Environmental_Protection_Agency_logoThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a request for comment soliciting input from the public regarding existing environmental regulations that might be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification consistent with President Trump’s executive order regarding enforcing his regulatory reform agenda.

That order directed federal agencies to form Continue Reading EPA Seeks Input on Repeal, Replacement, or Modification of Environmental Regulations

Horn_Robert sachs_adam2016In the name of job creation, the Trump Administration is attempting to single-handedly bring back the coal industry via executive action.  But while the president may be scoring political points in coal country, as a practical matter that’s really not where energy sector job growth will come from in the next few years.

Nevertheless, the past several months have seen a resurgence of the long dormant coal industry.  Hampered by a number of factors Continue Reading Around the Horn: Trump’s Support for Coal and the Future of Renewables

Oncor_logoDuring the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) open meeting today, the commissioners unanimously approved, with no substantive discussion, a proposed order finding that the sale of Oncor Electric to NextEra Energy is not in the public interest.

On October 31, 2016, NextEra and Oncor had filed a Joint Report and Application with the PUCT seeking the regulatory approvals required for NextEra to acquire Oncor.  NextEra was hoping to acquire both the approximately 80% interest in Oncor indirectly held by Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH), which is currently in bankruptcy, and the 19.75% interest indirectly held by Texas Transmission Holdings Corporation.  In addition, Continue Reading NextEra Bid to Acquire Oncor Rejected by PUCT

2000px-Texas_flag_map.svgAt the start of today’s Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) open meeting, Chairman Donna Nelson announced that May 15, 2017 will be her final day at the commission.  This is a month before she was speculated to be leaving the commission.  In order to fill her vacant space, the Governor must appoint a replacement.

While the Texas Legislature is in session, the governor’s appointment must be approved by the legislature. However, the governor can choose to wait and appoint a replacement once the legislative session ends on May 29th in order to avoid confirmation of the appointment during the 2017 session.

This will likely mean that the PUCT will be presided over by two members in the interim, with the potential for the commission to reach split decisions in contested cases.

Environmental_Protection_Agency_logoA memorandum issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s acting chief financial officer proposes program cuts to accommodate the Trump Administration’s proposed 31% budget reduction for FY 2018. The memo states that this resource level will require evaluating EPA’s priorities and “thinking differently about the best ways to accomplish [its] core statutory responsibilities.”

The proposed cuts make it clear that regulation of climate change or carbon pollution is no longer Continue Reading Cuts to EPA’s Budget Would Eliminate Climate Protection Programs, Other “Non-Core” Programs

Methane ImageThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has asked a federal appellate court to hold in abeyance an ongoing legal challenge to Obama-era methane emissions standards for new and modified sources in the oil and gas sector as EPA considers whether to change the standards or abandon them altogether. (Am. Petroleum Inst. v. EPA, D.C. Cir., 13-1108). The methane rule, finalized in 2016, established New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for methane emissions at new, modified and reconstructed oil and gas wells.  Dozens of states and industry groups filed legal challenges Continue Reading EPA Asks Court to Halt Methane Suit

OK KS Sierra ClubYesterday, the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma issued an order granting the motions to dismiss of three oil and gas operator defendants, Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy, and New Dominion, in an action brought by the Sierra Club alleging that the operators’ activities “contributed, and continues to contribute, to an increase in earthquakes throughout the State of Oklahoma and in southern Kansas.”
Continue Reading Earthquake Lawsuit Rocked By Burford Abstention

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Fulfilling repeated campaign pledges to roll back the Obama administration’s climate change initiatives, President Trump signed a sweeping executive order yesterday targeting key Obama-era regulations, including the Clean Power Plan and emission standards for the oil and gas industry. The executive order states that it is in the interest of the nation to promote development of energy resources “while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation.” The multi-faceted approach taken by the order makes it clear that this Administration views any regulation of climate change or carbon pollution as “unnecessary.”  Continue Reading Trump’s Executive Order Takes a Multi-Faceted Approach to Eliminating Climate Change Regulation

 

In a four-part series recently published in Law360, Husch Blackwell’s energy regulatory group analyzed the significant aspects of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) most recent installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). The first article focused on the QER’s discussion of the critical role that the nation’s electricity industry plays in supporting the country’s economy and national security.  The second installment examined the QER’s emphasis on grid security. The third focused on Continue Reading Dissecting DOE’s Recent Quadrennial Energy Review

Flag of Colorado waving.Today, the Colorado Court of Appeals held that the Denver district court erred when it dismissed the suit of Colorado youth who challenged the dismissal by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (the “COGCC”) of their rulemaking petition.  Martinez v. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, 2017COA37 (March 23, 2017).  The district court had affirmed the COGCC’s dismissal concluding that the COGCC lacked the authority to consider a proposed rule that would require the COGCC to adjust the balance between the development of oil and gas resources and the protection of public health, safety, and welfare under the Oil and Gas Conservation Act (the “Act”).

The court of appeals concluded Continue Reading Kids’ Climate Suit Can Move Forward in Colorado State Court