The Migratory Bird Treaty Act: Flight of Fancy or Enduring Change?

The Trump Administration has issued a proposed rule, 85 Fed. Reg. 5915 (February 3, 2020), that would codify its interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), 16 U.S.C. 703 et seq., as applying only to the direct take of birds subject to the Act. For decades, the federal government interpreted the MBTA as criminalizing both the direct (intentional) and incidental (unintentional and incident to an otherwise lawful activity) take of birds, their nests, and eggs covered by the Act. Permission could be obtained for direct take, for example for hunting or for control of nuisance birds,...

The CFTC Proposes a New Approach to Federal Position Limits - Will This One Stick?

At its open meeting held on January 30, 2020, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC" or "the Commission") approved a proposed rulemaking to institute federal position limits in an effort to prevent excessive speculation, squeezes, and corners in both futures positions and "economically equivalent" swaps for certain specified commodities. The vote was 3-2 with all Republicans supporting and all Democrats opposing. The proposal approved on January 30 is the Commission’s latest effort to propose position limits as part of its implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. The initial rules,...

Trump Administration Proposes Unprecedented and Comprehensive Revisions to NEPA Regulations

The National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) -- a law that has been referred to as the “Magna Carta” of the nation’s environmental laws – turned 50 years old on January 1, 2020. On January 10, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that would revise NEPA’s implementing regulations. [1] The rulemaking is the first significant revision of the NEPA regulations since the original regulations were promulgated in 1978. The proposal aims to modernize the NEPA regulations and facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA...

Nigeria’s upstream petroleum sector: looking back at 2019 and looking ahead in 2020

We review what happened in Nigeria’s upstream petroleum sector during the year just gone – a year that saw changes to the petroleum royalty regime, an uptick in deal activity and, of course, an election and changes to the leading oil-related Government figures. We also gaze into our crystal ball to see what we can expect in 2020. (Health warning: we do not profess to be genuine clairvoyants.) What happened in politics / regulatory matters? Muhammadu Buhari won his second term as President of Nigeria in February. Following his election, key new appointments are Timipre Sylva as junior...

Challengers to FERC's Storage Order File Briefs with the D.C. Circuit

On November 6 th , the last of three challengers to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC’s” or “Commission’s”) Storage Order, Orders No. 841 and 841-A [1] , filed briefs with the D.C. Circuit seeking to vacate the Commission’s determination that states may not issue blanket prohibitions on energy storage resource participation in wholesale markets. The challengers filed three briefs. A group of utilities (“Utilities”) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (“NARUC”) each filed as petitioners. The Transmission Access Policy Study Group (“TAPS”) filed a...
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