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DOT Proposes Increased Safety Measures for the Transportation of Crude Oil, Ethanol and Other Flammable Materials

In response to several recent high profile incidents involving crude by rail, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a comprehensive rulemaking proposal on July 23, 2014, related to...more

USDOT Proposes New Rules for Rail Transport of Fossil Fuels

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“Administration”), an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation (“USDOT”), issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) for...more

Secretary Foxx and PHMSA Release Much-Anticipated Proposed Rule On Crude By Rail Tank Car Standards

The U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recenlty released a much-anticipated Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to improve the safe...more

State and Local Communities Respond to Crude-by-Rail Safety Issue

July 6 marked the one year anniversary of the crude oil derailment in Lac Megantic Quebec, which significantly heightened throughout North America the awareness about safety issues surrounding crude by rail. This heightened...more

Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Oil and Gas Operations—Q and A

The desire to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in commercial operations is steadily building. A wide variety of businesses would like to use these devices to improve efficiency and safety, and reduce costs. One field that...more

Speculation Mounts Over Impending Crude By Rail Rule

As speculation over the federal government’s forthcoming rule on rail shipments of crude oil grows, two items hit the press last week increasing speculation over the details of the reforms. ...more

Multistate ZEV Plan Looks to Increase the Use of Zero-Emission Vehicles Through Infrastructure Development, Standardization, and...

On May 29, 2014, the ZEV Program Implementation Task Force issued a 32-page action plan detailing the efforts that eight states will undertake to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in use. ZEVs are battery...more

Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Calls Proposed Denton Fracking Ban ‘Extremely Misguided’; Asks City Council to Reject Measure

On July 11th, Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman sent a letter to the mayor and city council members for Denton, Texas asking that the council reject a proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing in Denton. Chairman...more

LNG As A Marine Fuel – The Speed Of Change

“When I was asked if I might speak about the use of LNG as fuel for ships, two thoughts came to mind. Firstly, the old Latin maxim: volenti non fit injuria. Or in my vernacular: “well, you asked for...more

Tennessee – 2014 Legislative Highlights

Effective January 1, 2015, the method of issuing tax assessments and the informal conference process available to taxpayers will be revamped. 2014 Tenn. Pub. Acts 854. Touted as being more taxpayer-friendly, the two most...more

Exports of Condensate Reflect Evolution, Not Revolution, In Crude Export Regulation

On June 24, 2014, various news sources reported that the Department of Commerce (“DOC”) had allowed two companies to export processed condensate, suggesting a breakthrough in the 40-year ban on crude oil exports. The reality...more

Railway Age Crude By Rail Conference Profiles Key Players, Key Issues in Crude By Rail Debate

On June 12 and 13, 2014, Railway Age’s Crude by Rail Conference and Expo brought together representatives from the oil and gas industry, railroads, rail car manufacturers, Federal government, emergency response organizations...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - June 2014 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus: Long-term money a big boost for California's high-speed rail - Contra Costa Times - Jun 17: Gov. Jerry Brown scored a win for California's $68 billion high-speed rail project by...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - June 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - Kings County lawsuit challenges Fresno-Bakersfield high-speed rail: Fresno Bee - Jun 5: The Kings County Board of Supervisors, the Farm Bureau, and a group of county residents filed...more

Plan Nord: Québec Liberal Government Relaunches the Plan Nord

On June 4, 2014, the first budget (Budget) of the new Liberal government, in power since April 7, 2014, was tabled in the Québec National Assembly. The Budget provides for certain measures to relaunch the Plan Nord, as...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

Nossaman Partner Provides Expertise to NCHRP's Second Volume Addressing Management of NEPA-Related Risks in Project Delivery

The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies (“TRB”) has released its second volume of guidance addressing risks in project delivery, including risks associated with the National Environmental Policy Act...more

FAA Opens Door to Approving Commercial Drone Operations

- On June 10, 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the first commercial drone operation over land in the United States. - Current FAA regulations prohibit any use of drones for commercial or business...more

California Legislators Propose Two Bills on Crude by Rail

Two measures have been introduced in the California legislature to respond to the growth of crude-by-rail volume in the state. State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) has introduced SB 1319, which would expand...more

Increased Crude Oil Rail Shipments Drive Boost in Funding for DOT HazMat Programs

By a vote of 29-1, on June 5, 2014, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed legislation (S. 2438) funding fiscal year (FY) 2015 activities for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT’s programs for crude oil and...more

From Second and State: The Week Ahead – June 9-13, 2014

If comments made earlier this week by House Appropriations Chair, Rep. Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) hold true, the General Appropriations bill, the chief vehicle for the budget, could be introduced in the House sometime next...more

Federal Regulatory Agenda Update - June 2014

Federal regulatory activity is at an all-time high, with more than 3,700 regulations in just the past year. This has caused the Code of Federal Regulations to grow to 238 volumes with nearly 175,000 pages – 4,000 of which...more

DOT Issues Emergency Order For Transport Of Crude Oil From Bakken Shale Region (UPDATE)

On May 23, 2014, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration clarified its May 7, 2014, Emergency Order Regarding Notification to Communities of Bakken Crude Oil Shipments through the release of...more

Industry Takes Steps to Address Safety of Crude Oil Shipments

The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently issued an Emergency Order (EO) requiring all rail carriers to notify State Emergency Response Commissions regarding the expected routing of their unit trains of Bakken crude...more

Industry Group Study Says Bakken Crude Poses No Different Risks Than Other Crude Shipped By Rail

As rail shipments of crude oil moving out of North Dakota’s Bakken formation have risen in recent years, so have derailments of trains carrying crude oil throughout the United States and Canada. One facet of the debate over...more

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