As the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (“CFTC”) Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight recently reminded market participants in a Staff Advisory, entities that meet the definition of a commodity trading advisor (“CTA”) are subject to various regulatory requirements and may be required to register as a CTA with the National Futures Association (“NFA”). The Staff Advisory is an indication that the CFTC is turning to compliance with its regulatory and registration requirements now that the rulemaking process of the Dodd-Frank Act is finishing. Given this transition, as well as the recently expanded scope of the CFTC’s regulatory oversight over CTAs and commodity pool operators (“CPOs”), entities that advise others or are pooled investment vehicles for futures, options, or swaps should consider whether they might be subject to the CFTC’s CTA and CPO regulatory requirements. (more…)
WE KNOW ENERGY®
David Perlman and Kaleb Lockwood
Sandra Snyder, Richard Alonso and Tim Wilkins
On Tuesday, February 4, 2014, EPA issued a pre-publication copy of a proposed rule that if adopted would transfer greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting in Texas from EPA Region 6 to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The proposed rule has yet to be published in the Federal Register. When it is published, the public will have 30 days to comment on the proposed rule. EPA must review and respond to those comments before it can adopt a final rule that would transfer authority to TCEQ. (more…)
Ryan Myers and Glen Kopp
After clearing a constitutional hurdle in late 2013, Mexico plans to open its energy market to foreign participation for the first time in seventy-five years, with the first investment opportunities possible later this year. Mexico has more than 10 billion barrels of proven petroleum reserves, and the country will face no shortage of potential investors.
But companies looking to participate in the newly available market would be wise to consider the compliance risks that come with doing business in Mexico. In particular, companies interested in Mexican energy should have a firm understanding of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and should adopt compliance policies tailored to the Mexican business climate. (more…)
EPA Issues NPDES Permit that Includes Limited Chemical Disclosure Requirements for Oil and Gas Operations Offshore CaliforniaFriday, January 10, 2014 2:52 pm by Michael Weller and Jason Hutt
Region 9 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency yesterday made available the finalized National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit applicable to discharges from oil and gas exploration facilities offshore Southern California. NPDES General Permit No. CAG280000 (2014 NPDES General Permit), issued under provisions of the Clean Water Act, authorizes discharges from exploration, development and production facilities located offshore of Southern California in accordance with specified effluent limitations, monitoring and reporting requirements and various other conditions.
The final 2014 NPDES General Permit includes certain new requirements that EPA indicates were added to address offshore hydraulic fracturing operations, including increases in the monitoring requirements associated with produced water discharges and new inventory and reporting requirements. (more…)
Robert E. Pease, David Perlman and Jennifer Lias
After an investigation of actions in the western electricity markets by Barclays Bank PLC (“Barclays”), Daniel Brin, Scott Connelly, Karen Levine, and Ryan Smith (collectively, the “Traders” and together with Barclays, “Defendants”), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued an order finding the Defendants in violation of FERC’s anti-manipulation regulations and assessing Barclays a $435 million civil penalty, assessing each Trader an individual civil penalty, and requiring disgorgement of $34.9 million plus interest in unjust profits.[i] In accordance with the Defendants’ election of a trial de novo in federal district court, on October 9, 2013 FERC filed a petition in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California requesting an order affirming its assessment of penalties.
In response to FERC’s petition, on December 16, 2013, the Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.[ii] The Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, as a matter of law, on the grounds that venue is not proper and that FERC has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. (more…)
Grant MacIntyre and Tim Wilkins
In a rule published on December 30, 2013 and effective immediately upon publication, EPA formally adopts a new standard for conducting All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) at potentially contaminated sites. 78 Fed. Reg. 79319.
The AAI rule outlines steps for potential property purchasers to take to claim a limitation on CERCLA liability connected to purchased property. 40 CFR Part 312. EPA allows purchasers to use the applicable ASTM standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments to satisfy their obligations under the AAI rule. In this rule, EPA incorporates new ASTM International Standard ASTM E1527-13 into the AAI rule. This standard updates several procedures associated with conducting environmental site assessments (ESAs). (more…)