Environmental Energy & Utilities Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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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

Pennsylvania and Other States Designate Large Sources of Sulfur Dioxide Air Emissions for Close Evaluation

Pennsylvania is among the states taking initial steps required by federal regulations toward identifying areas experiencing unhealthful levels of airborne sulfur dioxide (SO2) and then developing programs to control emissions...more

USFWS Issues Broader 4(d) Rule for Northern Long-Eared Bats: What it Means for Energy Developers

On January 13, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) released its Final 4(d) Rule for the Northern Long-Eared Bat (Final Rule). The Final Rule greatly expands upon the scope of the interim 4(d) rule that the Service...more

Pennsylvania Methane Control Strategy May Go Beyond Federal Requirements

Governor Tom Wolf’s framework of actions to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector in Pennsylvania could, if implemented, exceed limitations on methane emissions from natural gas well sites, compressor stations,...more

B.C. Has Authority to Impose Conditions on Northern Gateway Pipeline

In its recent decision in Coastal First Nations v. British Columbia (Environment), the B.C. Supreme Court (Court) held that the provincial government retains authority to impose conditions on the proposed Northern Gateway...more

The Final Northern Long-Eared Bat 4(d) Rule: Impacts to Energy Infrastructure Projects

Last spring, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service”) published a final rule to list the northern long-eared bat (the “Bat”) as a threatened species and an interim 4(d) rule under the Endangered Species Act (the...more

Department of the Interior Announces Comprehensive Review of Federal Coal Program

On January 15, Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the Department of the Interior will launch a comprehensive review to identify and evaluate potential reforms to the federal coal program. During the review, which is...more

Renewable Energy Update - January 2016 #2

Renewable Energy Focus - Clean Energy Got a Record $330 Billion in Investment Last Year - Fortune - Jan 14 Despite the plunge in oil prices, investors and governments around the world put $330 billion into clean...more

US Suspends Coal Leasing on Federal Lands

Legal challenges to moratorium likely as US Department of Interior considers reforms. On Friday, January 15, 2016, US Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the US will “pause” federal coal...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2016 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - State lawmaker seeks to close old SoCal Gas wells in Aliso Canyon - Los Angeles Business - Jan 12 State Senator Fran Pavley is calling for Southern California Gas Co. to close older...more

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