Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt declared “the war against coal is over” yesterday in his announcement that the EPA will move to repeal the Clean Power Plan. In a lengthy proposal leaked last week that was then updated and signed October 10, the EPA proposes to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a controversial regulation designed to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. In support of the proposal, the EPA describes the Obama-era EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act as unlawful. Continue Reading Pruitt Declares “The War Against Coal is Over”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently denied the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed delay of an Obama-era rule that limits methane emissions from new oil and gas equipment, sending oil and gas companies scrambling to immediately ensure compliance with the rule to avoid any enforcement actions. Continue Reading Methane Rule Litigation Creates Uncertainty for Oil and Gas Companies

On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order (EO) called “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.”  The EO rescinds a host of climate change-related policies and rules instituted by the prior administration, including the Clean Power Plan and the Climate Action Plan. This new energy policy promotes all forms of domestic energy, and, as President Trump stated in the rollout, American energy dominance. The EO, through five policy statements, directs all federal agencies to identify and revise or revoke any rule that “burdens” the energy industry.

Continue Reading Energy Independence is Theme of Trump Environmental Plan

With the inauguration of President Trump as the 45th President of the United States, stakeholders in various sectors of the energy industry have speculated about the future of energy policy in the new administration. While the early days of the administration have seen a clear commitment to the oil and gas sectors with action on the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, the question remains regarding the president’s anticipated support of the renewable energy sector. Continue Reading Renewable Energy Development Can Still Look to PURPA as New Administration Moves In

On July 21, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) in Docket No. RM16-17-000 to revise regulations regarding the collection of data for analytics and surveillance purposes from market-based rates (MBR) sellers and entities trading virtual products or holding financial transmission rights (Virtual/FTR Participants). FERC also withdrew two earlier NOPRs in Docket Nos. RM15-23-000 and RM16-3-000. FERC indicated that the newly-issued NOPR would address many of the issues in the withdrawn NOPRs. Continue Reading FERC Issues NOPR on Information Collection, Rescinds Previous Iterations of Rule

In 2013, President Obama issued the Climate Action Plan. Its goal: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a broad range of economic sectors. Moreover, the Climate Action Plan is the key set of initiatives necessary to achieve the United  States’ GHG reduction commitment set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement, an international accord.

We covered the initiation of a wide range of rulemakings in a blog post dated September 28, 2015, and, as the Obama Administration comes to a close, climate change rulemakings continue to move forward. The most contentious rule—the Clean Power Plan—has moved from rulemaking to litigation. Many other rules (e.g. new rules limiting methane emissions from the oil and gas industry and the renewable fuel standards) have moved from proposal to final rules. We summarize the status of 10 different rules, standards, or programs meant to implement the Climate Action Plan below. Continue Reading Recap: Climate Action Plan Nears Completion

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it had unanimously approved proposed guidance regarding the appropriate treatment of certain electric power and natural gas contracts under the definition of the term “swap.” Continue Reading CFTC and SEC Approves Proposed Guidance on Regulatory Treatment of Certain Electric Power and Natural Gas Contracts

On January 22, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed a new rule targeting oil and gas producers on federal and Indian lands. The rule aims to reduce waste of natural gas by limiting flaring, prohibiting venting, and requiring operators to identify and repair leaks. Additionally, the proposal would grant BLM discretion to increase the royalty rate for future leases. The rule represents the latest in a series of recent efforts by state and federal regulators to limit greenhouse gas emissions by the oil and gas production sector. BLM will accept comments on the proposed rule for 60 days after it appears in the Federal Register. Continue Reading BLM Targets “Waste” in the Oil and Gas Industry

On November 17, 2015, FERC issued an order terminating a proceeding (Docket No. RM13-1) in which it had issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) proposing to substantially increase the reporting requirements applicable to sellers that make certain types of wholesale sales of natural gas. The NOI was issued on November 15, 2012 and proposed to require entities making FERC-jurisdictional sales of natural gas to file reports, on a quarterly basis, regarding transactions that entail “next day” or “next month” physical delivery of gas. Continue Reading FERC Terminates Proceeding Regarding Increased Reporting of Natural Gas Sales

On October 15, 2015, FERC issued a declaratory order stating that asset management agreements (AMAs) entered into by natural gas suppliers are exempt from the prohibition on buy-sell transactions (http://www.ferc.gov/whats-new/comm-meet/2015/101515/G-4.pdf).  The Commission issued the order in response to a request for declaratory order filed by Rice Energy Marketing, LLC, which asserted that the Commission’s previous orders regarding AMAs could be construed to exempt delivery AMAs from the buy-sell prohibition, but continue to apply that prohibition to supply AMAs. Continue Reading FERC Order: Supply AMAs Are Exempt from Prohibition on Buy-Sells