Zoning, Planning & Land Use Energy & Utilities

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Renewable Energy Update -- September 2014 #3

Renewable Energy Focus - New solar plant nears approval in California desert: SFGate.com - Sep 15: Despite serious environmental concerns, the California Energy Commission has given a preliminary green light to a...more

FERC Order 800 eases hydropower regulations

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued an order streamlining its regulations for some small hydropower projects. FERC Order No. 800 conforms the Commission's regulations to the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency...more

Real Estate and Land Use - Sep 2014

Evidence of Economic Infeasibility of CEQA Alternatives Explained (SPRAWLDEF v. San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission) - Why it matters: In upholding the approval of a 260-acre expansion to the...more

The Canadian LNG Projects Revolution

Canada’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) market is at something of a turning point. With expanding shale reserves, an amenable regulatory environment and a general comfort with foreign investment in its oil and gas industry,...more

Pierce Atwood Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar (RCC)

This monthly publication provides information on compliance deadlines, regulatory developments, and other developments in federal, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire environmental and land use laws. NEW REGULATORY...more

Aurora Energy Decision Deems Discharges Prohibited, Leaves Open Question of Permit Shield Applicability

On September 3, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion in Alaska Community Action on Toxics v. Aurora Energy Services, LLC, holding that the Clean Water Act General Permit for...more

Supreme Court Roundup: Recent Environmental Law Rulings and Pending Cases

Scaling back considerably from the October 2012 Term, the United States Supreme Court issued only a few rulings affecting environmental law during the October 2013 Term. With significant pronouncements regarding EPA’s Clean...more

Malian Mining Sector Update: Mining Licenses Revocations and Mitigation Strategies

On 31 July 2014, the government of Mali announced that approximately 30 % of all mining permits—spanning a surface area of more than 5,000 square miles—had been cancelled in order to “clean up the sector.” Permits revocations...more

Industry Group Opposes Illinois Fracking Rules

Labor groups and members of the oil and gas industry have joined together in calling for the overhaul of recently proposed rules governing fracking in the state. The pro-fracking coalition, known as Grow-IL, argues that the...more

Aboveground Storage Tank Act Interpretive Rule

This morning, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) filed a proposed interpretive rule (the “Interpretive Rule”) with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office implementing, in part, the recent...more

Keystone XL Pipeline Faced Scrutiny in Nebraska Supreme Court September 5, 2014 Hearing

The Keystone XL pipeline project faced a major hurdle in the Nebraska Supreme Court last Friday, as federal approval of the pipeline may be influenced by the court’s decision regarding the constitutionality of the process by...more

California Energy Commission Delays Compliance With Energy Disclosure Program for Smaller Nonresidential Buildings

The California Energy Commission (CEC) implemented the Nonresidential Building Energy Use Disclosure Program in two phases. The first phase took effect on January 1, 2014 and applies to nonresidential buildings of at least...more

Nova Scotia Bans Hydraulic Fracturing

On September 3, Nova Scotia’s government announced that it will indefinitely ban high volume hydraulic fracturing onshore. According to Energy Minister Andrew Younger, “Nova Scotians have overwhelmingly expressed concern...more

NPDES Permits Are Construed Narrowly Against the Permittee

In July, we noted that the Clean Water Act’s permit shield defense would be construed narrowly, applying only where a permittee had clearly disclosed that the relevant pollutant to the agency. This week, in Alaska Community...more

Greater Guidance Comes To Calif. For Land Appraisals

Courts have long recognized that valuing mineral rights in eminent domain proceedings is inherently speculative, which can lead to wide swings in property valuations. So how can appraisers, property owners and public agencies...more

El Paso Electric Company Issues 25 MW Solar RFP

The El Paso Electric Company (EPE) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking turnkey proposals for the engineering, procurement and construction of two (2) utility-scale solar energy generating facilities, with a...more

Texas Railroad Commission Proposes Regulation to Address Earthquake Risks from Disposal Wells

In the August 29, 2014 issue of the Texas Register (39 Tex. Reg. 6775), the Railroad Commission of Texas proposed several amendments to the regulations governing saltwater and other oil and gas waste disposal (SWD) wells (16...more

Massive California Water Bond Slated for November 4 General Election as Proposition 1

2014 Water Bond targets state’s long-term water needs and aquatic ecosystems. Two months from today, the California electorate will vote up or down on a massive water bond which Governor Jerry Brown signed on August...more

Ivory Coast Mining Code Update: Adoption of the Implementing Legislation

As highlighted in our client alert of March 7, 2014, the Ivorian Parliament approved a new mining code (the “New Mining Code”) on March 5 which aimed at modernizing the mining sector and increasing its...more

Yes, Virginia, It Is Possible To Win A Fee Award Against An Environmental NGO

Last week, Judge Walter Smith, Jr., ordered the Sierra Club to pay more than six million dollars – yes, you read that correctly – to Energy Future Holdings and Luminant Generation, after finding that the Sierra Club’s Clean...more

Illinois Releases New Draft of Hydraulic Fracturing Rules

Last Friday, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) released its highly anticipated revised hydraulic fracturing rules. The IDNR had taken the past year to “re-tool” its oil and gas regulations, and took into...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #7

Environmental and Policy Focus - Former inspector calls for state's last nuclear plant to be closed: Los Angeles Times - Aug 25 -- A former federal inspector has urged regulators to shut down California's last...more

Comments to Forest Service Groundwater Management Directive Due September 3, 2014

Comments to the Groundwater Resource Management Directive proposed by the United States Forest Service to modify Chapter 2560 of the Forest Service Manual are due September 3, 2014. The proposed directive was published in the...more

Legislature Adopts Historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Act Imposes Groundwater Management and Reporting Requirements on Local Agencies - On Friday night, the California Legislature adopted a lawmaking package, including Senate Bills 1168 and 1319 and Assembly Bill 1739,...more

EPA Reinforces Standards to Use "Representative Data" After Sierra Club

On January 22, 2013, in Sierra Club v. EPA, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an opinion that addressed some Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting program issues. Following this...more

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