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  1. EPA Proposes Voluntary Methane Emissions Reduction Program

    Thursday, July 30, 2015 10:27 am by

    As a first step toward curbing methane emissions from existing sources, EPA has released a proposed framework for the Natural Gas Star Methane Challenge Program. EPA is scheduled to propose regulations this summer to reduce methane emissions from new and modified sources. Therefore, any sources that exist before the date EPA proposes those regulations would not be required to reduce their methane emissions until EPA adopts methane regulations for existing sources. In order to try to reduce methane emissions from existing sources in the interim, EPA will be looking to industry to voluntarily reduce methane emissions by participating in the Natural Gas Star Methane Challenge Program. (more…)


  2. Senate Energy Bill Provisions On Hydro Licensing

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015 1:57 pm by

    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…)


  3. FTC Narrows Scope of HSR Reporting Exemption for Certain Acquisitions

    Friday, July 24, 2015 3:51 pm by , and

    On July 20, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released revisions to its interpretation of the rule, 16 C.F.R. §802.5, that exempts certain acquisitions of “investment rental property assets” from reportability under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act. The HSR Act requires that mergers and acquisitions exceeding certain dollar thresholds be notified to the FTC and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. The FTC’s revised guidance has significant ramifications for HSR reportability of transactions in numerous industries, including in the oil and gas midstream sector. (more…)


  4. Decision on Fate of BLM’s Hydraulic Fracturing Rule Expected September 2015

    10:27 am by , and

    The Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM’s”) Hydraulic Fracturing Rule has been stayed until at least September 2015. BLM finalized the rule on March 20, 2015 for application on federal and Indian lands, three years after its initial proposal. However, on June 23, 2015 (the eve of the rule’s effective date), a federal judge in Wyoming stayed implementation of the rule siding with several industry group and state petitioners that had filed lawsuits and sought an injunction. As deadlines have now slipped, based on the current schedule, Judge Scott W. Skavdahl of the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming is not expected to make a final decision on the BLM Rule until September 2015. (more…)


  5. FERC’s Demand Response Policy Defended at the Supreme Court

    Friday, July 17, 2015 2:54 pm by

    Briefs defending the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s demand response (“DR”) pricing policy were filed in the Supreme Court of the United States on July 9, 2015. The arguments set forth in those briefs will determine whether FERC’s robust support of DR as a player in competitive wholesale electric energy markets will survive legal scrutiny. Notably, the brief submitted by the Solicitor General of the United States (“SG) on behalf of FERC reflects interesting and somewhat surprising choices in defense of the Commission’s policy which D.C. Circuit had characterized as regulatory overreach and overturned. (more…)


  6. CFTC v. Kraft Foods: What is Market Manipulation?

    Thursday, July 16, 2015 9:35 am by , and

    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is engaged in its first court battle interpreting its new anti-manipulation authority under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) as amended by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank):  CFTC v. Kraft Foods Group, Inc. and Mondelēz Global LLC.[1]  The case involves allegations that Kraft Foods manipulated the wheat futures and cash markets in 2011.  While the case is still in its infancy, and additional facts may come to light that clarify the CFTC’s position, the Complaint can be read to suggest that conduct intended to (or maybe even just anticipated to) influence market prices is per se manipulation if the actor benefits from the impact on prices.  As discussed below, this leaves participants in physical commodity markets with important questions to consider. (more…)


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