EPA Issues Proposal to Repeal the Clean Power Plan

On October 10, 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt formally announced that he had signed a proposed rule to repeal the Obama EPA’s controversial Clean Power Plan (CPP). This proposal is the first formal step toward repealing the CPP and the beginning of a public process that the Trump Administration will use to determine whether to issue a rule to replace the CPP and, if so, what a replacement rule will look like. Although the CPP was never implemented – the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the rule in February 2016 to ensure that it would not come into effect until the courts could determine...

New Tactics, Same Result: Local Efforts to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing Continue to Falter Despite New Approaches to Regulation

Despite numerous attempts in recent years by local governments to regulate oil and gas activities at the municipal level, recent developments in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Colorado signal a continued trend favoring states’ authority to regulate these issues as matters of statewide concern. Pennsylvania On September 29, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania invalidated a township charter that sought to prohibit corporations from depositing wastewater from oil and gas activities within the municipality’s borders. The municipality in question, Highland Township,...

U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Report - September 2017

The Bracewell U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Report is a monthly report that provides summaries of certain disciplinary notices by U.S. exchanges during the prior month. The report has a particular focus on notices potentially relevant to energy commodities and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of each and every notice issued. Instead, the report is intended to provide market participants, and compliance personnel in particular, with illustrative examples of rule violations and to bring to light enforcement trends across the exchanges. COMEX COMEX 15-0261-BC-1 Misc...

FERC Improves Treatment of Passive Tax Equity for Transaction Approvals

On October 4, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued an order clarifying that it will not treat certain tax equity interests in public utilities or public utility holding companies as voting securities for purposes of transaction approval requirements pursuant to Section 203 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) (“Passive Interest Order”). [1] The Passive Interest Order provides guidance regarding FERC’s consideration of certain “tax equity” passive interests for purposes of determining whether transactions involving such interests constitute a transfer of control over the...

Federal District Court Vacates BLM’s Postponement of the Waste Prevention Rule

On October 4, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a decision vacating the Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM’s”) June 15, 2017 notice that indefinitely postponed compliance dates for sections of BLM’s Methane and Waste Prevention Rule . State of California v. BLM , Nos. 17-cv-03804-EDL and 17-cv-3885-EDL (N.D. Cal., Oct. 4, 2017). The Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, which was adopted as a final rule in November 2016, is intended to limit venting, flaring, and leaks of natural gas from oil and natural gas production activities on public and tribal...

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