Environmental Energy & Utilities Conflict of Laws

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Three Strikes and the Commonwealth Is Out: The Natural Gas Act Preempts Article 97

Last week, Judge John Agostini ruled that the Natural Gas Act preempts Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution, which otherwise would have required a 2/3 vote of the Legislature before Article 97 land could be conveyed...more

Colorado Court Strikes Down Local Fracking Bans that Conflict with State Law

On May 2, 2016, the Colorado Supreme Court issued opinions in two separate cases challenging local bans on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). A win for the oil and gas industry in the state, the Supreme Court held that the...more

Energy Sector Alert Series: Appellate Courts Hearing More Energy Cases

In this eight-week alert series, we are providing a broad look at current and emerging issues facing the energy sector. Attorneys from across the firm will discuss issues ranging from environmental disclosures and risk...more

In Cooperative Federalism, Who Gets Deference, EPA or the States? Can you say “Federal Supremacy”?

Earlier this week, the 9th Circuit denied Arizona’s challenge to EPA’s decision to reject Arizona’s SIP addressing regional haze requirements and instead promulgate its own federal implementation plan. The decision has a...more

Energy Sector Alert Series: A Legislative Outlook

Over the next eight weeks, we will provide a broad look at current and emerging issues facing the energy sector in a series of alerts. In this series, attorneys from across the firm will discuss issues ranging from...more

Sixth Circuit Rejects Clean Air Act Preemption of State Common Law Claims: Four Things to Know

In two decisions released on November 2, 2015, Merrick, et al. v. Diageo Americas Supply, Inc. and Little et al. v. Louisville Gas & Electric Company; PPL Corporation, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit...more

Six Things the Private Sector Should Know About EPA's Final Vapor Intrusion Guidance

The cumulative impact of the EPA guidance is to require the generation of more data, which means more sampling and analysis, more frequent and stringent remediation, and potentially higher remediation costs. At long...more

Preliminary Injunction Arguments Pour Into Litigation Against BLM’s Final Fracking Rule

Since our last update on federal litigation in Wyoming challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on public lands, the flurry of activity continues in advance of the June 23...more

Looks Like Frack is Back, Governor Abbott Signs House Bill 40

Yesterday, Governor Gregg Abbott signed into law House Bill 40, also known as the Denton Fracking Bill, which leaves municipalities with minimal power to regulate the oil and gas industry. The bill takes effect immediately...more

New Law in Texas Prohibits Local Municipalities from Banning Hydraulic Fracturing

On Monday, May 18, 2015, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott signed House Bill 40 into law, prohibiting cities, towns, and local municipalities in Texas from enacting bans on fracing. The new law provides that “oil and gas operations...more

Louisiana Court Rules that Migration of Chemicals from Spill Not a “Continuing Tort”

In a case that may make it more difficult for plaintiffs to maintain years-old toxic tort cases in Louisiana, a state appellate court ruled that a 1983 chemical spill did not constitute a “continuing tort.” ...more

House Subcommittee to Revise Draft TSCA Reform Bill for May 14 Markup

Legislation to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), already introduced in the Senate, has taken a step forward in the House of Representatives as well. ...more

California Issues Emergency Regulations Restricting Underground Injection in Connection with Oil and Gas Recovery

The California Department of Conservation (“Department”) proposes to adopt emergency regulations purported to bring California’s underground injection control program into compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act...more

Gas Lines to Pipelines: The Case for Comprehensive Federal Energy Legislation

We’ve struggled with the consequences of an insufficient federal energy policy for nearly half a century. From the gas lines of the 1970s to the Keystone XL pipeline controversy of the past several years, the federal and...more

Court Decisions Halt Momentum on Local Oil and Gas Regulations

Action Item: Oil and gas operators should be aware that courts recently have been paring back on the power of local municipalities to regulate their operations. ...more

Texas Legislature Takes Further Aim at Local/Municipal Fracking Bans

On Tuesday, March 11, 2015, the Texas Legislature’s 84th Session gained another bill directed at combating future local and municipal fracking bans. State Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), Chairman of the Texas House Energy...more

California’s Fracking Preemption Battle Moves Forward in San Benito County

Oil company Citadel Exploration, Inc. has reportedly filed a lawsuit against San Benito County, arguing that the County’s voter-sponsored ban on various types of well stimulation—often referred to generally as hydraulic...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2015 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: State Water Board launches investigation into claims of senior water rights - Allen Matkins - Feb 9: On February 4, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board issued an order seeking...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Rail case heading to state Supreme Court: Willits News - Jan 27: The Supreme Court of California has accepted review of a lower court decision holding that federal law implemented by...more

Amendment to the Kazakhstan Legal Regime for the Oil & Gas Industry

The Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On introduction of amendments and additions to certain legislative acts on subsoil use matters” No. 271-V 3PK was adopted on 29 December 2014 and, save for the specified provisions,...more

Industry Challenging County and Municipal Bans on Multiple Fronts

Municipalities and counties have joined forces with environmental groups to halt hydraulic fracking and related well stimulation techniques. Environmental groups have filed suits under the National Environmental Policy Act...more

Supreme Court's Petition Denial in Clean Air Act Pre-emption Case Reinforces Threat From Common Law Claims

The United States Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari earlier this month after the Iowa Supreme Court held in June that the plaintiffs' nuisance claims were not pre-empted by the Clean Air Act (CAA) in Freeman v....more

Fracking Preemption Fight to Play Out in San Benito County

It appears that San Benito County will be the venue for the much-anticipated legal battle over whether local jurisdictions in California can ban hydraulic fracturing. In early November, San Benito County passed a...more

Denton Becomes First Texas City to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing

On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 59 percent of voters elected to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing (“fracing”) in the city of Denton, which sits on top of the hydrocarbon-rich Barnett Shale. Although the ban does not...more

RE: Bakken Crude-by-Rail: Environmental Groups Ask New York State to Regulate DOT-111 Tank Cars

A recent state-law challenge by environmental groups to an aspect of crude-by-rail transportation has teed up the question of federal supremacy over railroad regulation. Because federal law generally preempts state regulation...more

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