U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s Decision to Vacate Mountain Valley Pipeline Nationwide Permit

On November 27, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued the most recent in a series of decisions from various courts affecting the federal permitting and construction of interstate pipelines. Sierra Club v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers , No. 18-1173 (4th Cir. Nov. 27, 2018). In this instance, the Circuit held that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the Clean Water Act when it verified that construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline project could proceed pursuant to Nationwide Permit 12 in the State of West Virginia. [1] This decision will have an impact on the...

Takeaways from the FERC and CFTC Annual Enforcement Reports for Energy Companies

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) each issued their annual enforcement reports last week. As always, these reports highlight priorities and attempt to quantify enforcement efforts by the agencies during the prior fiscal year. 1 In both cases, it might be tempting for energy companies to walk away thinking their potential exposure at either agency is substantially reduced under the current leadership: FERC’s report is dominated by old allegations wallowing in court and new inquiries closed without action while energy companies...
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The Rule of Law, Agency Enforcement and the Environment

Over the past two years, officials within President Trump’s administration have invoked the rule of law regarding the administration’s enforcement goals on issues ranging from marijuana production to immigration . Late last month, we saw a glimpse into how the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), at the time led by Acting Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Jeffrey H. Wood, [1] views application of the rule of law to environmental and natural resource litigation and enforcement. The Acting AAG presented the keynote speech at the American Bar Association’s...

Mexico Upstream Update

Assessing the Effects of the Election Result for Mexico’s Upstream Industry: Change in Government Raises Potential for Shift in the Direction of Oil and Gas Sector Participants in Mexico’s oil and gas industry are continuing to assess the implications for their sector following the country’s recent election win by President-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has criticised the privatisation of Mexico’s oil and gas sector. In his most recent announcement, Mr. Obrador proposed to steer oil and gas development in Mexico back to national companies in order to develop Mexico’s energy self-...

FERC Proposes Updates to Interlocking Directorate Regulations

On July 19, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to revise Parts 45 and 46 of its regulations to clarify requirements for interlocking officers and directors (“ Interlock NOPR ”). [1] FERC’s Interlock NOPR, though modest in scope, is an effort to implement a more pragmatic approach to certain interlock requirements. FERC also proposes changes to its regulations to reflect earlier statutory amendments. We intend to provide a further update should FERC take future action to modify its regulations to implement these proposals. Congress...
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