Zoning, Planning & Land Use Civil Remedies Energy & Utilities

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Supreme Court Allows Early Challenges to Wetlands Jurisdictional Determinations

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a property owner can go to court to challenge a determination by the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) that part of the property is “waters of the U.S.” or connected wetlands and therefore...more

Quicksands and Cutting Edges of the Law: Do Municipal Utility Customers possess Due Process and Vested Rights to Continued...

Sometimes, I read a court’s opinion and put it aside because it is thought provoking beyond its facts and outcome. The case of United States Cold Storage, Inc. v. Town of Warsaw, __ N.C. App. ___, 784 S.E. 2d 575 (April 5,...more

Court’s Tentative Decision Sides in Favor of DOGGR in CBD’s Wastewater Injection Lawsuit

As reported in a previous blog post, Earthjustice, on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”), filed a lawsuit against the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) in May 2015. The...more

Iowa landowners file lawsuits to suspend eminent domain hearings

On Friday, May 20, Bill Hanigan of the Davis Brown Law firm filed separate lawsuits on behalf of Verdell and Marian Johnson, and Marvin and Bonnie Zoch, against Dakota Access Pipeline Company. Both couples are Cherokee County...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

“Waters of the U.S.” Rule Still Subject to Nationwide Stay, For Now

Would you consider this a “Water of the United States” subject to the Clean Water Act? Well think again, because under a new rule, even a dry streambed or channel could be considered a “Water of the U.S.” and thus...more

Environmental Notes - February 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked implementation of President Obama’s signature plan to address climate change pending a decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on the plan’s legality. The Clean Power Plan is being...more

Renewable Energy Update - February 2016 #2

Renewable Energy Focus - President Obama requests significant funding boost for clean energy R&D - Solar Industry Magazine - Feb 9 - President Barack Obama’s 2017 budget proposal for the U.S. Department of...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

Possible Chicanery by DTE On Milford Bypass Loop Pipeline?

Has DTE withheld distribution of complete easements, including the exhibit containing the legal description of the encumbered property, in an attempt to hide the true impacts of the easements from homeowners? Last night, I...more

Environmental Justice Lawsuit Accuses L.A. of Discriminatory Oil Permitting

On Friday, November 6, three environmental organizations filed suit against the City of Los Angeles in California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles. The three groups, Youth for Environmental Justice, the Center for...more

Federal Court Halts Implementation of BLM Fracking Rules

On September 30, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming held that the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") did not have Congressional authority to promulgate and finalize hydraulic...more

Activists ask Court to Scrap EIR and Stop Fracking

Today, July 30, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) filed a complaint in Sacramento County Superior Court against the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”). CBD claims, among other things, that DOGGR...more

Revision Of Coal Mining Permit By Environmental Group Results In Attorney Fee Award

In Black Mesa v. Jewell, 2015 DJDAR 1050, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that an environmental group was entitled to an award of attorney fees arising out of their challenge to the Office...more

Environmental Alert: "Potential Seismic Activity from Injection Wells Prompts Railroad Commission of Texas to Order Hearings"

On Friday, April 24, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) ordered hearings regarding two waste injection well permits. The hearings are to address an alleged connection between the injection wells and seismic activity in...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Fifth Circuit Holds the Word “Replace” in Easement Grant is Ambiguous

Neither the courts of Texas nor Louisiana have directly addressed the meaning of the word “replace” in the context of a pipeline easement and, in particular, whether replacement requires the removal of the old pipeline or...more

UPDATE: Citadel Dumps Challenge to San Benito County Hydraulic Fracturing Ban

Citadel Exploration has abandoned its legal challenge to San Benito County’s Measure J, a voter-sponsored initiative that banned several enhanced recovery methods of extracting oil and gas, including hydraulic fracturing and...more

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project Hits the Courts

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project, which involves the proposed twinning of the existing Edmonton-Burnaby pipeline and the expansion of a marine terminal, was the subject of a number of court decisions last year involving...more

Highlights from the Admiralty Law Institute

The 25th Biennial Admiralty Law Institute kicked off with great success on March 11, 2015. Informative presentations continued on March 12-13, building on the theme of this year’s conference, “Symposium on Maritime Personal...more

Pa. Supreme Court Denies Equitable Tolling of Oil and Gas Lease’s Primary Term

Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, on certification from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, ruled that the primary term of an oil and gas lease would not be equitably tolled during the pendency...more

Court Will Not Halt Horizontal Drilling Operation to Reach Adjacent Lessee’s Land

Using offsite locations for horizontal drilling is becoming increasingly popular as surface use becomes difficult. In Lightning Oil Inc. v. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, the San Antonio Court of Appeals looked at what can...more

Listen to the Words In the Injunction Battle

In Lightning Oil Company v. Anadarko E&P Offshore, LLC, the surface and 1/6 of the minerals of the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area is owned by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 5/6th of the minerals is owned by the...more

Womble Client Wins Stormwater Case in Charlottesville

Another victory in Central Virginia for Womble Carlyle. Last week, Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Higgins ruled in favor of the Shops at Stonefield (also known as Albemarle Place), finding the stormwater...more

Louisiana Town Files Second Suit to Block Oil and Gas Well

The Town of Abita Springs filed a suit on December 1, 2014, seeking a declaratory judgment to block the drilling of an oil and gas well about 40 miles north of New Orleans into the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale. Earlier this year,...more

Easements Made Easier: Building Pipelines with the Power of Eminent Domain Under the Natural Gas Act

Any person or entity seeking to construct a natural gas pipeline and successful in obtaining a certificate of convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may exercise the power of eminent domain to...more

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