The month of August, 2017 has seen three distinct developments that may significantly impact management of “Coal Combustion Residuals,” or “CCR,” which include bottom ash, fly ash, boiler slag, and flue gas desulfurization materials generated from burning coal at steam‑powered electricity plants. Although one of these developments may provide a degree of regulatory relief, the other two may preserve or even strengthen existing regulatory requirements. Continue Reading The Shifting Landscape For Coal Ash

On August 2, President Trump signed new legislation which will impose new sanctions on Arctic offshore, deepwater or shale oil drilling projects which are partially owned by certain sanctioned Russian energy companies.  Previously, these sanctions only applied if the sanctioned Russian companies owned greater than a 50% ownership interest in the project and if the projects were also located within the Russian federation.  Now, the sanctions will apply to “new” offshore, deepwater or shale projects in which the sanctioned companies own as little as a 33% interest and will also apply to projects located both inside and outside of the Russian federation.  The United States Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) is required to issue new rules implementing these changes within 90 days.  A detailed review of the new legislation, which also includes sanctions against North Korea and Iran, can be found on our TMT Industry Insider blog.

In the July, 2017 issue of Rock Products Magazine, Husch Blackwell Senior counsel, Ali Nelson, writes about why aggregate producers should care about the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia order ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers improperly granted an easement authorizing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). While the new administration may seek to streamline or even eliminate permitting or regulatory hurdles impeding development of natural resources, those opposing development may be even more aggressive in seeking court action to block or delay it.

Ali notes that the underlying caution may be that regardless of the creation of more “development friendly” permitting agencies, companies must be even more diligent in seeing that the agencies adequately document their decisions.  Read the full article on pages 50-51 of the July edition.

NOTE: An earlier draft of this update indicating that the FAA policy was still under consideration was inadvertently published last week. That draft was out of date and should not be relied on as a statement of FAA policies currently under consideration.

Changes to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) policy concerning the issuance of Determinations of No Hazard to Air Navigation (DNHs) under discussion late last year would have had profound and potentially adverse repercussions on wind development projects nationwide. Fortunately, Continue Reading FAA Changes Would Have Disrupted Financing of Wind Development Projects Nationwide

In an article by Keith Goldberg of Law360, Husch Blackwell attorney and former FERC Chairman, Jim Hoecker, discuss the role of FERC Order 1000 in regional transmission planning.  He and other experts provide insight on how Order 1000 has initiated the long-term planning process but failed to spur the significant development necessary to provide regional electricity solutions.

While the Texas 85th legislative session began with the filing of several bills on a diverse range of energy issues, few had made it into law when the session ended on May 29, 2017. The House and Senate passed legislation that impacts wind generation facilities, electric utility rate-setting and the General Land Office’s retail electricity program. Bills that failed to gain traction concerned grid security, energy efficiency programs, and research and development.

Our Texas energy group issued a client alert detailing several of the bills.

Drilling_Roughnecks_(8744524276)There has been a tremendous amount of commentary and analysis recently about the dramatic increase in oil and gas activity and production in the Permian Basin, the SCOOP/STACK plays in Oklahoma and even the Eagle Ford Basin.  There has been much less written about how the “recovery” has impacted oil and gas activity in the Williston Basin in North Dakota.

Last Friday, the North Dakota Industrial Commission Department of Mineral Resources released its “Director’s Cut” which contains Continue Reading Oil Production Recovery Slow to Hit North Dakota

energy_solarSuniva, Inc., a bankrupt U.S. producer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells, filed a petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) seeking relief from the effects of importation of foreign manufactured CSPV cells and modules. Suniva requests relief in the form of a minimum price for solar modules imported into the United States and imposition of an additional four-year tariff on all imported CSPV cells and modules that would establish a price-per-watt for inbound foreign competitors double that of current levels.

The requested relief calls for Continue Reading Proposed Tariffs Could Dramatically Affect Expansion of U.S. Solar Industry

Power plant silhouetteEarlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an order granted EPA’s motion to hold the Clean Power Plan litigation in abeyance while EPA reviews the carbon pollution emission guidelines for existing power plants and the standards of performance of new, modified, and reconstructed power plants and, if appropriate, publishes proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding those rules. Review of the rules is required by President Trump’s Executive Order targeting climate change regulation (discussed further here).

The motion for abeyance was opposed by numerous parties, including cities and states; Calpine Corporation and municipal power companies; the American Wind Energy Association and Solar Energy Industries Association; and environmental organizations. They argued that Continue Reading Court’s 60-Day Abeyance of Clean Power Plan Litigation May Help Efforts to Suspend, Revise, or Rescind Rules

As published in a recent Husch Blackwell client alert, on April 26, 2017 the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) published a notice in the Federal Register setting out the hearing schedule for the investigation of steel imports that was announced on April 20, 2017. The scope of the investigation appears to be broad and could affect large portions of the U.S. economy and supply chain. Thus, the announcement is important both for what it says and does not say.

Read the entire alert here.