Energy & Utilities Zoning, Planning & Land Use Civil Remedies

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Activists ask Court to Scrap EIR and Stop Fracking

Today, July 30, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) filed a complaint in Sacramento County Superior Court against the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”). CBD claims, among other things, that DOGGR...more

Revision Of Coal Mining Permit By Environmental Group Results In Attorney Fee Award

In Black Mesa v. Jewell, 2015 DJDAR 1050, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that an environmental group was entitled to an award of attorney fees arising out of their challenge to the Office...more

Environmental Alert: "Potential Seismic Activity from Injection Wells Prompts Railroad Commission of Texas to Order Hearings"

On Friday, April 24, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) ordered hearings regarding two waste injection well permits. The hearings are to address an alleged connection between the injection wells and seismic activity in...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Fifth Circuit Holds the Word “Replace” in Easement Grant is Ambiguous

Neither the courts of Texas nor Louisiana have directly addressed the meaning of the word “replace” in the context of a pipeline easement and, in particular, whether replacement requires the removal of the old pipeline or...more

UPDATE: Citadel Dumps Challenge to San Benito County Hydraulic Fracturing Ban

Citadel Exploration has abandoned its legal challenge to San Benito County’s Measure J, a voter-sponsored initiative that banned several enhanced recovery methods of extracting oil and gas, including hydraulic fracturing and...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

Highlights from the Admiralty Law Institute

The 25th Biennial Admiralty Law Institute kicked off with great success on March 11, 2015. Informative presentations continued on March 12-13, building on the theme of this year’s conference, “Symposium on Maritime Personal...more

Pa. Supreme Court Denies Equitable Tolling of Oil and Gas Lease’s Primary Term

Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, on certification from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, ruled that the primary term of an oil and gas lease would not be equitably tolled during the pendency...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

Listen to the Words In the Injunction Battle

In Lightning Oil Company v. Anadarko E&P Offshore, LLC, the surface and 1/6 of the minerals of the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area is owned by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 5/6th of the minerals is owned by the...more

Womble Client Wins Stormwater Case in Charlottesville

Another victory in Central Virginia for Womble Carlyle. Last week, Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Higgins ruled in favor of the Shops at Stonefield (also known as Albemarle Place), finding the stormwater...more

Louisiana Town Files Second Suit to Block Oil and Gas Well

The Town of Abita Springs filed a suit on December 1, 2014, seeking a declaratory judgment to block the drilling of an oil and gas well about 40 miles north of New Orleans into the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale. Earlier this year,...more

Easements Made Easier: Building Pipelines with the Power of Eminent Domain Under the Natural Gas Act

Any person or entity seeking to construct a natural gas pipeline and successful in obtaining a certificate of convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may exercise the power of eminent domain to...more

Yes, Virginia, It Is Possible To Win A Fee Award Against An Environmental NGO

Last week, Judge Walter Smith, Jr., ordered the Sierra Club to pay more than six million dollars – yes, you read that correctly – to Energy Future Holdings and Luminant Generation, after finding that the Sierra Club’s Clean...more

Fifth Circuit Reins In Trend of Expanding ESA Liability for Remote Harm

The Fifth Circuit's recent decision in The Aransas Project v. Shaw, No. 13-40317 (5th Cir. June 30, 2014), clarified two points relating to the element of causation in claims under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). ...more

District Court Denies Motion to Enjoin Delta Water Transfers

Last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion brought by environmental groups to enjoin a water transfer project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta). Plaintiffs...more

Proximate Cause and Foreseeability Are Required Elements of Endangered Species Act Liability: Fifth Circuit Reverses Injunction...

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed an injunction that would have prohibited the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) from issuing new water withdrawal permits affecting an estuary where...more

B.C. Supreme Court Sets Aside B.C. Surface Rights Board Rent Review

In reasons released on May 30, 2014, the B.C. Supreme Court set aside the B.C. Surface Rights Board’s compensation award to a landowner in northern B.C. and remitted the case back to the Board for reconsideration: Progress...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - June 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus: California is ahead of EPA on climate rules - Los Angeles Times - Jun 5: In 2006, when California adopted AB 32, its landmark global warming law, it acted virtually alone. Now, the state...more

Second Circuit Denies Request to Stay NYISO’s New Capacity Zone

On June 4, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit (2nd Circuit) denied emergency stays of two Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders implementing a new capacity zone (NCZ) in New York (“NCZ...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

Precondemnation "Right of Entry" Statutes Challenged as Unconstitutional Takings

For years, public agencies have utilized a statutory "right of entry" procedure to gain access to private property to conduct investigations and testing before deciding whether to move forward with a condemnation action. ...more

Breathing New Life Into Pennsylvania’s Environmental Rights Amendment

On Dec. 19, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a controversial decision in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania addressing the injunction entered by the Commonwealth Court enjoining the enforcement of a...more

Contrary Legal Winds At Cape Wind - Opponents Of Offshore Wind Sue Asserting Preemption

Would you care to hazard a guess at how long it takes to bring online an offshore wind farm in the United States? At the moment, it is 12+ years and counting. A recent court filing arguing constitutional questions is...more

Fracking: A New Contact Sport

One of the more interesting developments coming from the rise in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is the efforts by municipalities to prohibit or limit fracking in their backyards, and the ensuing debates on the...more

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