Energy & Utilities Zoning, Planning & Land Use Environmental

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News & Analysis as of

Utah oil sands mine slowed

A Canadian company developing an oil sands mining and extraction project in Utah has announced a decision to "reduce the pace of field construction in order to maintain working capital flexibility," based on low oil...more

Renewable Energy Case Law Update

This case law update describes a selection of renewable energy cases from 2015. It is not intended to address all renewable energy cases over the previous year, but rather, highlight a few that are more likely to be of...more

EQT Wins a Temporary Victory, but the Future of Oil and Gas Operations in Fayette County, West Virginia, Is Still Undecided

EQT Corp. won a temporary victory in its continuing effort to defend against the potential shutdown of its 200 oil and gas wells and one wastewater injection well in Fayette County, West Virginia, after the District Court for...more

Construction of two new 500 kV transmission lines extending from Lincoln County, New Mexico to Pinal County, Arizona

On February 3, 2016, the Arizona Corporation Commission (“Commission”) by a 3-2 vote issued a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility to SunZia Transmission, LLC to construct two new 500 kV transmission lines extending...more

Streamlining the Siting of Transmission in the West - Why Transmission and Renewable Energy Project Developers Should Care About...

Early this month, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued notice (81 FR 5283) of a proposed rule aimed at streamlining the pre-application process for transmission developers to obtain federal authorization to construct and...more

EPA Proposes to Add Vapor Intrusion Pathway Assessment to Superfund Listing System

Last week, we wrote about an audit that MassDEP is conducting of previously closed sites to look for high concentrations of TCE in soils and groundwater. The intent of the audit is to address potential vapor intrusion. The...more

Florida Considers Competing Bills Regarding Hydraulic Fracturing

A regulatory framework for hydraulic fracturing, or fracing, currently does not exist in Florida. Actually, neither does fracing itself, but both of those things could change soon. The State Affairs Committee passed a...more

Department of the Interior Releases Proposed Rule to Reduce Waste of Natural Gas

Advances in oil and gas production technology, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, have dramatically increased the production of oil and gas in the United States by unlocking shale gas and other resources...more

Thirty States and Numerous Other Interested Parties Seek an Immediate Supreme Court Stay of the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan”

On January 26, 2016, 29 states and state agencies, including Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, and Mississippi (the “29 States”), submitted an application (the “29 States Application”) to the United States...more

Restoring old mill hydro sites and FERC licensure

Suppose you own an existing water powered mill complex whose hydromechanical facilities have not been operational for decades. You would like to develop a hydropower project at the site, using the existing dam, headrace, and...more

No Issuance of Federal Offshore Fracking Permits Until May 2016

On January 29, 2016, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”), agencies within the federal Department of the Interior (“DOI”), agreed to put a temporary...more

FERC requires licensure of Alaska hydropower project

What happens when federal hydropower regulators discover an unlicensed project subject to their jurisdiction? A recent case involving a dam at a remote Alaskan fish hatchery ended with an order requiring the project owner to...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - States ask Supreme Court to block Obama carbon emissions plan - Reuters - Jan 26 - A group of states led by West Virginia and Texas asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay...more

Washington State Court of Appeals Holds Vested Permit Applications Are Not Subject to New Municipal Stormwater Requirements

The development community won a victory in Division Two of the Washington State Court of Appeals in a ruling that excludes pending permit applications from the new low-impact development stormwater regulations that large...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Final 4(d) Rule for Northern Long-Eared Bat Under Endangered Species Act

In April 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) published a final decision to list the northern long-eared bat as threatened and, rather than publishing a final 4(d) rule, opted to publish an interim 4(d) rule...more

Environmental Policy Quarterly

Welcome to the Winter 2016 edition of Environmental Policy Quarterly, published jointly by the Environmental, Land and Natural Resources Practice Group and the Public Policy and Law Practice Group of K&L Gates. This...more

BLM Proposes “Commonsense” Rule to Limit Methane Emissions from Oil & Gas Operations

On Friday, January 22, 2016 the federal Department of the Interior’s (“DOI”) Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) issued a proposed rule on reducing waste and methane emissions in oil and gas operations. The rule would limit...more

BLM Proposes to Restrict Methane Releases from Oil and Gas Leases

After five years in the making, the federal Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) has proposed a rule to reduce the waste of natural gas from operations on federal and Indian oil and gas leases and to clarify when royalties apply...more

Who Pays to Fix the Aliso Canyon Methane Leak?

As nearly everyone has heard by now, on Octobe??r 23, 2015, a leak at a Southern California Gas Company (“SoCalGas”) natural gas storage well was discovered by crews at the Aliso Canyon storage field in Los Angeles. In a Jan...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2016 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - SoCal Gas Co. expects to cap Porter Ranch gas leak ahead of schedule - CBS Los Angeles - Jan 19 An ongoing natural gas leak that has affected residents in the Porter Ranch-area...more

Are Groundwater Pumping Fees or Charges Subject to Proposition 218? California Supreme Court to Resolve Conflicting Precedent

In 2015 California’s Sixth and Second District Courts of Appeal issued conflicting opinions regarding whether groundwater extraction fees or charges are subject to Article 13D of the California Constitution (Proposition 218)....more

New Water Law Will Affect Everyone Who Uses Water in Florida

On January 14, 2016, the officers of the Legislature presented CS/CS/SB 552 to Governor Scott for signature. More famously known as the "Water Bill," this 134-page page marvel of compromise proves that it is still possible to...more

Air Force Welcomes Comments On Red Rock Biofuels Facility Environmental Assessment

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) Research Laboratory has developed a Draft Environmental Assessment and a Draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the development of the Red Rock Biofuels facility in Lake County, Oregon....more

Utah Congressmen Unveil Landmark Public Land Bill

On January 20, Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz unveiled a “discussion draft” of the Utah Public Lands Initiative Act. The proposed bill undertakes the difficult task of balancing economic development and...more

Washington State Department of Ecology Proposes GHG Limits in “Clean Air Rule”

The Washington Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) kicked off what promises to be a busy year in state-level greenhouse gas (“GHG”) regulation by releasing a first draft of the Washington Clean Air Rule (the “Rule” or the...more

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