Labor & Employment Energy & Utilities

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Proposed Oil Refinery Regulations Tackle Safety Concerns

On July 14, 2016, the California Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced a “landmark set of regulations to strengthen workplace and environmental safety at oil refineries across the state.” The refinery safety...more

Mine Operators Face Conundrum over MSHA’s RFI on Diesel Exhaust

The mining industry faces a conundrum over the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Request for Information (RFI) for industry data and experiences accumulated by underground mine operators over the past 15 years. MSHA’s...more

Mine Commission Upholds Safety Agency’s Demand for Records in Split Decision

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has upheld a judge’s decision favoring the government over a Western Kentucky coal operator who had refused to honor a directive to provide federal authorities with a...more

Unsecured Creditor Perspectives in Energy Restructurings

This Practice Note provides guidance and advice to unsecured creditors in energy restructurings. This Note specifically addresses restructurings in the oil, gas, and coal industries and the strategies that unsecured creditors...more

Mine Agency Focuses Attention on Workplace Exams, Diesel Exhaust Exposure

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has rolled out two initiatives: a proposed rule increasing requirements for workplace examinations that, MSHA says, is aimed at curbing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among...more

WARN Act and Oil Field Rightsizing: Court Finds Layoff Does Not Require Notice

In a recent case involving the layoff of employees assigned to land drilling rigs, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas limited the ability of plaintiffs to claim that multiple rigs collectively form a...more

NC Legislative Update - June 2016 #2

This Week - The North Carolina political community was saddened to learn Wednesday, that former Rep. Ruth Samuelson (R-Mecklenburg), who chose not to seek reelection in 2014, has been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian...more

MSHA Announces Proposed Rule on Mine Examinations

MSHA announced today that it has formally submitted a proposed mine examination rule for publication in the June 8, 2016 Federal Register. The proposed mine examination rule (RIN:1219-AB87) would require metal and nonmetal...more

MSHA Issues New Workplace Exam Proposed Rule

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced today that it was issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking that will amend the Workplace Examination regulation at 30 C.F.R. § 56.18002 (Surface) and § 57.18002...more

Citing Mine Inspector’s ‘Animus,’ Judge Softens Tough Enforcement Action

Convinced that the tough enforcement action brought against a West Virginia coal operator by an inspector for the Mine Safety and Health Administration was influenced by a long-standing grudge the inspector held toward the...more

Safety Agencies Expect to Release 9 Rules This Year

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has identified seven proposals the agency hopes to release as final rules before the end of the year, while the Mine Safety and Health Administration, its sister agency within...more

Mine Safety Agency Rolls Out New Fatality Prevention Initiative

Noting that 2015 was the safest year ever in the U.S. mining industry, the Mine Safety and Health Administration nonetheless has rolled out a new safety initiative, Rules to Live By (RTLB) IV....more

U.S. Solar Jobs Exceed Oil and Gas for First Time in 2015

According to a report released last week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the number of U.S. solar jobs surpassed those in oil and natural gas extraction for the first time last year. Overall, renewable...more

Banking & Financial Services E-Note - May 2016

The Southern District of New York has issued an opinion that permitted a debtor to reject certain gathering and condensation agreements as executory contracts. Because the midstream service sector finances the construction of...more

In Case You Missed It: Launch Links - May 2016 #3

Some interesting links we found across the web this week: - Don’t Expect New Crowdfunding Rules to Create a Startup Boom - Equity crowdfunding went live this week under the SEC’s recent rulemaking, but many...more

Legislative Update

House Passes Budget: This week was budget week at the General Assembly with the House passing a $22.22 billion budget by week’s end. The budget drew more bipartisan support than any other budget since the Republicans...more

Feds Renew Focus on Worker Safety and Individual Accountability

Massey Energy CEO Donald Blankenship reported to a California prison on May 12 to begin serving a one-year sentence for willfully violating mine safety standards. His conviction was related to the deadliest United States...more

Environmental Notes - May 2016

The news has been full of stories and articles concerning Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR), also referred to as coal ash. CCR became a hot topic in 2008 when a coal ash pond at a utility plant in Tennessee spilled more than 5...more

2015-16 New York State Budget

On April 13, 2016, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the 2016-17 New York State Budget into law. We summarize the highlights of the revenue provisions below....more

Elevated Fine Lacks Justification, Mine Safety Agency Attorney Concedes

A government attorney agreed with opposing counsel that the Mine Safety and Health Administration had not justified a proposed 127 percent increase in fines against an Illinois coal operator. The two sides disagreed, however,...more

Environmental Notes - April 2016

EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance recently proposed changes to its National Program Manager (NMP) Guidance that, in part, would revise EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives (“NEIs”) for federal fiscal...more

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. Maine Legislative Session in Recess Until April 29 - In late night sessions ending at 2:30...more

Sophisticated User Defense Does Not Extend to Salesman

Richard Moran III v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corporation - Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (April 13, 2016) - In 2008, the California Supreme Court unanimously held that the “sophisticated user” defense...more

OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Rule: Compliance Clock Ticks While Legal Challenges Mount

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published its final rule on “Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica” (the “Silica Rule”) on March 25, 2016, and as expected numerous manufacturing...more

When is a Reward a Bribe? OSHA Policy Limits Workplace Safety Incentive Programs

Years ago, my employer gave employees a coaster every quarter that the group had no OSHA reportable incidents. Now it would have been in violation to have such a program. Despite criticism from workers compensation carriers...more

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