Energy & Utilities Civil Procedure

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Supreme Court's Petition Denial in Clean Air Act Pre-emption Case Reinforces Threat From Common Law Claims

The United States Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari earlier this month after the Iowa Supreme Court held in June that the plaintiffs' nuisance claims were not pre-empted by the Clean Air Act (CAA) in Freeman v....more

Fish Two, Water Withdrawals Zero: The 9th Circuit Affirms Another Biological Opinion

On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dealt another blow to traditional operation of the massive water projects that supply California’s Central Valley. The Court reversed those parts of a District Court opinion that...more

Construction E-Note - December 2014

In this issue: - Construction Expected to Increase in 2015 - What Now? Why Maryland's Decision to Recognize the International Green Construction Code May Signal a Major Shift in the Means Utilized to Implement...more

Proof and Causation Matter: District Court Declines to Penalize ExxonMobil in Texas Citizen Suit

On Wednesday, Judge David Hittner, of the District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in a decision long enough to require two separate pdfs, declined to impose an injunction or penalties (plaintiffs sought...more

The D.C. Circuit Remands FERC Order Denying Refunds for Changes to Cost Allocation

On December 5, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit remanded an order of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denying refunds to certain Louisiana-based utility companies for rates that...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide FutureGen Clean Coal Dispute

In the closing days of its November term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to decide an issue of potentially enormous consequence to a major Illinois utility, agreeing to review an order of the Illinois Commerce Commission...more

Class Actions Can Strain Retail Electric Providers

In August 2014, a putative class action suit was brought against Ambit Energy Holdings LLC, Ambit Texas, LLC, Ambit Northeast LLC, and Ambit New York, LLC (collectively, “Ambit”) in New Jersey federal district court. Class...more

Court Considers Unreasonably Withholding Consent under CAPL Operating Procedure in Precedent-Setting Decision

In IFP Technologies (Canada) v Encana Midstream and Marketing, 2014 ABQB 470, the Court clarified for the first time the circumstances in which a party that waives its right of first refusal under Article 24 of the 1990 CAPL...more

SCOTUS Rules CAFA Removal Notices Need Contain Only a Plausible Allegation That Amount in Controversy is Satisfied

On December 15, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States decided a critical issue regarding Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) removals. Specifically, the Supreme Court settled a controversy surrounding what...more

Fourth District’s Split Decision Further Complicates CEQA Requirements Surrounding GHG Impact Analysis and Mitigation Measures –...

Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments (11/24/14, D063288) - In a split decision on November 24, 2014, the Fourth District California Court of Appeal invalidated the program EIR...more

FERC Will Seek Supreme Court Review of the Decision Striking Down Order 745

Last Friday, FERC sought a further stay of the decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down FERC Order 745. Whereas the United States had previously only indicated that it was considering filing a cert....more

Energy Newsletter - December 2014

In This Issue: - Plans to build the first coal gasification plant in Britain - Letters of credit, on-demand bonds, and the "fraud exception" - Argentina amends its hydrocarbons law to boost exploration...more

DOT Denies Request to Prohibit Shipment of Bakken Crude Oil on Older Tank Cars; Environmental Groups Push Battle to Courtroom

On December 2, 2014 following the Department of Transportation’s (“DOT”) November 7, 2014 denial of their request for an immediate ban on use of older DOT-111 or CTC-111 railcars for the shipment of crude oil from the Bakken...more

Fourth District Publishes Another CEQA Decision Setting Aside San Diego Lead Agency’s EIR For Failure To Analyze And Mitigate GHG...

Having seen years of their lofty regional planning efforts come crashing back to Earth, San Diego government entities have had little to be thankful about so far this holiday season on the CEQA front. In an October 29...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - November 2014 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus: Coastal California residents using far less water - Associated Press - Nov 4: Residents in coastal communities use far less water than their inland counterparts, but still find ways to...more

Letters of credit, on-demand bonds, and the "fraud exception"

On the 9th of September 2014, the Privy Council in the United Kingdom delivered a judgment in Alternative Power Solution Ltd. v. Central Electricity Board reaffirming the established principle that, other than in cases of...more

Avoid the Oral Agreement

Cresson SWD Services, L.P. vs. Basic Energy Services, L.P. is a warning about the perils of an oral agreement for a risky downhole procedure. Cresson hired Basic to make improvements on a saltwater disposal well by deepening...more

EPA Does Not Have a Nondiscretionary Duty to Revise PSD Regulations When It Amends a NAAQS

On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that EPA does not have an obligation to amend PSD regulations for a criteria pollutant within two years of revising the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for that...more

5th Circuit Denies Louisiana Public Service Commission’s Petition for Review of FERC’s Entergy Bandwidth Implementation Orders

On November 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit denied the Louisiana Public Service Commission’s (LPSC) petition for review of various Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders on the...more

CEQA Alert: Court of Appeal Rules Against San Diego Agencies in Two Separate CEQA Challenges Involving Greenhouse Gas Emissions...

Two recent decisions by California’s Fourth Appellate District highlight the CEQA compliance challenges facing local governments charged with implementing state and local greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction mandates....more

Analysis Of GHGs Under CEQA Just Got More Complex: Fourth District’s Split Decision Invalidates Program EIR For SANDAG’s 2050...

In a 2-1 published opinion filed November 24, 2014, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division 1, affirmed and modified the trial court’s judgment granting writ petitions by plaintiff groups challenging the EIR for the San...more

Pennsylvania Tax Developments - A Reed Smith Quarterly Update: November 2014

This is a brief update on recent Pennsylvania tax developments. Does New Governor Mean More Tax Reform? In the recent gubernatorial election, challenger Tom Wolf (D) defeated incumbent Governor Tom Corbett (R)....more

District Court Delivers Significant Blow to GS CleanTech's Patents

A recent ruling in a closely watched patent infringement case involving several patents relating to methods for processing ethanol byproducts — and specifically recovering oil from thin stillage — could significantly impact...more

New Law Changes Special District Noticing Requirements for Terminating Service on Delinquent Accounts

Passage of AB 2747 by California Legislature Modifies Law - The noticing requirements special districts must follow to terminate delinquent residential light, heat, water or power service accounts were substantially...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects Use of Preemptive Litigation to Validate Federal Approvals

Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc., v. Center for Biological Diversity, (11/12/14, No. 13-35835) The Ninth Circuit has rejected a “novel litigation strategy” that Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc., employed in an effort to preempt a...more

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