Energy Legal Blog Nominated for 2016 Best Legal Blog

Energy Legal Blog has been selected to compete in The Expert Institute’s Best Legal Blog Competition . From a field of hundreds of potential nominees, Bracewell's Energy Legal Blog has received enough nominations to join the one of the largest competitions for legal blog writing online today. Now that the blogs have been nominated and placed into their respective categories, it is up to their readers to select the very best. With an open voting format that allows participants one vote per blog, the competition will be a true test of the dedication of each blog’s existing readers, while also...

EPA’s Amended Regional Consistency Regulations Tilt the Playing Field: Industry Groups Seek to Overturn

Last week, three industry groups filed challenges to EPA’s final rule amending the agency’s Regional Consistency Regulation in 40 CFR Part 56. [1] The final rule , which was issued on August 3, 2016, addresses the question of how to treat Federal court decisions regarding locally or regionally applicable actions that may affect EPA’s ability to apply its national programs, policies, and guidance consistently. Notably, the rule is substantively flawed and simply unfair. EPA wants to have its cake and eat it too. The agency’s rule limits decisions adverse to the agency to a particular region of...

PHMSA Implements New Emergency Safety Authority Effective Immediately

On October 3, 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced an Interim Final Rule (IFR) establishing when and how it will issue Emergency Orders to address imminent safety hazards across the oil and gas pipeline industry. See Pipeline Safety: Enhanced Emergency Order Procedures (Docket No. PHMSA-2016-0091). The new procedure allows PHMSA to impose restrictions, prohibitions, and safety measures without prior notice or an opportunity for a hearing. These measures can apply through all or part of the industry, not just to individual facilities or operators...

Court Clarifies Standard For CFTC Price-Based Manipulation Charge

On September 30, 2016, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an order in CFTC vs Wilson, et. al , 13 Civ. 7884 (NYSD), denying motions for summary judgment in an action by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) concerning alleged violations of the prohibition on market manipulation contained in Sections 6(c) and 9(a)(2) of the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”). In its order, the Court clarified the burden of proof that the CFTC faces when making a price-based manipulation claim under these sections, including that acting with the intent to...

D.C. Circuit Hears Oral Argument on EPA’s Clean Power Plan

On September 27, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held the much-anticipated oral argument regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The controversial cornerstone of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Clean Power Plan would require existing power plants to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030 as compared to 2005 emission levels. The D.C. Circuit took the unusual step of holding the oral argument en banc before a panel of ten judges, including six Democratic appointees and four Republican appointees. While the decision by the D.C...

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