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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

DOT Denies Request to Prohibit Shipment of Bakken Crude Oil on Older Tank Cars; Environmental Groups Push Battle to Courtroom

On December 2, 2014 following the Department of Transportation’s (“DOT”) November 7, 2014 denial of their request for an immediate ban on use of older DOT-111 or CTC-111 railcars for the shipment of crude oil from the Bakken...more

CalPERS’ Commitment to Infrastructure (Real Assets Annual Program Review, November 2014)

On November 17, 2014, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest U.S. public pension fund with approximately $300 billion in assets, conducted its annual real assets program review. CalPERS’...more

Wrap-Up of Federal and State Chemical Regulatory Developments, 10/14

EPA Schedules SAP Meeting On Endocrine Activity: On September 16, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has scheduled a four-day meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide...more

First District Holds CEQA’s Application To Public Agency’s Approval of Railroad Operations Is Preempted By Federal Law Despite...

The North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA), a public agency established by state law, contracted with Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company (NWPRC) to allow NWPRC to conduct freight services on tracks controlled by NCRA....more

The Latest Update on Aviation Regulatory Matters Involving DOT, FAA, TSA, and Other Federal Agencies

Congressional Action Impacting Aviation - Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Requests Airline Information on Ancillary Service Fees, Consumer Privacy Protection: Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV, chairman of the...more

Texas Railroad Commission Proposes New Rules Related to Pipeline Eminent Domain Claims

The November 2011 issue of the Energy Newsletter addressed the case of Texas Rice Land Partners, Ltd. v. Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas, LLC, in an article titled Texas Supreme Court Ruling May Slow the Installation of Certain...more

Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Oil and Gas Operations—Q and A

The desire to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in commercial operations is steadily building. A wide variety of businesses would like to use these devices to improve efficiency and safety, and reduce costs. One field that...more

Federal Regulatory Agenda Update - June 2014

Federal regulatory activity is at an all-time high, with more than 3,700 regulations in just the past year. This has caused the Code of Federal Regulations to grow to 238 volumes with nearly 175,000 pages – 4,000 of which...more

Industry Takes Steps to Address Safety of Crude Oil Shipments

The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently issued an Emergency Order (EO) requiring all rail carriers to notify State Emergency Response Commissions regarding the expected routing of their unit trains of Bakken crude...more

EPA Asks STB to Resolve Preemption Question

The Administrator of Region IX of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has petitioned the Surface Transportation Board (STB) for a declaratory order to address whether locomotive idling rules issued by the South Coast...more

Safety Alerts and Other Recommendations in the Wake of Rail Accidents Involving Bakken Formation Crude Oil

Recent accidents involving rail cars transporting crude oil from the Bakken shale region have resulted in the heightened interest of rail industry regulators and other federal agencies, including the Pipeline and Hazardous...more

Keystone XL Pipeline Project Halted in Nebraska

On Wednesday, a Nebraska District Court dealt the Keystone XL pipeline project a heavy blow. The court invalidated a law that allowed the state's governor to approve the pipeline's passage through Nebraska. The court ruled...more

Texas Supreme Court Upholds Gas Utility's Rate Schedule Containing a Cost of Service Adjustment Clause

On January 17, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court held that the Railroad Commission of Texas (the "Commission") has the authority to adopt a gas utility rate schedule providing for automatic annual adjustments based on increases...more

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