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…)
WE KNOW ENERGY®
Gregory Bopp, Robert Jacobson, Elizabeth Behncke and Yaniv Maman
On September 11, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released two private letter rulings (PLRs) addressing MLP qualifying income. These are the first PLRs relating to MLP qualifying income to be released since the issuance of the proposed regulations under Section 7704(d)(1)(E) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) on May 5, 2015, and the lifting of the approximately year-long “pause” on PLRs in this area. (more…)
David Perlman, Michael Brooks, Robert E. Pease and Jennifer Lias
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…)
Darren Spalding and Eimear Murphy
Despite facing opposition on numerous fronts, the development of a regulatory regime to promote the exploration of shale gas in the UK has continued apace following David Cameron’s comments earlier this year that the UK was “going all out for shale”.[i] The UK government has reiterated the national need to develop the UK’s shale gas resources to improve the country’s energy security and transition to a low-carbon economy.
For over a decade, the UK has been a net importer of gas following declining levels of production from the UK’s North Sea’s gasfields. Imports of gas accounted for 45% of the UK’s supply last year.[ii] The Department of Energy and Climate Change (“DECC”) predicts that, without any contribution from shale gas, net imports of gas could increase to 75% by 2030.[iii] Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, considers the development of the UK’s shale resources as an essential component of the UK’s energy mix going forward and has pledged to “deliver shale”. (more…)
The draft comprehensive energy bill released by Senator Murkowski, Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and reflecting her collaboration with Senator Cantwell, the Ranking Member on the Committee, contains a number of provisions relating to hydro. If enacted in anything close to their present form, these provisions would represent the most ambitious reform of the hydroelectric licensing process since the Electric Consumers Protection Act of 1986 (“ECPA”). However, ECPA essentially represented a bargain between owners of existing hydro who were concerned about the possibility of municipal take overs upon relicensing, and the environmental community who wanted to essentially retrofit the National Environmental Policy Act concepts into projects that were developed under the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) and constructed in the early and mid-twentieth century. The most recent draft hydro reform amendments, by contrast, are largely procedural and appear to be designed to make the hydro process ushered in by ECPA actually work more effectively, without the delays, environmental squabbling, litigation and expense engendered by the existing regime. (more…)
Yesterday, the Obama administration finalized the waters of the US rule it proposed last spring. There’s a lot to be said about the final rule, and so this will be the first in a series of blog posts (just like for the proposal). But because the new rule creates a few immediate obligations, we’ll start this series with the punchline.
The rule remains broad, but is somewhat more clear (more…)