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California Environmental Law & Policy Update - August 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Lawmakers and Governor Brown claim major victory on climate change bills - Sacramento Bee - Aug 24 - California lawmakers on Wednesday advanced a pair of bills to sustain the...more

Municipal Condemnation of Privately Held Utilities Continues to be a Hot Issue, but at what Cost?

In January, I spoke at a conference in Austin about efforts by municipalities to condemn privately-held utility companies. At the time, I figured it would be a one-off presentation on a pretty niche issue, even for eminent...more

Greater Flexibility in Challenging Pipeline Takings

The standards contained in the Uniform Condemnation Procedures Act allow greater flexibility to trial judges when evaluating the necessity of a pipeline taking than other takings. Since initially writing this post, as a...more

Plains All American Case Dismissed – Federal Court Determines Holder Must Develop Factual Record Before Challenging Kelmar...

On August 16, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware granted Kelmar’s and Delaware’s motions to dismiss in Plains All American Pipeline, L.P., v. Cook, et al. The court determined that the Plaintiff (1)...more

The Arbitrary and Capricious Standard Remains Deferential: The Corps’ Nationwide Permit 21 Survives Review

Late last week, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges to the Army Corps’ Nationwide Permit 21, which allows small surface mining projects to proceed without individual permits under § 404. ...more

Solar Industry Update:  What’s on the Back of My Ballot? What Amendment 4 Is All About

If you vote by mail, then you’ve likely already received your August 30 primary ballot with a proposed amendment to the Florida constitution on the back. It is Amendment 4, and it is the only amendment on the primary ballot....more

Do the Provisions of the Judicial Code Automatically Apply in Eminent Domain Cases? The Commonwealth Court Recently Said No.

On June 22, 2016, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court decided the case of Township of Millcreek v. Angela Cres Trust of June 25, 1998, 1725 C.D. 2015, which decided whether 42 Pa.C.S. § 5505 applies to eminent domain cases. ...more

Arizona Supreme Court Affirms Corporation Commission’s Constitutional Authority

The Arizona Supreme Court has affirmed the broad constitutional powers of the Arizona Corporation Commission, in an opinion issued on August 8, 2016. The decision comes in Residential Utility Consumer Office v. Arizona...more

Albany County Supreme Court Vacates New York PSC Reset Order Related to Retail Electric Supply Companies

A New York Supreme Court recently vacated the New York Public Service Commission’s order that would have significantly altered the structure of the New York retail electric market. Although vacated, the matter has been...more

Alameda Fracking Ban: All Bark with No Bite

On July 19, 2016, Alameda County, California (“County”) became the first county in the Bay Area to approve a ban on hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”). The County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the ban through...more

Federal Court Grants Full Civil Trial to FERC Enforcement Target

The decision will likely affect the strategies of enforcement targets in electric market manipulation cases. For the first time, a federal district judge has held that a review of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s...more

DC Circuit Ruling Threatens to Topple FERC Tax Allowance Policy

Court rules that FERC policy permitting a tax allowance for pass-through entities may unjustifiably permit “double-recovery” of tax expense. On July 1, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued...more

US Circuit Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit delays oral arguments in Clean Power Plan litigation

On May 16, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit announced that it was delaying scheduled June 2 oral arguments before a three-judge panel in litigation over the Clean Power Plan. Instead, the DC...more

Business Litigation Report - June 2016

Federal Circuit Recognizes New, but Limited, Privilege for Patent Agent Communications - Introduction - Patent agents are licensed to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), and...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

Coal Plant Shutdowns: Operators Need to Manage Community Relationships

Imagine this scenario: A company operates a coal ash landfill. Local citizens protest and organize an advocacy group against it and create a Facebook page. The company responds by suing the individual members of the group for...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules

On June 14, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the Federal Commerce Commission’s recently enacted rules that enforce “net neutrality” as to Internet Service Providers. ...more

Subpoenas and SLAPP Motions to Dismiss

If an individual or entity believes a subpoena is aimed at silencing debate on a matter of public interest, can it invoke the DC anti-SLAPP statute in response?  That is the question presented by a recent anti-SLAPP motion...more

Minnesota May Not Prohibit Power Sales That Would Increase Statewide CO2 Emissions. Why Not? Pick Your Reason.

If you needed any further proof that energy law is very complicated, Wednesday’s decision in North Dakota v. Heydinger should convince you. The judgment is simple – the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Minnesota...more

Eighth Circuit Panel Rules Minnesota Climate Change Law Unconstitutional

Today, the Eighth Circuit determined that the Next Generation Energy Act (“NGEA”), a Minnesota law that established power sector standards for carbon dioxide emissions, was unconstitutional. In so doing, the Court affirmed...more

Sewer Connection Must Be By The Least Restrictive Means

Barbara L. Yoder and Joseph I. Yoder (“Owners”) own a home in Sugar Grove Township, Pennsylvania (“Township”), which has a mandatory sewer connection ordinance (the “Ordinance”), requiring connection to the Sugar Grove Area...more

A Big Win for Internet Consumers

On June 14, 2016 the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued its ruling in United States Telecom Association, et al v. Federal Communications Commission and United States of America. The...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

If You Don’t Like Nukes, Petition Congress: The D.C. Circuit Affirms the NRC’s GEIR On Nuclear Waste Storage

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges by several states and the NRDC to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement analyzing the impacts of continued on-site storage...more

More Than Chickens, Lizards and Polar Bears – Environmental Case Law Update (Dec. 2015 – Mar. 2016)

This blog, although not brief, is a brief report on some of the significant environmental law and administrative cases decided in late December and the first quarter of 2016. U.S. SUPREME COURT - FERC Final Rule re...more

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