Powered by the attorneys of Bracewell, Energy Legal Blog® is your resource for updates and analysis on national and global energy issues.
  1. EPA Issues Final Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009 10:39 am by

    EPA’s new GHG Inventory Rule is now final and will require prompt attention by many business sectors to help ensure compliance effective January 2010.  The rule establishes the most sweeping monitoring and reporting regime in memory and will serve as the basis for future policies and legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Companies and large institutions need to assess the rule applicability on a facility-by-facility basis and, if applicable, will need to integrate the new requirements into existing environmental management systems and budgets.

  2. NIST Seeks Public Comment on Smart Grid Framework

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009 9:18 am by

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the US Department of Commerce on September 24 released its first round of almost 80 draft “Smart Grid” standards, which are intended to establish a framework for Smart Grid development.  These initial standards establish a conceptual model for the Smart Grid by (1) addressing how the many complex systems that make up the Smart Grid interrelate to each other; (2) developing a cyber-security strategy; and (3) identifying interfaces for which interoperability standards are needed.  (Interoperability-a key issue in standards for the Smart Grid-refers to the ability of diverse systems and their components to work together.)  The standards are available for public comment for the next 30 days (until around October 24, 2009), after which NIST will finalize them and send them to FERC for final approval and formal issuance.


  3. State Regulators Continue Battles Against Federally-Approved Capacity Markets Despite Recent Setbacks

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009 1:06 pm by

    Maryland and New Jersey’s state utility boards August 24 petitioned the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to review FERC’s approval of PJM’s initial Reliability Pricing Model (RPM) capacity auctions. The state regulators, joined by more than a dozen other petitioners, argued before FERC that “[t]he absence of price discipline provided by new capacity resources and the ability of existing resources to withhold some capacity within the RPM rules combined to produce capacity prices in the transition period that are not comparable to those that would be produced in a competitive market or determined under cost-based regulation.” As a consequence, the state parties asked FERC to re-compute four RPM auctions (for delivery years 2007-8, 2008-9, 2009-10, and 2010-11), which were allegedly over-inflated. FERC roundly rejected these arguments, finding that the state parties’ requested relief was “not exactly clear” and that no violation of the RPM Settlement Agreement or the PJM tariff was evident, and therefore dismissed the complaint. (more…)

  4. Apex Oil: Environmental Cleanup Liability Survives Bankruptcy

    12:04 pm by

    In U.S. v. Apex Oil, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit ruled 3-0 that EPA’s cleanup injunction against the corporate successor to a chemical company was not discharged in Chapter 11 because the injunction does not create a right to payment and, consequently, is not a ‘debt’ under the Bankruptcy Code.

    In essence, Apex had argued that the injunction would require the company to incur costs upward of $150 million and that the purpose of the restructuring would be defeated if these costs had to be incurred. Judge Posner’s opinion turns on the fact that the order required cleanup and was not a substitute for payment; consequently, liability under the order was not a “debt” recognized by the Bankruptcy Code. The court recognized but disavowed a contrary ruling of the Sixth Circuit, thereby setting up a split between the circuits on this important issue.

  5. FCC Seeks Comment on Smart Grid Technologies

    Friday, September 18, 2009 12:01 pm by

    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 directed the Federal Communications Commission to develop a National Broadband Plan. To help develop that plan, the FCC has requested comment on how advanced telecommunications services and infrastructure, and broadband in particular, can help implement Smart Grid technology. (more…)

  6. Bracewell’s Scott Segal Discusses Politics of Climate, Energy Legislation

    11:41 am by

    Bracewell & Giuliani’s Scott Segal and National Wildlife Federation’s Jeremy Symons discuss lobbying efforts behind the push for cap and trade legislation in the U.S. Congress.

    As Senate leadership determines the timeline for rolling out and debating a climate and energy package this year, lobbying efforts behind the legislation are ramping up. On E&E TV’s September 10, 2009 OnPoint program, Scott Segal, co-head of the federal government relations and strategic communications practices at Bracewell & Giuliani and director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, and Jeremy Symons, senior vice president at the National Wildlife Federation, discussed the politics of cap and trade. Segal and Symons also address the impact that health care reform may have on prospects for a climate and energy package.

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