Energy & Utilities Constitutional Law

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DC Circuit Ruling Threatens to Topple FERC Tax Allowance Policy

Court rules that FERC policy permitting a tax allowance for pass-through entities may unjustifiably permit “double-recovery” of tax expense. On July 1, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued...more

US Circuit Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit delays oral arguments in Clean Power Plan litigation

On May 16, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit announced that it was delaying scheduled June 2 oral arguments before a three-judge panel in litigation over the Clean Power Plan. Instead, the DC...more

Business Litigation Report - June 2016

Federal Circuit Recognizes New, but Limited, Privilege for Patent Agent Communications - Introduction - Patent agents are licensed to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), and...more

Mine Commission Upholds Safety Agency’s Demand for Records in Split Decision

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has upheld a judge’s decision favoring the government over a Western Kentucky coal operator who had refused to honor a directive to provide federal authorities with a...more

Coal Plant Shutdowns: Operators Need to Manage Community Relationships

Imagine this scenario: A company operates a coal ash landfill. Local citizens protest and organize an advocacy group against it and create a Facebook page. The company responds by suing the individual members of the group for...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules

On June 14, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the Federal Commerce Commission’s recently enacted rules that enforce “net neutrality” as to Internet Service Providers. ...more

Subpoenas and SLAPP Motions to Dismiss

If an individual or entity believes a subpoena is aimed at silencing debate on a matter of public interest, can it invoke the DC anti-SLAPP statute in response?  That is the question presented by a recent anti-SLAPP motion...more

Minnesota May Not Prohibit Power Sales That Would Increase Statewide CO2 Emissions. Why Not? Pick Your Reason.

If you needed any further proof that energy law is very complicated, Wednesday’s decision in North Dakota v. Heydinger should convince you. The judgment is simple – the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Minnesota...more

Eighth Circuit Panel Rules Minnesota Climate Change Law Unconstitutional

Today, the Eighth Circuit determined that the Next Generation Energy Act (“NGEA”), a Minnesota law that established power sector standards for carbon dioxide emissions, was unconstitutional. In so doing, the Court affirmed...more

Sewer Connection Must Be By The Least Restrictive Means

Barbara L. Yoder and Joseph I. Yoder (“Owners”) own a home in Sugar Grove Township, Pennsylvania (“Township”), which has a mandatory sewer connection ordinance (the “Ordinance”), requiring connection to the Sugar Grove Area...more

A Big Win for Internet Consumers

On June 14, 2016 the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued its ruling in United States Telecom Association, et al v. Federal Communications Commission and United States of America. The...more

NC Legislative Update - June 2016 #2

This Week - The North Carolina political community was saddened to learn Wednesday, that former Rep. Ruth Samuelson (R-Mecklenburg), who chose not to seek reelection in 2014, has been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian...more

If You Don’t Like Nukes, Petition Congress: The D.C. Circuit Affirms the NRC’s GEIR On Nuclear Waste Storage

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges by several states and the NRDC to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement analyzing the impacts of continued on-site storage...more

More Than Chickens, Lizards and Polar Bears – Environmental Case Law Update (Dec. 2015 – Mar. 2016)

This blog, although not brief, is a brief report on some of the significant environmental law and administrative cases decided in late December and the first quarter of 2016. U.S. SUPREME COURT - FERC Final Rule re...more

Supreme Court Continues to Stake Out FERC Jurisdiction, Invalidates State Gas-Fired Power Plant Incentive Program

In an opinion unanimous in judgment (albeit with two concurring opinions), the U.S. Supreme Court recently reiterated the reach of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) jurisdiction over interstate wholesale...more

The Court has spoken: State programs to incentivize the construction or continued operation of electric generators must be crafted...

Energy regulators throughout the United States are looking for ways to encourage production of clean electricity, including from renewable sources. States, public utility commissions, power producers, power distributors and...more

Stay in your Lane: Three Recent, Significant Rulings Enforce State and Federal Separation of Powers

Builders and contractors may be interested to learn that, in the past few days, the Supreme Courts of Texas capitoland Colorado, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit have issued significant rulings addressing the...more

Fracking Scores with Two Colorado Supreme Court Opinions

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a hotly debated topic in many states. In New York and Pennsylvania, anti-fracking groups have obtained a statewide ban on fracking and the allowance of local authority to regulate...more

Trial Court Dismisses Georgia Patronage Capital Lawsuits

On May 2, a trial court in DeKalb County, Georgia, dismissed two class action patronage capital lawsuits filed against Oglethorpe Power Corporation, Georgia Transmission Corporation (GTC) and certain distribution electric...more

Supreme Court Update: Harris V. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (14-232), Franchise Tax Board Of California V. Hyatt)...

With roughly two months left in the term, the Supremes have kicked opinion production into high gear, issuing five decisions this past week. While many of us at Update were doing the Batdance, and pondering what it looks like...more

Court of Appeal Turns a Careful Eye Toward Challenges to California’s Cap-and-Trade Auction System

A California Court of Appeal signaled it is moving closer to making what could be a far-reaching decision in the consolidated cases of California Chamber of Commerce v. California Air Resources Board (Case No. C075930) and...more

Supreme Court Rejects Maryland Power Plant Subsidies, But Signals Permissible Ways for States to Incentivize New Plants

In recent years, Maryland attempted to subsidize new power plants by guaranteeing prices for generating capacity at wholesale auctions administered by PJM Interconnection L.L.C. (PJM). Tuesday, the Supreme Court unanimously...more

The Supreme Court - April 2016 #3

The Supreme Court of the United States issued decisions in two cases on April 19, 2016: Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing, LLC, No. 14-614: Congress, though the Federal Power Act (“FPA”), 16 U.S.C. §791a et seq., vested...more

State AGs Announce Climate Change Investigations - ExxonMobil Challenges Subpoena on Constitutional Grounds

Several state attorneys general (“state AGs”) have recently announced investigations into energy companies’ securities disclosures about the risks climate change poses to their businesses. In November 2015, Peabody Energy...more

A Substantive Due Process Right to Climate Change Regulation? What’s a Lonely Apostle of Judicial Restraint To Do?

Late last week, Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin concluded that the most recent public trust case, which seeks an injunction requiring the United States to take actions to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations to 350 parts per...more

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