Energy & Utilities Constitutional Law

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Supreme Court Denies Review Of The California LCFS

On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would not review the constitutionality of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). This decision is largely viewed as a win for the California Air Resources...more

New York’s Highest Court Affirms Zoning Ordinances Banning Hydrofracking

The Insurance Law Blog has been following decisions related to hydraulic fracturing for potential impacts on insurance coverage issues. As we previously reported in May 2013, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division,...more

First District Court of Appeal Holds State Water Board May Restrict Beneficial Water Use by Senior Water Rights Holders, Relying...

Most Californians are well aware of the restrictions currently being placed on water use throughout the state. The ongoing drought and dwindling water supplies in California are dramatically affecting those with rights to...more

US Supreme Court Denied Certiorari Regarding the Constitutionality of California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard

Today, the US Supreme Court denied certiorari regarding the constitutionality of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey. ...more

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Dispute over California Low Carbon Fuel Standard

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied petition for review in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey. In Rocky Mountain Farmers, the Ninth Circuit addressed the constitutionality of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS),...more

NBB Challenges Monroe Energy’s Standing To Challenge 2013 RFS

On June 20, 2014, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit requesting that the court rehear whether Monroe Energy (Monroe), a refining subsidiary...more

Supreme Court Upholds EPA's Power to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Large Stationary Sources – But Scolds EPA For...

On Monday, June 23, in a long-awaited decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency partially invalidated and partially upheld U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA")...more

Contamination, Underwater Mortgages, and the IRWA Annual Education Conference

Along with my colleagues Brad Kuhn, Ben Rubin, and Katherine Contreras, I'm here in Hartford at the IRWA Annual Education Conference. It's been an interesting few days as we discuss eminent domain issues in the shadow of New...more

How Courts Have Ruled on the Still-open Issue of Whether the Clean Air Act Preempts State Common Law Tort Suits

In its landmark 2011 decision in American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut, et al., 131 S.Ct. 2527 (2011), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection...more

Mexico Projects Part V: Upcoming CFE Projects

One of the goals of the Mexican Constitutional reforms opening both the oil and gas and electricity sectors to private investment is to make the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) an “empresa productiva del Estado” (a...more

2014 Florida Legislative Post-Session Report

The 2014 Legislature came into session in early March and adjourned in early May. Florida lawmakers passed more than 260 bills, 26 of them applied only to local areas. One proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution was...more

North Carolina Trial Court Rules Unconstitutional State Law Transferring Ownership of City's Water System

Last summer, we blogged here about the dispute between the North Carolina General Assembly -- okay, the "State" -- and the City of Asheville over the State's efforts to transfer ownership and operation of the City's water...more

The Fourth Circuit Affirms District Court Decision Finding Maryland’s Contract for Differences Unconstitutional

As we reported (see link below), in October 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland declared unconstitutional an order of the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) directing the state’s...more

Further Clarification On The Constitutionality Of Exported Coal Reclamation Fee Is Delayed

The D.C. Circuit has decided against ruling on the substance of whether the Abandoned Mine Land reclamation fee and the regulatory methods the Office of Surface Mining uses to collect it on exported coal create an...more

The Koontz Decision; Back to Florida

In the recent landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in Koontz v. St. Johns Water Mgmt. Dist., 133 S. Ct. 2586 (2013), the Court majority held that exactions sought by local governments, which are not rationally...more

Sixth Circuit Greenlights Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held this week that the Department of Energy (DOE) complied with its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in providing funding for a cellulosic ethanol...more

Federal Court Limits States' Ability To Legislate Fuel Choices: Case Has Broad Implications For Electric Generation Industry

In a decision that will have broad impact on the electric generation industry, a federal district court has struck down parts of a Minnesota law that sought to regulate what fuels generators could use in their power plants to...more

Light at the End of the Cape Wind Tunnel? Judge Stearns Proclaims the Opponents “Vexatious”

On Friday, Judge Richard Stearns dismissed the latest challenge to Cape Wind, ruling that claims that the Massachusetts DPU coerced NSTAR into purchasing power from Cape Wind, and that such coercion violated the dormant...more

Mexico Introduces Much Anticipated Secondary Legislation for Energy Reform

Yet again the Mexican government has surpassed the expectations of the international marketplace. Many prognosticators and industry participants believed that the constitutional restrictions against international...more

Governor Renews Drought Declaration And Orders Contract Provisions Voided

Soon after entering government service, California was hit by the Northridge Earthquake. As General Counsel to the Business, Transportation & Housing Agency, I received a call directing that I prepare draft executive orders...more

Oil Exploration Opportunities Open up in Mexico

By the end of 2013, Mexico had opened its state-run petroleum sector after over seven decades of being monopolized by Pemex. Now, the country is taking full advantage of this change in the constitution and preparing itself to...more

CERCLA’s Dark Pathways Around Due Process

Most people would assume that, when the United States takes action directly impacting an individual, constitutional due process would ensure that individual has an opportunity to test the government’s action in court. That...more

Federal District Court Casts Doubt on the Constitutionality of State Regulation of the Carbon Content of Imported Electricity

Can states constitutionally regulate the carbon content of imported electricity? A recent decision by federal district court in Minnesota may curtail such state regulation, at least in states that are part of pooled...more

DC Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Conflict Minerals Disclosure Rules, But Strikes Down Requirement That Companies Label Their...

Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (“DC Circuit”) issued its long-awaited opinion relating to legal challenges to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) conflict minerals disclosure...more

Federal Judge Strikes Down Minnesota Energy Law

A federal judge, in a ruling issued today, struck down a portion of Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act (NGEA) because it violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by attempting to regulate the generation of...more

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