Energy & Utilities Zoning, Planning & Land Use Civil Remedies

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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

Divisional Court Overturns Environmental Review Tribunal Decision and Allows Wind Project to Proceed

In an important decision for stakeholders in the Ontario renewable energy industry, the Divisional Court of Ontario overturned the July 2013 decision by the Environmental Review Tribunal (the ERT) in Ostrander Point. In its...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

Alberta Court Grants Six-Month Injunction Against Lubicon Blockade

On December 16, 2013, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench granted a six-month injunction in favour of Penn West Petroleum Ltd., authorizing the RCMP to remove a road blockade erected by individuals associated with Bernard...more

Alberta Court Grants Order Under Public Lands Act Halting Lubicon Blockade

On December 16, 2013, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench granted a long-term Order to Penn West Petroleum Ltd. prohibiting several members of the Lubicon Lake Cree from continuing to blockade a permitted access road in the...more

A Tale of Two Pipelines: This Week in the News

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…for two pipeline projects in the West. TransCanada was successful in the Tenth Circuit on Thursday in its continuing efforts to defend against a preliminary...more

Pa. Litigation Update

This summer was anything but a sleepy period for decisions from Pennsylvania courts on issues important to the oil and gas industry. Here are summaries of four cases issued in July and August - one from the Third Circuit...more

Update! – New York State Court of Appeals Takes On Fracking Ban Case

In what will be a precedent-setting decision of national importance, yesterday the New York State Court of Appeals agreed to hear Norse Energy’s appeal of the Third Department’s decision upholding the Town of Dryden’s...more

More on Old NSR Claims: Injunctive Relief Remains Available Against Original Owners Foolish Enough Not to Have Sold

As we noted last week and last month, the 3rd and 7th Circuits have ruled that violations of the obligation to undertake NSR review prior to implementing major modifications are not continuing, but are instead one-time...more

Citizen Petitions To Ban Fracking Continue to Gain Momentum In Colorado

Two petitions were turned in to place before local voters ballot measures to ban fracking. On July 9, 2013, opponents of hydraulic fracturing turned in a petition seeking to ban hydraulic fracturing within the city limits of...more

DISPUTE RESOLUTION - Oil & Gas Litigation - Heightened Scrutiny of Pipeline Companies' Common Carrier Status Perhaps a New Reality

Two recently-decided Texas cases illustrate that heightened scrutiny of pipeline companies' status as common carriers may be applied when landowners challenge their ability to secure easements by eminent domain. ...more

Texas Ninth Court of Appeals Issues Contrasting Opinions Addressing Pipeline Condemnation Authority

Recently, the Texas Court of Appeals for the Ninth District at Beaumont issued two contrasting opinions which provide guidance for the application of the Texas Supreme Court's 2012 decision in Texas Rice Land Partners, Ltd....more

DISPUTE RESOLUTION: Oil & Gas Litigation: New Decision May Impede Fracking on Federal Land

Recently, a California federal court blocked drilling on certain federal land located in California’s Monterey Shale Formation play. In reaching its decision, the court relied heavily on perceived risks of fracking, holding...more

Update on CEQA Reform: Steinberg’s Quest for the “Elusive Middle Ground”

The last year witnessed what once appeared to be a groundswell of support for the “modernization” of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), loosely meaning easing the burden of the process itself and minimizing...more

The Aransas Project v. Shaw: An Endangered Species Act Decision With Potential Implications for Water Rights

Last month, a federal district court in Texas ruled that state regulators proximately caused an unlawful “take” of listed whooping cranes in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because the state surface water permit...more

2012 Eminent Domain Year in Review & 2013 Forecast

As we look back on 2012, it was unquestionably a busy year. Federal funds continued to make their way to local projects and shovels continued to break ground for infrastructure projects. The potential use of eminent domain...more

"Pattern and Practice" Lawsuit Challenges State’s CEQA Compliance in Permitting Fracking

The oil and gas industry’s increased use of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” continues to gain attention in California....more

State Supreme Court Overrules Local Fracking Ordinance

State Supreme Court Justice Ferris D. Lebous recently overturned a local ordinance adopted by the Binghamton City Council in 2011 to ban activities associated with gas drilling and exploration for a period of two years....more

W.Va. Supreme Court Affirms Award of Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses Against WVDEP In Surface Mine Board Appeals

By a per curiam (“for the Court”) decision issued on October 19, 2012, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (“WVDEP”) is obligated to pay the Hominy...more

DISPUTE RESOLUTION: Implications for Pipeline Construction after Denbury

On March 2, 2012, the Texas Supreme Court issued a new opinion[1] that has reinforced and modified its landmark 2011 Denbury decision, which has particularly significant implications for the pipeline industry in Texas. At...more

Update on Pa. Municipality Act 13 Lawsuit

As reported in the March edition of The Shale Play Today, seven Pennsylvania municipalities filed suit in the Commonwealth Court on March 29, 2012, challenging the provision of Act 13 providing that state law preempts the...more

Bans Upheld In Lower Court

Within a week of each other, two lower courts in New York upheld municipal bans on hydraulic fracturing and gas drilling in the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield. These two cases are being closely watched for their precedent...more

Wondering About the Status of EPA's CCR Rule? So Are 11 Environmental Groups

I have had a number of clients ask me recently about the status of EPA’s efforts to regulate coal combustion residuals under RCRA. It turns out that some environmental groups have been asking themselves the same question....more

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