Category: Litigation

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Eighth Circuit Panel Rules Minnesota Climate Change Law Unconstitutional

Today, the Eighth Circuit determined that the Next Generation Energy Act (“NGEA”), a Minnesota law that established power sector standards for carbon dioxide emissions, was unconstitutional (decision available here). In so doing, the Court affirmed the decision of District Court Judge Susan Nelson, whose 2014 decision we covered in “Court Declares Minnesota Coal Law Unconstitutional: … Continue Reading

MN Court of Appeals Upholds PUC’s Community Solar Order

The Minnesota Court of Appeals filed its decision today affirming the Public Utilities Commission’s August 6, 2015 Order in the community solar garden proceeding, which adopted the partial settlement agreement between certain solar developers and Xcel Energy and decided several crucial aspects of Xcel’s community solar program, including the 5 MW cap on co-located gardens.  … Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Proposed Changes to Eagle Permit Regulations, Opens 60-Day Comment Period

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published notice in the Federal Register of proposed changes to its eagle permitting regulations (Proposed Rule).  Concurrent with the Proposed Rule, the Service issued a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS) analyzing the proposed changes under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and a Status Report that … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Stays Clean Power Plan Implementation: Next Steps

Ed. – originally authored by Kevin Johnson and Thomas Wood. The U.S. Supreme Court’s order on February 9, 2016 staying EPA’s implementation of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) will create at least a year of uncertainty about the shape of the future electric power regulatory framework, with implications for states, utilities and other electric power … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds FERC Demand Response Rule in Energy Story of the Year

In the biggest consumer energy story of the day, and perhaps the decade, the U.S. Supreme Court today upheld FERC’s jurisdictional authority in FERC Order 745. Read the Decision here (PDF). The so called Demand Response Rule permits consumer energy products and services, such as demand response, to participate in wholesale energy markets, and to … Continue Reading

U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Opts Not to Appeal 30-Year Eagle Rule Decision, Focuses on Development of Eagle Permitting Program

On January 19, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped its Ninth Circuit appeal of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s ruling that set aside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“Service”) rule to extend the maximum term for programmatic “take” permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (“Eagle Act”) to 30 years … Continue Reading

SCOTUS Entertains Oral Argument on FERC Order 745, the “Demand Response” Rule

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument this morning in FERC v. Energy Power Supply Association. At issue is the validity of FERC’s Order 745, the so-called “demand response” compensation rule. Full text of the rule (PDF). As some of our readers may recall, I was FERC Chairman when Order 745 was issued. While the legal arguments got … Continue Reading

Court Invalidates 30-Year Permit Provisions of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Eagle Permit Rule on NEPA Grounds

As we discussed in this post from May 2014, the American Bird Conservancy (“ABC”) in 2014 filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“USFWS”) 2013 revisions to its eagle permit rule, alleging violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). ABC’s challenge related to the revised … Continue Reading

MN PUC Affirms Path of Contentious Litigation for Externalities Value Determination

The MN PUC held a hearing on September 4, 2014, to address the impending investigation of social costs of pollutants under Minn. Stat. § 216B.2422 subd. 3 (known as externalities values).  First established in the late 1990s, the MN PUC re-opened the investigation in a February 2014 Order, focusing exclusively on PM2.5, SO2, NOx, and … Continue Reading

Freedom to Contract: PUC Has Jurisdiction to Evaluate Force Majeure Clause Under Idaho Law

This post was written by our colleague Tami Boeck for the Ahead of Schedule construction law blog. The Idaho Supreme Court recently determined in Idaho Power Company v. New Energy Two, LLC, No. 40882-2013 (Idaho June 17, 2014), that the Idaho Public Utilities Commission has jurisdiction to interpret or enforce contracts when given the authority … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rolls Back EPA’s Regulation of Greenhouse Gases in Utility Air Regulatory Group Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a stunner with its decision this morning in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. The Supreme Court has curtailed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation of stationary source greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under two Clean Air Act permitting programs – New Source Review Prevention of Significant Deterioration … Continue Reading

