Bracewell & Giuliani

Powered by the attorneys of Bracewell & Giuliani, Energy Legal Blog® is your resource for updates and analysis on national and global energy issues.
  1. Recent Drone Developments and a Look Ahead to 2016

    Friday, November 13, 2015 3:56 pm by

    The 2012 Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act called for the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) to institute a program to facilitate the safe integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) into the National Airspace System (“NAS”) by September 30, 2015. While the legislatively imposed deadline passed with no regulatory program in place – and such a program is unlikely to be finalized until at least mid-2016 – 2015 has been a year for significant developments in UAS integration. FAA’s approvals under the Section 333 exemption process have skyrocketed, drafting of the final small UAS rule is wrapping up, the FAA recently proposed the largest penalty ever for the unauthorized operation of a UAS and announced the creation of a UAS Registration Task Force. (more…)

  2. Obama Administration Adopts Wide-Ranging Natural Resource Mitigation Requirements

    Tuesday, November 3, 2015 5:42 pm by and

    Earlier today, the Obama Administration adopted an expansive set of mitigation requirements for all its natural resource management agencies. Under the voluntary policy, the Department of Defense, Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will aim “to avoid and then minimize harmful effects to land, water, wildlife, and other ecological resources (natural resources) caused by land- or water-disturbing activities, and to ensure that any remaining harmful effects” are effectively mitigated. (more…)

  3. The Sage Grouse Isn’t Added to the List of Endangered Species. And so. . . ?

    Thursday, September 24, 2015 9:17 am by

    As the trade and mainstream press has widely reported, yesterday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decided against placing the Greater Sage Grouse on the endangered species list. This is big news, if for no other reason than that grouse habitat covers hundreds of thousand square miles area across a dozen states:

    Sage grouse geography

    Certainly, the FWS’s decision not to list the sage grouse spares a large geographic area of oil and gas land, rangeland, federal land, and otherwise developable area from restrictions under ESA. (more…)

  4. Monthly Futures Exchange Issuance Report: August 2015

    Friday, September 11, 2015 8:38 am by , , and

    August’s Highlight

    This past month, the NYMEX Business Conduct Committee (“Panel”) entered into a settlement with an entity to resolve alleged violations of Exchange Rule 526- Block Trades and two Market Regulation Advisory Notices, RA1326-4 and RA-1327-4, related to pre-hedging of block trades.  The settlement resulted in a fine of $50,000 and disgorgement of $51,315.60 in profits, as well as a $15,000 fine and 5-day suspension against the individual trader involved.

    Specifically, the Panel found that on four different trade dates the trader pre-hedged block trades by “trading on Globex prior to consummating the block trade with the counterparty.”  The hedge was placed after soliciting but before consummating the block trade and locked in a profit.  The trader also failed to timely report two of the block trades. (more…)

  5. Endangered Species Listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken Rejected in Widely Precedential Decision

    Thursday, September 3, 2015 11:54 am by

    The endangered species listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) was set aside by a Texas federal court on Tuesday in litigation closely watched by oil and gas interests in the Permian Basin as well as ranchers, farmers and others in west Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. And, while the Court’s decision is important to those entities, it will likely have an impact far beyond those areas, as one of the first court decisions to thoroughly evaluate nascent efforts by industry to fend off a spate of new potential Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings. (more…)

  6. Update on the Waters of the US – Put Away the Tape Measure and Get a Map

    Thursday, August 27, 2015 4:30 pm by

    As those of you who have read our prior blog posts know, one of the primary changes between the proposed and final rules redefining the scope of jurisdictional waters under the Clean Water Act is the more objective measurements contained in the final rule. The proposed rule defined adjacent (and therefore jurisdictional) waters as those within certain scientific boundaries – floodplains and riparian areas, for example, which were defined based on their ecological and hydrological relation to traditionally-navigable and other similar waters. The final rule eliminated the need for this scientific analysis, stating instead that adjacency would be based on distances – waters are automatically jurisdictional a minimum of 100 feet away and up to 1,500 feet away if measured from a high tide line or Great Lake or contained in a 100-year floodplain. Similarly, the significant nexus test applies to features up to 4,000 feet from such waters. This increased clarity makes it easier for the regulated community and regulators to identify jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional waters.

    Today, EPA and the Corps removed a bit of this clarity. (more…)

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