Railways

News & Analysis as of

RE: Bakken Crude-by-Rail: Environmental Groups Ask New York State to Regulate DOT-111 Tank Cars

A recent state-law challenge by environmental groups to an aspect of crude-by-rail transportation has teed up the question of federal supremacy over railroad regulation. Because federal law generally preempts state regulation...more

Derailing an Expert in the Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litigation: What Every Litigator Needs to Know

The business of buying, selling, investing in, and arbitraging legal claims continues to grow, and carries with it hidden pitfalls. This is particularly the case when a litigation expert has a business relationship with a...more

Canada's Energy East Pipeline Project

A subsidiary of Canadian energy company TransCanada has proposed a crude oil pipeline running 4,600 kilometers from Alberta and Saskatchewan to Saint John, New Brunswick. The proposed Energy East Pipeline Project would...more

Federal Court Orders DOT to Respond to Sierra Club’s Unsafe Tank Car Lawsuit

A Federal Court has ordered the Department of Transportation (DOT) to respond to a lawsuit filed by three environmental organizations—Earthjustice, Sierra Club and ForestEthics—in which the parties asked the court to order...more

Environmental Groups Seek to Derail Bakersfield Crude-by-Rail Project

A coalition of environmental groups has filed a lawsuit challenging Kern County’s approval of the first substantial oil-by-rail expansion project at a California refinery, alleging that the comprehensive Environmental Impact...more

Developments in EU Transport Law - October 2014

Excerpts from this Newsletter: European Commission: Violeta Bulc as new Transport Commissioner-designate - On 15 October 2014, the Council of the European Union today adopted the list of...more

Enactment of SB 785 Clears Caltrain Electrification for Design-Build

California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., has signed California Senate Bill (SB) 785. As my colleague Nancy Smith has observed, enactment of SB 785 is a major step forward for the State of California, because now many more...more

High-Speed Rail Authority May Use Bond Funds – Supreme Court Rules

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (“CHSRA”) is gaining more steam in keeping the High-Speed Rail Project (the “Project”) on track. Today, the California Supreme Court issued a decision declining to review an appellate...more

OCC Releases Interpretive Letter Regarding National Bank’s Authority to Engage in Railcar Leasing and Meet the OCC’s ‘Net Lease’...

The OCC released an interpretive letter (“Letter #1142”) in which it concluded that a national bank’s proposal to arrange for third-party repair and maintenance service providers to service on-lease railcars and act as an...more

The Future of Rail 2050

California’s High-Speed Rail project is . . . well . . . very California. Mix some forward, independent thinking (it was first proposed by then (and now) Governor Brown back in the 1980s), with a dash of high tech...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects Environmental Groups’ RCRA Claims Against Railyard Operators

The Ninth Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of claims by environmental groups attempting to characterize air emissions from California railyards as “disposal” of waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)....more

Texas Railroad Commission Proposes New Regulations for High-Risk Seismic Areas

On Tuesday, amidst claims that hydraulic fracturing could be causing earthquakes in some parts of Texas, the Texas Railroad Commission proposed amendments to permitting regulations for injection wells. The proposed rules...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - Appellate court upholds environmental work for high-speed rail via Pacheco Pass: Fresno Bee - Jul 24 -- State appeals justices on Thursday upheld a lower court's approval of an...more

Secretary Foxx Holds Virtual National Town Hall, Addresses Transportation Policy

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx chaired a “virtual” town hall meeting, entitled “Moving from Uncertainty to Long-Term Transportation Investment,” on August 6, 2014. The town hall was open to the general public, as...more

Court Signals Green to $8.6bn California High-Speed Rail Bond Issuance

The Third District Court of Appeal reversed a Sacramento Superior Court Judge’s ruling that prohibited the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) from selling bonds under Proposition 1A to construct the High Speed Rail Project...more

Energy Newsletter - August 2014

In This Issue: - Fifth Circuit Reins In Trend of Expanding ESA Liability for Remote Harm - Japan's Pivotal Role in the Global LNG Industry's 50-Year History - Government of Greece to Launch New Licensing...more

Rating Agency Developments

On July 31, Moody’s released its rating methodology for global manufacturing companies. On July 25, Fitch released its global rating criteria for Corporate CDOs. On July 25, DBRS issued its methodology for rating companies in...more

Rules for Rail Transport of Crude Oil and Ethanol Still a Work in Progress

In response to rail accidents over the past several years involving crude oil and ethanol, the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) has been working with industry stakeholders and the National Transportation Safety Board...more

Of High Speed Rails and Litigation Snails: The Train Rolls On As Third District Rejects Additional CEQA Challenges To High-Speed...

While CEQA actions are statutorily designed as special proceedings with priority over other civil actions, and thus mandated to be heard and resolved expeditiously, when complex or controversial projects with dedicated...more

Capital Thinking: Energy

DOT PUBLISHES NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING FOR NEW RAIL SAFETY STANDARDS - On Wednesday, July 23, the Department of Transportation (DOT) released a proposed rule designed to enhance the transportation safety of oil...more

Amtrak's Metrics-Making Power Hangs In The Balance

In July 2013, the D.C. Circuit ruled that Section 207 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 ("PRIIA"), under which Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration ("FRA") jointly established metrics and...more

The Maryland "Purple Line" Transit Project Releases its Final Request for Proposals

On July 28, 2014, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) issued the final request for proposals for a public-private partnership to design, build, finance, operate and...more

USDOT Proposes New Rules for Rail Transport of Fossil Fuels

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“Administration”), an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation (“USDOT”), issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) for...more

State and Local Communities Respond to Crude-by-Rail Safety Issue

July 6 marked the one year anniversary of the crude oil derailment in Lac Megantic Quebec, which significantly heightened throughout North America the awareness about safety issues surrounding crude by rail. This heightened...more

Speculation Mounts Over Impending Crude By Rail Rule

As speculation over the federal government’s forthcoming rule on rail shipments of crude oil grows, two items hit the press last week increasing speculation over the details of the reforms. ...more

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