Transportation Administrative Agency Energy & Utilities

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Second Railroad Commission Decision Agrees Injection Well Not Likely Contributor to Earthquakes

Texas Railroad Commission examiners have determined that a well operated by EnerVest Operating LLC likely did not contribute to a series of earthquakes in the state, mirroring a similar determination made on August 31 in a...more

News from Second and State

On Monday, the House Children and Youth Committee sent H.B. 1276 (Watson, R-Bucks) to the House floor for a vote. The bill would remedy some of the issues arising as county and state agencies implement last year’s amendments...more

Kansas Thumbed Its Nose at EPA’s SIP Requirements — How’d That Work Out?

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today rejected Kansas’s challenge to EPA’s disapproval of Kansas’s SIP revisions intended to comply with the Interstate Transport Rule. The Court found that EPA was not arbitrary or...more

DOT Tank Car Rule Reflects Refined Cost-Benefit Analysis

On May 1, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation, acting through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, issued a much-anticipated final rule on the enhanced tank car standards and operational...more

New Federal Oil-By-Rail Regulations Published

Today, May 8, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a final rule for rail transport of crude oil in the Federal Register. These rules come after several high-profile oil train derailments,...more

FAA Proposes Framework of Regulations For Small-Scale Commercial Drones

On Feb. 15 the Federal Aviation Administration released its long-awaited proposed framework for regulating small-scale commercial drones, which weigh less than 55 pounds.1 In its proposal, the FAA made explicitly clear that...more

New Standards for Shipping Crude Oil, Petroleum Products and Renewable Fuel by Rail

On Friday, May 1, the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) issued a final rule establishing new requirements for transporting flammable liquids in a continuous block of 20 or more tank cars or 35 or more tank cars loaded...more

“Peace Train” or “Crazy Train”?

In my former days defending agency actions in federal court, I had a standard line I used with frequent success when rules were attacked by all sides: “Your Honor, we’ve been sued here by both industry and environmental...more

Recent Crude-by-Rail Developments

The transportation of crude oil by rail continues to be a key issue for rail and energy industry stakeholders as well as policy makers. Below is a summary of recent developments. 1. DOT Takes Six Crude-by-Rail Safety...more

Oil on the Rails: States Increasing Regulation of Oil Trains

The increase in North American petroleum production in recent years, coupled with inadequate pipeline infrastructure, has resulted in a significant rise of, and reliance on, the transport of crude oil by rail. Public...more

Justices Spar Over Pre-Emption as High Court Allows State Law Antitrust Claims to Proceed Against Interstate Pipelines

On April 21, 2015, in a 7-2 decision authored by Justice Breyer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state law antitrust claims brought against interstate pipeline companies by a group of manufacturers and other retail buyers...more

FERC Finalizes Rule on Natural Gas and Electric Scheduling Practices

The reforms are aimed to address natural gas and electric scheduling concerns resulting from the increase in gas-fired generation, to provide greater flexibility to industry participants, and to better ensure reliable and...more

Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law – April 16, 2015

The Virginia Supreme Court issued opinions this morning during its April term. This term resulted in several opinions affecting Virginia local government law. Opinions addressed evidence in a condemnation case, interpreted...more

Energy Companies’ Interest in Drones Gains Momentum as FAA Reacts to Comments on Proposed Small UAS Rules

On March 24, 2015, NextEra Energy became the latest energy company granted a Section 333 Exemption by the Federal Aviation Administration. NextEra Energy, whose subsidiaries Florida Power & Light and NextEra Energy Resources...more

Energy and Infrastructure Companies Aren’t Waiting for the FAA’s New Drone Rules

With a little over one month to go in the comment period on the FAA’s proposed rules for the Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and facing the prospect of at least another year before those rules...more

Energy Industry News and Trends

This regular publication by DLA Piper lawyers focuses on helping clients navigate the ever-changing business, legal and regulatory landscape. - Oil companies may need to prepare for more regulation of rail shipments of...more

New Pipeline Safety Rules: What You Need to Know

Executive Summary - New regulations for pipeline construction, safety and transportation issued by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which is an agency of the Department of...more

ISO and RTO Responses to FERC Data Requests Fail to Provide Clear Support for Proposed Gas Day Rulemaking

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently employed the somewhat unusual device of issuing data requests to electric power industry participants in an attempt to obtain information that might support a...more

Anticipating PHMSA's Crude by Rail Rule

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's much-anticipated crude by rail rule will address over 3,000 comments, spanning a wide range of public opinion on crude by rail safety. PHMSA must address vast...more

Regulators Respond to Recent Crude by Rail Incidents: Ten Considerations Before Shipping Crude by Rail to Mitigate Exposure

Last week’s derailments in West Virginia and Canada bring more scrutiny to the already heavily scrutinized shipment of crude by rail given the real-time media coverage of the incidents. Last Friday, Oregon Senator Ron...more

FAA Opens the Door for Drone Use by Utilities and Energy Companies

On February 15, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration issued its long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), a broad class of technology commonly referred to as drones. While...more

California Supreme Court To Resolve Appellate Court Split on Federal Preemption in Railroad Regulation

On December 10, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted petition for review in Friends of the Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority to resolve a split between the First and Third District Courts of Appeal. (230...more

Oil Patch Regulators Order Bakken Crude “Stabilized,” A Step to Enhance Oil Train Safety

On December 9 the North Dakota Industrial Commission issued an Order requiring production facilities to separate volatile gases, the so-called “light ends,” like propane and butane, from crude oil before it is shipped to...more

State Regulators Are On Track To Improve Oil Train Safety

Our November 13 post noted that most of the crude oil from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota is shipped to ports and refineries throughout the United States by rail, typically in unit trains with one hundred cars or more....more

2015 Oil and Gas Regulatory Outlook

The U.S. government recently announced plans for a number of regulatory initiatives in 2015 that will affect the oil and gas industry. Planned Federal Regulations Target the Oil and Gas Industry Twice per year, the U.S....more

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