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California Water Law Update

To address the worsening drought, on April 1, 2015, Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-29-15 (“Executive Order”), mandating a 25% reduction in potable urban water consumption. In response, the State Water Resources...more

DOT Tank Car Rule Reflects Refined Cost-Benefit Analysis

On May 1, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation, acting through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, issued a much-anticipated final rule on the enhanced tank car standards and operational...more

New Federal Oil-By-Rail Regulations Published

Today, May 8, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a final rule for rail transport of crude oil in the Federal Register. These rules come after several high-profile oil train derailments,...more

Slow and Steady Wins the Race? Another Chapter in Ontario’s Ostrander Point Wind Farm Challenge

In an important development in the ongoing saga of judicial challenges to wind farm developments in the province, the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”) has restored the finding of the Environmental Review Tribunal (“ERT”) that...more

Oil on the Rails: States Increasing Regulation of Oil Trains

The increase in North American petroleum production in recent years, coupled with inadequate pipeline infrastructure, has resulted in a significant rise of, and reliance on, the transport of crude oil by rail. Public...more

PHMSA Targeting Pipeline Construction - Enforcement Focus on 60-Day Notification Requirement

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has stepped up enforcement efforts concerning pipeline and LNG terminal construction. Construction-related inspections have resulted in a number of recent enforcement...more

Newly Installed FERC Chairman Norman Bay’s Past Opinions Signal Preference for Energetic Use of Commission Authority

On April 15, 2015, Norman Bay assumed the chairmanship of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”). Prior to taking the chairman’s role, Chairman Bay was appointed to the Commission in July 2014 after five years of...more

Five Years in the Making: Improved Safety for Offshore Oil and Gas Development

Sometimes new regulations come out of nowhere. And sometimes it is just a matter of time. Last week’s unveiling of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (“BSEE”) offshore blowout preventer and well control...more

Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law – April 16, 2015

The Virginia Supreme Court issued opinions this morning during its April term. This term resulted in several opinions affecting Virginia local government law. Opinions addressed evidence in a condemnation case, interpreted...more

Landowners, Developers Win Big In Wetlands Case

Building on a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Eighth Circuit ruled on April 10th that Clean Water Act jurisdictional determinations made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can be challenged in a “pre-enforcement”...more

BLM Publishes Final Public Lands Fracking Rule, Industry Responds with Lawsuit

The federal Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), within the Department of the Interior (“DOI”), published their final rule on hydraulic fracturing last Thursday, March 26.  (Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands, 80...more

Department of the Interior Releases Comprehensive New Rules on "Fracking"

On March 26, 2015, the Department of the Interior formally published a comprehensive set of new rules regarding Hydraulic Fracturing, commonly known as “fracking.” Several years in the making, the new rules — which go into...more

Department of Interior Releases Revised Rules on Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands

A final rule that seeks to address perceived risks associated with hydraulic fracturing was published by the Department of Interior (DOI) in the Federal Register on March 26, 2015. The rule revises existing Bureau of Land...more

Certificated Natural Gas Storage Capacity Is Based on Science Not Sales, FERC Rules

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the Commission) issued an order on Thursday, March 19, 2015, refusing to allow the abandonment of certificated working gas capacity when the reason for the request was unrelated to...more

California’s Class II Underground Injection Wells Subject to Increased Scrutiny

EPA sets new requirements and compliance deadlines for a stricter regulatory oversight program. On March 9, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a letter to the California State Water Resources Control...more

BLM Issues Final Rule Governing Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands

On March 20, Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the release of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule, titled, “Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands,” which BLM announced will...more

D.C. District Court Denies Utility’s Intervention Because of Timing

On March 17, 2015, the D.C. District Court denied the Public Service Company of New Hampshire’s (PSNH’s) motion to intervene in a Sierra Club-initiated proceeding urging the U.S. EPA to object to a Title V permit for one of...more

DRECP: Federal Elements Proceed, State and Local Elements Deferred

Agencies’ adoption of a phased implementation approach raises questions about the coordination of state and federal efforts to meet energy and conservation goals....more

Source Aggregation: Recent Court Decision Addresses Whether Certain Facilities are "Adjacent"

On February 23, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued a decision finding eight compressor stations to be "separate sources" under the Clean Air Act and State of Pennsylvania regulations....more

Pierce Atwood Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar (RCC)

NEW REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS - Federal - Maine Massachusetts New Hampshire Nothing to report STATUS OF PREVIOUSLY REPORTED RULES COMPLIANCE DEADLINES For more information, see our mobile-friendly ENViromation Center, an online...more

MN PUC Denies Return on Cost Overrun for Xcel Nuclear Project

On Tuesday and Friday this week, the MN PUC heard arguments from various stakeholders regarding the Xcel Energy life cycle management and extended power uprate (LCM/EPU) projects. The stage for the arguments was set by the...more

Environmental Liability: Relief Through Bankruptcy Or Not?

In re Appalachian Fuel, LLC, 521 B.R. 779 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2014) – A state department of environmental protection (DEP) filed an administrative expense application in the bankruptcy cases of coal mining debtors for...more

District Court Rejects Challenge to Wind Farm Permitting, Finds No Violation of ESA or Eagle Protection Act

This month a federal court in Maine rejected a challenge to a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) for the Oakfield wind power project. The court determined that the Army Corps did not violate the...more

State Oil and Gas Laws v. Local Control: The Struggle Continues in Ohio

On February 17, 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court announced its ruling in The State Ex Rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corporation et al. That closely-watched case addressed whether local ordinances that impact drilling operations...more

Development Of Brackish Groundwater For Hydraulic Fracturing Operations: Regulatory And Policy Issues

A. The Brackish Groundwater Resource Opportunity. According to the Texas Water Development Board (“TWDB”), more than 2.7 billion acre-feet of brackish groundwater exists within the State of Texas. Texas has numerous...more

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