taking the chairman’s role, Chairman Bay was appointed to the Commission in July 2014 after five years of...more

Environment Agency changes regulatory approach to existing onshore oil and gas facilities

Earlier this month, the Environment Agency (EA) published a new regulatory position statement on the environmental permitting of existing onshore oil and gas facilities (including shale gas facilities)....more

Recent Settlement Under EPA’s Energy Extraction Initiative Provides Insight For Future Enforcement in the Oil and Gas Industry

Given its patchwork of regulatory authority over operations in the oil and natural gas industry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has adopted a national enforcement initiative to focus its efforts. Through its...more

Five Years in the Making: Improved Safety for Offshore Oil and Gas Development

Sometimes new regulations come out of nowhere. And sometimes it is just a matter of time. Last week’s unveiling of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (“BSEE”) offshore blowout preventer and well control...more

FERC Finalizes Rule on Natural Gas and Electric Scheduling Practices

The reforms are aimed to address natural gas and electric scheduling concerns resulting from the increase in gas-fired generation, to provide greater flexibility to industry participants, and to better ensure reliable and...more

FERC Issues Policy Statement On Natural Gas Pipeline Modernization Cost Recovery

On April 16, 2015, FERC issued a Policy Statement in Cost Recovery Mechanisms for Modernization of Natural Gas Facilities, Docket No. PL15-1-000, 151 FERC ¶ 61,047 (2015). Effective October 1, 2015, the Policy Statement...more

BSEE and DOI Take Action on Five-Year Anniversary of Deepwater Horizon

Action Item: BSEE has proposed significant changes to BOP systems and well operations in light of the five-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon incident. Stakeholders in offshore oil and gas operations should carefully...more

State Water Board Releases Proposed Emergency Regulations Imposing Strict Reductions in Water Use

In the wake of Governor Jerry Brown's April 1, 2015 Executive Order to reduce potable water use by 25% from 2013 levels, on April 18, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board released its proposed text of emergency...more

Draft Mandatory Regulation Restricting Water Use Released by California Water Resources Control Board

Expanded Tiering System; Next Round of Comments Due Wednesday - Moving at a swift pace, the State Water Resources Control Board released a draft emergency regulation over the weekend that, for the first time, would...more

MassDEP Provided Substantial Discretion to Interpret Legislative Mandate in Global Warming Solutions Act

Just how much discretion will the courts give to the MassDEP to interpret legislative intent when it implements legislative directives such as a requirement to develop rules under the Global Warming Solutions Act? The...more

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