Energy & Utilities Constitutional Law

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Renewable Energy Case Law Update

This case law update describes a selection of renewable energy cases from 2015. It is not intended to address all renewable energy cases over the previous year, but rather, highlight a few that are more likely to be of...more

Supreme Court Update: Montgomery V. Louisiana (14-280), Federal Energy Regulatory Commission V. Electric Power Supply Association...

The decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana (14-280) was a biggie, and not just because it retroactively applied the Court's 2012 holding that mandatory sentences of life without parole for juvenile offenders violate the Eighth...more

2016 Washington Preview

Having completed the first session of the 114th Congress, many in Washington are quickly turning toward the 2016 elections. In the coming year, the headlines will undoubtedly be dominated by electioneering but, after a...more

FTA and FHWA Buy America Updates

Public agencies are routinely facing Buy America requirements in their infrastructure projects. Some of the most difficult situations involve how to satisfy Buy America obligations with public utility relocations. The rules...more

Are Groundwater Pumping Fees or Charges Subject to Proposition 218? California Supreme Court to Resolve Conflicting Precedent

In 2015 California’s Sixth and Second District Courts of Appeal issued conflicting opinions regarding whether groundwater extraction fees or charges are subject to Article 13D of the California Constitution (Proposition 218)....more

UPDATE: Pa. Commonwealth Court Affirms Trial Court Decision Permitting Use of Eminent Domain by Pa. Gas Utility to Supply Private...

A three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, in a pair of memorandum opinions, recently affirmed a trial court decision authorizing a natural gas public utility to use its eminent domain power to condemn an...more

Blog: SEC Proposes New Resource Extraction Disclosure Rules — Will They Face Another Legal Challenge?

Last Thursday, the SEC voted (with Commissioner Piwowar in dissent) to propose rules, mandated by Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank, that would require disclosure on Form SD of certain payments made to the federal and foreign...more

Pennsylvania State Trial Court Dismisses Appeal Challenging Constitutionality of Local Ordinance Regulating Natural Gas Drilling

In Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al. v. Middlesex Township Zoning Hearing Board, A.D. No. 15-10429 (Nov. 19, 2015), Butler County Judge S. Michael Yeager upheld a gas drilling ordinance that was challenged by residents and...more

Trans Mountain Expansion Project: Burnaby’s Latest Bid for Jurisdiction Unsuccessful

The City of Burnaby’s latest effort to assert jurisdiction over work performed in Burnaby in connection with the Trans Mountain Expansion Project was recently dismissed for procedural and constitutional reasons in Burnaby...more

Pennsylvania Federal Court Strikes Down Ordinance Banning Disposal of Wastewater as Unconstitutional

In Pennsylvania General Energy Co. L.L.C. v. Grant Township, Magistrate Judge Susan P. Baxter of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, in an unpublished opinion, held that several...more

Supreme Court Questions FERC Authority to Regulate Electricity Market Demand Response to Bolster Grid Reliability

Ensuring the reliability of the electric power grid in times of extreme weather and other times of peak usage is critical to avoid interruptions in power and black outs. Reflecting on the 2014 Polar Vortex, the paramount...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - October 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus - Royal Dutch Shell suspends Arctic drilling indefinitely: Washington Post - Sep 28: Royal Dutch Shell announced early on September 28, 2015 that it will indefinitely suspend its Arctic...more

Policy and Legal Implications of Implementing Renewable Energy at Scale: Supply and Demand Geographic Mismatch (Part 2 of 6)

The Problem: Supply and Demand Geographic Mismatch Because much of America’s renewable energy supply is inland and demand is on the coasts (about 52% of the U.S. population is coastal), demand cannot meet supply without...more

Lawsuit Challenges Ohio’s Disqualification of Local Anti-Frac Ballot Initiatives

Residents in three Ohio counties have sued the state after Secretary of State Jon Husted invalidated three ballot proposals to ban hydraulic fracturing projects in Fulton, Medina, and Athens counties. The bans, if passed,...more

D.C. Circuit Reaffirms Previous Conflict Minerals Decision: Disclosure Requirement Violates First Amendment

In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reaffirmed its previous decision striking down a narrow portion of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) conflict...more

D.C. Circuit Reaffirms That Portions of Dodd-Frank Conflict Minerals Rules Violate First Amendment

On August 18, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reaffirmed its ruling in National Association of Manufacturers v. Securities and Exchange Commission that portions of the SEC’s...more

Blog: Three-Judge Panel Of D.C. Circuit Again Holds That Mandatory Disclosure Requirement Of Conflict Minerals Rule Violates First...

In November 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the petitions of the SEC and Amnesty International for panel rehearing in connection with the conflict minerals case, National Association of Manufacturers, Inc. v....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

First Water Curtailment Action Filed in California

In the first of possibly many enforcement actions this year, the State Water Resource Control Board issued a draft cease-and-desist order against West Side Irrigation District in Tracy, Calif., demanding the District curb its...more

Tenth Circuit Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Colorado’s Renewable Energy Mandate

On July 13, the Tenth Circuit upheld Colorado’s renewable energy mandate against a claim that it impermissibly interferes with interstate commerce. This decision, addressing a state’s power to encourage or require the...more

State Renewable Energy Standards Pass First Big Constitutional Test

On July 13, in the first federal appellate court decision to address the constitutionality of a state renewable energy mandate, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals squarely rejected an industry-group challenge to Colorado’s...more

Hydraulic Fracturing: State Regulatory Roundup Vol. 43

Fracking Insider Readers: We are pleased to bring you Volume 43 of our State Regulatory Roundup, including updates in California, New York, and Ohio. As we explained in earlier volumes, we designed the Roundup to provide...more

Attack on Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard Law Denied

A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court affirmed on July 13th that Colorado’s voter-approved renewable energy mandate does not violate the U.S. Constitution, ruling that the state’s renewable energy standard (RES) does...more

10th Circuit Court of Appeals Rejects Challenge to Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit unanimously rejected a challenge to Colorado’s renewable-energy mandate today. The case, which was argued before the judges in January, centered...more

Mexico’s Energy Reforms and Dispute Resolution System

In 2013, Mexico’s President submitted an initiative to Congress to modify the Mexican Constitution to allow private parties to perform exploration and production activities in Mexico. The initiative also included...more

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