Energy & Utilities Zoning, Planning & Land Use Civil Procedure

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Texas small hydro project loses exemption

What happens to a proposed hydroelectric project takes longer than anticipated to be built, due to difficulties with project financing and severe flooding? As the developer of a proposed project in Texas recently found out,...more

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project Hits the Courts

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project, which involves the proposed twinning of the existing Edmonton-Burnaby pipeline and the expansion of a marine terminal, was the subject of a number of court decisions last year involving...more

Court Upholds Endangered Species Act Incidental Take Permit for Windfarm

On March 17, 2015, Judge Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a memorandum opinion upholding the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) issuance of an incidental take permit...more

Independent Producers Lead Legal Challenge Against BLM’s Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

After a regulatory review process lasting more than three years, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued today a final rule purporting to govern hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. Given BLM’s failure to...more

New Source Review Update: Courts Limit Aggregation for Major Source Determination and Challenges to NSR Pre-Project Emissions...

Pennsylvania Court Limits NSR Permit Aggregation - In February, the Middle District of Pennsylvania struck down an environmental group’s challenge that Ultra Resources should have aggregated eight compressor stations...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

Coal and Transportation Companies Challenge Ninth Circuit Decision Limiting CWA Permit Shield Defense

On March 3, 2015, Aurora Energy Services, LLC and the Alaska Railroad Corp. filed a petition for writ of certiorari asking the United States Supreme Court to resolve a circuit split regarding the scope of the Clean Water...more

District Court Rejects Claim to Aggregate Series of Compressor Stations

A federal judge in Pennsylvania recently denied an environmental group’s attempt to subject a driller’s gas compressor stations to stricter regulatory permitting. This decision provides reliable guidance for drillers on the...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Shades of Sheppard?

In Wagner & Brown, Ltd. v. Sheppard, 282 S.W.3d 419 (Tex. 2008), the Texas Supreme Court held that the termination of Sheppard’s lease (Sheppard was the Lessor) did not terminate her participation in a unit into which her...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

Denbury Part II: Big Changes Coming in Texas Pipeline Condemnations ?

Is Denbury’s Green Pipeline a common carrier? That question is alive and well in Texas. In Texas Rice Land Partners Ltd. v. Denbury Green-Texas Pipeline, LLC, the Beaumont court of appeals reversed a summary judgment granted...more

Petroleum Companies Dismissed from Pair of Louisiana Federal Lawsuits Alleging Environmental Impact to Canals and Coastal Lands

Federal judges in the Eastern District of Louisiana recently dismissed a pair of cases against petroleum companies relating to their legacy exploration and production activities. In Alford v. Anadarko E&P Onshore LLC, 2015...more

Litigation Alert: "Texas Appellate Court Says Pipeline Must Convince Jury of Common Carrier Status in Condemnation Case"

An intermediate Texas appellate court has called for an extensive jury role in the ongoing issue of determining when a pipeline is a common carrier. Common carrier status is critical to the pipeline company’s ability to use...more

Missouri Federal Court Cuts Claims in Pipeline Property Damage Action

Underscoring the need for plaintiffs to show concrete proof of harm in suits alleging property damage, a federal district court dismissed a suit alleging that an oil pipeline contaminated farmland in Missouri. See Henke v....more

U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania Dismisses Majority of Water Well Contamination Claims Against Oil Drilling Company

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III in the Middle District of Pennsylvania completely adopted the “extremely thorough, well-reasoned” recommendations of a U.S. Magistrate Judge and dismissed almost all...more

High Court Finds Plausible Showing of Amount in Controversy Sufficient to Remove Action

In a decision that may make it somewhat easier for defendants to remove putative class actions from state to federal court, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that defendants in such cases do not need to offer evidence in their...more

Court Sustains Treasury’s 2/3 Reduction of Cash Grant for Cogen Open-Loop Biomass Plant

The United States Court of Federal Claims on January 12 rendered an opinion in W.E. Partners II, LLC v. U.S. sustaining the Treasury Department’s reduction by approximately two-thirds of a Cash Grant for a cogeneration...more

Court Will Not Halt Horizontal Drilling Operation to Reach Adjacent Lessee’s Land

Using offsite locations for horizontal drilling is becoming increasingly popular as surface use becomes difficult. In Lightning Oil Inc. v. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, the San Antonio Court of Appeals looked at what can...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: EPA Stakes Out Approach to Address GHG Permitting for Authorized Sources Affected

On December 19, 2014 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two memoranda outlining the Agency’s planned response to the Supreme Court’s June 2014 decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) v. Environmental...more

New Jersey Supreme Court: No Statute of Limitations for Private Claims for Contribution Under NJ Spill Act

Following principles of strict statutory construction and refusing to “unsettle a decades-long understanding in this State,” on January 26, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that there is no statute of...more

General Permits Are Also Entitled to a Permit Shield

On Tuesday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the “permit shield” provisions of the Clean Water Act protected ICG hazard from Sierra Club claims that effluent from ICG Hazard’s Thunder Ridge mine caused exceedances...more

Supreme Court Denies Review of Ninth Circuit Delta Smelt Decision

On Monday, January 12, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court denied two petitions seeking review of a Ninth Circuit decision upholding limits on water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect the endangered Delta...more

Crude-by-Rail Update: Municipalities in the Bakken Push Back Against Increasing Train Traffic

Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, towns in the western United States grew and thrived around the railroad. In fact, the railroad tracks often became a central geographic feature within towns, birthing the...more

San Diego MPO's Analysis Of RTP's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rejected

In a decision with implications for all transportation projects in California, the California Court of Appeal held that the analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation projects in a metropolitan transportation...more

Does the Public Trust Doctrine Apply to Groundwater? The California Supreme Court May Decide

The California Supreme Court is currently considering a petition that raises an important and novel issue of California water law: whether the public trust doctrine applies to groundwater. The public trust doctrine holds that...more

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