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.
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  1. Battles Continue Over Local Bans on Hydraulic Fracturing

    Monday, July 28, 2014 10:44 am by

    In towns across America, hydraulic fracturing continues to be a hot-button issue, with municipalities in at least twelve states adopting measures to ban hydraulic fracturing altogether on a temporary or permanent basis.  Recent developments in Texas, California, and Colorado demonstrate that battles continue over local bans on hydraulic fracturing. (more…)


  2. INFOGRAPHIC: EPA’s Regulatory Timeline for Disclosure and Reporting of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals

    9:18 am by

    In May 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) seeking comments on its proposed rule regarding disclosure and reporting requirements for chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. Comments for this proposed rule for the upstream shale industry are due September 18, 2014.

    For a printable version of this infographic, please click here.


  3. DOT Proposes Crude-by-Rail Safety Changes

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014 1:46 pm by

    Earlier today, the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released two proposals designed to enhance the safety of the transportation of crude by rail. The first, short proposal seeks comments on a potential rulemaking which would increase the oil-spill planning required for crude by rail transport. The second, more lengthy proposal seeks comments on a suite of enhancements intended to enhance the safety of rail transportation itself. (more…)


  4. EPA Adopts Quality Assurance Program to Reduce RIN Fraud

    Friday, July 18, 2014 9:13 am by

    To address past issues associated with invalid Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) generated for compliance with the renewable fuels standard (RFS), EPA has established a voluntary quality-assurance program (QAP).  79 Fed. Reg. 42,078 (July 18, 2014).

    Types of RINs Available

    Under the voluntary QAP, independent third-party auditors can certify the validity of various types of RINs.  Three of the four types of RINs available to establish compliance under the RFS program are verified RINs: (more…)


  5. “Friendly Discussions” Obligation is Enforceable Under English law

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014 8:23 am by and

    The English High Court has overruled an arbitrators’ decision to hold that a clause requiring “friendly discussions” prior to commencing arbitration is an enforceable condition precedent to arbitration under English law.

    This judgment is interesting because mere “agreements to negotiate” are generally unenforceable under English law because they are too uncertain to enforce (Walford v Miles [1992] 2 AC 128).  This case is especially interesting for the energy sector because it deals with the English law interpretation of escalation or multi-tiered dispute resolution clauses that are common in energy and natural resources joint venture and high value agreements (see for example the AIPN Model International Joint Operating Agreement).  Multi-tiered dispute resolution clauses can provide that parties must first engage in alternative dispute resolution, such as negotiation, referral to senior management, referral to a third party expert and/or mediation (which is not without its costs) before a dispute can be referred to the Courts or to arbitration.  (more…)


  6. FERC Approves $3.25 Million Civil Penalty in Southwest Blackout Case

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014 2:00 pm by and

    On July 7, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a stipulation and consent agreement between FERC’s Office of Enforcement, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and Arizona Public Service Company (APS) resolving FERC and NERC’s joint investigation into APS’s involvement in the September 8, 2011 Southwest Blackout.  The Southwest Blackout was a system disturbance in the Pacific Southwest that affected transmission in Arizona, California and Mexico, and ultimately caused a complete blackout of San Diego.  FERC and NERC found that APS violated certain of the Transmission Operations (TOP) group of NERC Reliability Standards, and that these violations resulted in cascading outages in which 2.7 million customers, or approximately 5 million people, lost power for several hours.  FERC and NERC concluded that APS failed to prepare for this type of event by not performing a unique day-ahead study for September 8 and by not coordinating its day-ahead studies with neighboring transmission operators, including the Imperial Irrigation District and the California Independent System Operator.  APS has neither admitted nor denied the violations in the stipulation and consent agreement.  (more…)


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