Back in November, MSHA head David Zatezalo indicated that MSHA’s initiative to “blur the lines” between coal and M/NM enforcement had ended. As an apparent follow-up, in late December MSHA released a new, unified M/NM and coal inspection handbook, and has now started training investigators on the new handbook.

Continue Reading MSHA Unveils New Unified Inspection Handbook

Earlier this month, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held hearings on the recently proposed Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, S.2666 (“PLREDA”). Although similar to the House resolution proposed last summer, PLREDA is the most recent bi-partisan effort to promote wind, solar, and geothermal development on public lands.  Its ultimate objective is to permit at least 25 gigawatts of renewable power projects on public lands by the end of 2025. Continue Reading Renewed commitment to renewables: Senate bill hopes to foster renewable development on public lands

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a sweeping Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) proposing to dramatically reform its regulations that implement the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA).  Continue Reading FERC Proposes Sweeping Changes to PURPA Regulations

The Texas legislature recently passed House Bill 2845 (“HB 2845”) imposing specific requirements on wind energy leases and wind developers’ decommissioning obligations for wind energy projects. While wind leases typically impose obligations on project companies relating to the removal of wind projects, HB 2845 mandates that wind leases must include specific provisions describing such obligations.

Continue Reading New Statutory Requirements for Texas Wind Farm Leases

When beginning a solar project in Texas, developers must be cognizant of the potential conflict between the surface and mineral estates. In Texas, mineral rights can be severed from the surface estate, and when severed, the mineral estate rights are dominant, meaning the mineral estate has the implied right to use as much of the surface, subsurface, and adjacent airspace of the land as is reasonably necessary to locate and develop the mineral estate beneath. This right can cause complications for solar developers if not properly addressed.

This blog post focuses on the preemptive steps a solar developer should take to protect its project from impacts by oil and gas operations.

Continue Reading Texas Solar Energy Projects: Avoiding Mineral Issues