For Those Keeping Tally, Another Win for Defendants’ Rights: Exploring De Novo Review and Burdens of Proof

On March 30, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued an order denying, without prejudice, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC” or the “Commission”) Motion to Affirm Civil Penalties against Barclays Bank PLC and four individuals (“Defendants”). [1] As an initial matter, the court agreed with every other federal court that has opined on the issue of whether defendants are entitled to conduct discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. [2] Notably, though, the court went further than any other court in rejecting arguments raised by FERC...

President Trump Signs Executive Order “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth”

On March 28, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order titled “ Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth .” Touted by the administration as both “protecting the environment and promoting [the] economy,” [1] the Order aims to “promote clean and safe development of our Nation’s vast energy resources, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation.” To accomplish these goals, the Order rescinds key pieces of the prior administration’s environmental agenda and requires federal...

Federal Procurement: CBCA side with DOE on Nuclear Contractor’s Claim for Additional Fees

On March 23, 2017, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) granted summary judgment to the Department of Energy in a contract dispute with CB&I AREVA MOX Services, LLC (Mox Services) over the appropriate fee in a contract for mixed oxide fuel fabrication and reactor irradiation services with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The contract at issue was a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract originally awarded in 1999, which called for the design and planning of a domestic mixed oxide fuel fabrication facility. MOX’s contract also provided for three option phases for cold...

Texas Regional Haze: Fifth Circuit Grants EPA’s Motion to Remand the Texas Regional Haze FIP

On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowed EPA to revise and change the Texas Regional Haze Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) when it granted EPA’s motion to remand the plan to EPA for revision. FIPs are issued when EPA does not agree with the measures taken by States in their State Implementation Plan (SIP) and when EPA second-guesses a State’s regulatory decision making. The Obama Administration issued FIPs and overruled State judgment more than any other previous Administration. The Trump Administration has vowed to use FIPs less and defer much more to...

U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Report - February 2017

NYMEX NYMEX 16-0600 Misc . Rules 413 – Summary Access Denial Actions (in part) and 413.A – Authority to Deny Access. On January 5, 2017, CME Group’s Market Regulation Department summarily denied a member’s direct and indirect access to the CME Globex electronic trading platform for purposes of trading or entering Trading at Settlement (“TAS”) orders in any product. The summary access denial prohibited the member, or anyone on behalf of the member, from trading TAS, placing TAS orders, and controlling or directing TAS trading for any person, entity, or account in any CME Group exchange product...

Another Win for Respondents’ Rights: District Court Opines on the Scope of De Novo Review

On March 8, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued an order affirming that ETRACOM LLC and its owner (the “Respondents”) are entitled to a full trial on the merits and discovery rights in an action brought by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) seeking to enforce an order assessing civil penalties against the Respondents for alleged market manipulation in the California energy market. The primary issue at stake was the meaning of the Federal Power Act’s (“FPA”) reference to “ de novo review” in a civil action brought by...

EPA Withdraws Oil and Gas Information Collection Request

On March 2, 2017, new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt made it clear that he will follow through on President Trump's promise to reduce regulatory burdens by withdrawing the Information Collection Request (ICR) that the Obama EPA issued last November to force the oil and natural gas industry to produce substantial amounts of detailed information about methane emissions from existing oil and gas operations. Although this action has long been expected, it is another signal that the Trump Administration will not be pursuing an aggressive climate change agenda. The November 2016 ICR was aimed at...

Bracewell Partners Named in 2017 Who's Who in MENAT Renewables

Bracewell LLP Partners Clint Steyn and Robert Harker were recently named to the 2017 list of Who's Who in MENAT Renewables . This list annually recognizes 250 key players working in the renewable energy sector in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. Steyn and Harker, both based in Bracewell's Dubai office, have advised on many of the leading renewable energy projects in the MENAT region. Their experienc includes advising clients in the acquisition, development and project financing of power projects in the regions including key markets such as Jordan, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Egypt...