Energy & Utilities Conflict of Laws

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SCOTUS Holds Natural Gas Act Does Not Preempt State Law Antitrust Claims

In Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc., Case No. 13-271 (Apr. 21, 2015), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Natural Gas Act did not preempt retail customers’ state law antitrust claims against interstate gas pipeline operators for...more

Supreme Court Rejects FERC’s Preemption Argument and Permits State Antitrust Claims Against Interstate Pipelines to Proceed

On April 21, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in ONEOK, Inc., et al., v. Learjet, Inc. et al holding that state antitrust claims are not pre-empted by the Natural Gas Act. This important decision put the brakes on an...more

Supreme Court Decides Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc.

On April 21, 2015, the United States Supreme Court decided Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc., No. 13-271, holding that state-law antitrust suits challenging retail rates for direct sales of natural gas are not field pre-empted by...more

What is Your Texas Legislature Doing for You Today?

The Texas legislature has been busy on energy. House Bill 40, similar to House Bills 539 and 540, steamrolled through the House of Representatives last week by a vote of 122 to 18. Reminds us of A L pitchers not...more

California Issues Emergency Regulations Restricting Underground Injection in Connection with Oil and Gas Recovery

The California Department of Conservation (“Department”) proposes to adopt emergency regulations purported to bring California’s underground injection control program into compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act...more

Gas Lines to Pipelines: The Case for Comprehensive Federal Energy Legislation

We’ve struggled with the consequences of an insufficient federal energy policy for nearly half a century. From the gas lines of the 1970s to the Keystone XL pipeline controversy of the past several years, the federal and...more

Court Decisions Halt Momentum on Local Oil and Gas Regulations

Action Item: Oil and gas operators should be aware that courts recently have been paring back on the power of local municipalities to regulate their operations. ...more

FCC Releases Full Text of Order Preempting State Laws Limiting Municipal Broadband

On March 12, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission released the text of its order preempting provisions of North Carolina and Tennessee law that allow municipalities to provide broadband service but otherwise limit the...more

Texas Legislature Takes Further Aim at Local/Municipal Fracking Bans

On Tuesday, March 11, 2015, the Texas Legislature’s 84th Session gained another bill directed at combating future local and municipal fracking bans. State Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), Chairman of the Texas House Energy...more

California’s Fracking Preemption Battle Moves Forward in San Benito County

Oil company Citadel Exploration, Inc. has reportedly filed a lawsuit against San Benito County, arguing that the County’s voter-sponsored ban on various types of well stimulation—often referred to generally as hydraulic...more

Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down Local Oil & Gas Regulations – How State Law Preemption Is Shielding the Oil and Gas Industry

In a closely watched, 4-3 decision issued yesterday, February 17, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the ‘Home Rule Amendment’ to the Ohio Constitution does not grant the city of Munroe Falls the power to enforce its own oil...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2015 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: State Water Board launches investigation into claims of senior water rights - Allen Matkins - Feb 9: On February 4, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board issued an order seeking...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Rail case heading to state Supreme Court: Willits News - Jan 27: The Supreme Court of California has accepted review of a lower court decision holding that federal law implemented by...more

Amendment to the Kazakhstan Legal Regime for the Oil & Gas Industry

The Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On introduction of amendments and additions to certain legislative acts on subsoil use matters” No. 271-V 3PK was adopted on 29 December 2014 and, save for the specified provisions,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Natural Gas Case in which 21 State AGs File Brief

On Monday, January 12, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the preemption case, Oneok v. Learjet. In reliance on state law private action remedies, Learjet sued Oneok over market manipulation in natural gas...more

Industry Challenging County and Municipal Bans on Multiple Fronts

Municipalities and counties have joined forces with environmental groups to halt hydraulic fracking and related well stimulation techniques. Environmental groups have filed suits under the National Environmental Policy Act...more

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

Fracking Preemption Fight to Play Out in San Benito County

It appears that San Benito County will be the venue for the much-anticipated legal battle over whether local jurisdictions in California can ban hydraulic fracturing. In early November, San Benito County passed a...more

Denton Becomes First Texas City to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing

On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 59 percent of voters elected to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing (“fracing”) in the city of Denton, which sits on top of the hydrocarbon-rich Barnett Shale. Although the ban does not...more

RE: Bakken Crude-by-Rail: Environmental Groups Ask New York State to Regulate DOT-111 Tank Cars

A recent state-law challenge by environmental groups to an aspect of crude-by-rail transportation has teed up the question of federal supremacy over railroad regulation. Because federal law generally preempts state regulation...more

“Frac Free Denton” Faces Legal Fight

On November 4, 2014, Denton, Texas, became the first Texas city to vote to ban fracking within city limits, as covered by Reuters, the Star-Telegram, and The Wall Street Journal. The ballot initiative, which passed with just...more

Kentucky Federal Court Holds Tort Claims Not Preempted by Clean Air Act

State common law tort claims based on air emissions from a power plant are not preempted by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), according to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The court agreed to...more

City of Fort Collins, Colorado, Appeals Ruling Striking Down Fracking Bans

The week of September 22, the Fort Collins, Colorado, City Council voted to appeal a decision rendered last month that struck down the city’s fracking ban. In that August 2014 decision, a Larimer County District Court...more

State Bar, Environmental Law Section Presents Update on Fracking Regulations

The California State Bar, Environmental Law Section hosts an annual conference which welcomes attorneys and students from across the state to learn and discuss cutting edge environmental law issues. This year’s Environmental...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

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