American Bird Conservancy Sends Notice of Intent to Sue Administration Over Revised Eagle Permit Rule

On April 30, 2014, the American Bird Conservancy (“ABC”) sent a Notice of Intent to Sue (“Notice”) to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service’) Dan Ashe, alleging violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), and the Bald and Golden … Continue Reading

Ralls Continues to Fight Presidential Divestiture Order Stemming from CFIUS Investigation

Ralls Corp., a privately-held company owned by executives of the China-based heavy machinery manufacturing conglomerate Sany Group, recently filed an appeal in its ongoing effort to avoid President Obama’s order requiring the company to divest itself of its interest in four wind farms in Oregon. We have previously reported on the order, which was issued … Continue Reading

Tentative Ruling Issued in California Cap and Trade Auction Lawsuit

A tentative ruling was issued yesterday in the related cases California Chamber of Commerce v. California Air Resources Board (ARB)  and  Morning Star Packing Co. v. ARB, pending before the Sacramento County Superior Court.  The cases challenge the legality of ARB’s cap and trade auctions under two theories:  (1) the cap and trade auctions exceed ARB’s authority … Continue Reading

U.S. District Judge Rules on Ralls Corp Challenge to President Obama’s Divestiture Order

There has been a new development in the effort by Ralls Corporation, a company owned by two Chinese nationals, to challenge President Obama’s September 2012 order requiring it to divest its interests in four wind projects in Oregon and to remove any equipment and infrastructure it had placed on the sites of the proposed projects.  … Continue Reading

200 Million Reasons Why Waivers of Subrogation Matter

When negotiating contracts with a client, sometimes their eyes roll when we come to the section on insurance, particularly that awkward phrase, “waiver of subrogation.” What is subrogation and what does it mean to waive it? Simply put, subrogation is the right of a party, typically an insurance company, to pay a loss then sue the party … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Reject’s EPA’s Transport (Cross-State Air Pollution) Rule

Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA that rejects the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to regulating upwind pollution from coal- and natural gas-fired power plants, among other sources. The so-called Transport Rule, also known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, had sought to … Continue Reading

Legal Challenge to Avenal Energy Project’s PSD Permit Filed with the Ninth Circuit

On November 3, 2011, the proposed Avenal Energy Project, a 600-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant proposed in the city of Avenal near Kettleman City in Kings County, California, encountered another legal challenge to providing electricity to the southern San Joaquin Valley. Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice challenged the … Continue Reading

The Bureau of Land Management, Tribal Cultural Resources and Renewable Energy Development

My collegue Michael O’Connell issued the legal alert below on a recent significant Interior Board of Land Appeals decision concerning the intersection of tribal cultural resources and a BLM geothermal lease application: The Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA or Board) decision, Earth Power Resources, 181 IBLA 94 (May 12, 2011), deals with BLM action … Continue Reading

Compliance with California Cap-And-Trade May Be Deferred until 2013

Yesterday, the Executive Director of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Mary Nichols, announced that CARB is proposing to delay full implementation of California’s cap-and-trade program for a year. In testimony before the California Senate Select Committee on the Environment, the Economy, and Climate Change, Nichols stated that CARB is proposing to “initiate” the cap-and-trade … Continue Reading

Minnesota PUC clarifies that “other credits” include RECs

Last year, we reported on the resolution of a longstanding dispute between Xcel Energy and 46 renewable energy generators about the ownership of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) when the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is silent. In an Order released September 9, 2010, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decided that 1) generators own the RECs produced under … Continue Reading

LexisNexis Selects Renewable + Law Blog to its Top 50 Environmental Law Blogs List

Having first reported to our readers in February that LexisNexis had nominated the Stoel Rives Renewable + Law Blog for its Top 50 Environmental Law & Climate Change Blogs for 2011 award, we are pleased to announce we made the list of winners! In publishing its Top 50 list, LexisNexis declared that our Renewable + … Continue Reading