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Fifth Circuit Dismisses False Claims Act Suit Alleging Violation Of Offshore Regulations

In Abbott v. BP, the plaintiffs alleged that BP had falsely certified to compliance with regulatory requirements pertaining to the engineering of the Atlantis Platform, a semi-submersible floating production facility capable of producing more than 100,000 barrels/day.  Based on these allegations, Plaintiff Kenneth Abbott filed a qui tam suit under the False Claims Act (FCA), … Continue Reading

Oregon Federal Court Issues Remarkable Decision Finding Constitutional Right to Stable Climate

Photo of a blue sky with white, fluffy cloudsOn November 10, 2016, Judge Ann Aiken, a federal district judge in Oregon, issued a remarkable environmental law decision in which she found that a climate system “capable of sustaining human life” is a fundamental constitutional right.[1] Juliana v. United States challenges the constitutionality of the United States’ decades-long policy on climate change.[2] The plaintiffs, … Continue Reading

Senator John Kennedy’s Letter to President Donald Trump: A First Step in Reviving the Oil & Gas Industry in Louisiana

Photo of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, of the coast of LouisianaIn December of 2016, Republican John Kennedy won the United States Senate runoff election in Louisiana. On the campaign trail, Senator Kennedy promised to do his part in strengthening the declining oil and gas industry in Louisiana by easing restrictions imposed by the Obama Administration and fighting to bring back old jobs and create new … Continue Reading

7 Takeaways from the Maritime Investigations Presentation at This Year’s Work Boat Show in New Orleans

DeeIt is Work Boat Show time in New Orleans, and yesterday featured a great presentation on marine investigations.  Any maritime lawyer worth her salt will tell you that the best part of the practice is getting that 0200 client call about a casualty, donning your protective gear, and racing to the ship.  No other legal … Continue Reading

EPA Publishes Proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule

On November 11, 2016, the EPA published a proposed rule designed to update its Renewable Fuel Standards Program and support the growth of renewable fuel use. With the stated goal of removing barriers to production and distribution of renewable fuels, the proposed rule has three main components: (1) Updated Regulatory Structure to Address Biofuel Processing at … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Limits Effect of Collateral Source Rule Under General Maritime Law

In DePerrodil v. Bozovic Marine, Inc., No. 16-30009, 2016 WL 6810728, at *1 (5th Cir. Nov. 17, 2016), a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently limited the effect of the collateral source rule in a maritime employee’s personal injury action against a non-employer.  DePerrodil held that the collateral … Continue Reading

Offshore Companies Face Surge in BSEE Enforcement Actions and Penalties

In recent years, offshore companies have witnessed a marked uptick in the number of enforcement actions undertaken by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).[1]  Operators face more BSEE inspections, Incidents of Non-Compliance (INCs), and civil penalties than ever before.  Meanwhile, the average penalty amount has grown.  For example, in 2014 the agency imposed … Continue Reading

BOEM Releases Long Awaited New Financial Assurance Notice to Lessees and Operators

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released its long awaited new Notice to Lessees and Operators (NTL) updating the procedures and criteria used to determine when and if additional supplemental financial assurance is required for an Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease, pipeline right-of-way, or right-of-use and easement.  New BOEM NTL No. 2016-N01, dated July … Continue Reading

Regulating the Regulators: Supreme Court Allows Judicial Review of Clean Water Act Determinations

The United States Supreme Court recently addressed whether the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ determination that wetlands are “waters of the United States” constitutes a final agency action that is subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc., 15-290, 2016 WL 3041052 (U.S. … Continue Reading

Sea Change: New BOEM Proposed Rule Signals Major Shift in How Air Emissions Would Be Regulated in the OCS

In the next few days, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will publish in the Federal Register a Proposed Rule that would result in a significant change on how the agency regulates air emissions from oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico (GOM).  … Continue Reading

U.S. Fifth Circuit Limits Vessels’ Obligations Under Louisiana One-Call Reporting

A panel of the United States Fifth Circuit consisting of Chief Judge Stewart and Judges Jolly and Graves recently issued a per curiam opinion regarding the effect of the Louisiana Underground Utilities and Facilities Protection Law (the “Louisiana One-Call Statute”). Plains Pipeline, L.P. et al. v. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., et al., No. … Continue Reading

White House Wants to End Royalty-in-Kind Program

by Elisabeth Lorio Baer Interior Secretary Ken Salazar informed Congress on September 17, 2009 that he would kill a controversial program, currently in effect, that allows energy companies to pay the government royalties for drilling on public lands in actual oil and gas in lieu of cash. The announcement was made during testimony to the … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Vacates Interior’s Five-Year Leasing Program

By Jessica Gladney In Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Department of the Interior, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a ruling on April 17, 2009 vacating the Department of the Interior’s statutorily-mandated five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program for the period 2007-2012. The five-year leasing program … Continue Reading

Interior Considers Appeal of Kerr-McGee Decision

By Jason Johanson On Friday, March 6, 2009, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar stated that the agency is considering an appeal to the United States Supreme Court of the decision in Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Corp. v. U.S. Department of the Interior, __ F.3d __, 2009 WL57883 (5th Cir. Jan. 12, 2009), in which the Fifth Circuit … Continue Reading

Secretary Salazar Details Strategy for Comprehensive Energy Plan on OCS

On February 10, 2009, United States Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar detailed a four-part strategy to establish a comprehensive offshore energy plan. First, Salazar extended the public comment period on President Bush’s OCS plan by an additional 180 days. He explained the extension was necessary to “restore order to a broken process.” Second, Salazar … Continue Reading

Violations of Environmental Terms in Federal Oil and Gas Lease Insufficient to Support a Claim under the False Claims Act

By Clare Bienvenu In Marcy v. Rowan Cos., Inc., No. 06-31238, 2008 WL 588745 (5th Cir. 2008), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision to dismiss a qui tam action brought under the Federal Claims Act (FCA). The action alleged that the defendants violated the FCA by concealing the discharge of pollutants … Continue Reading

Federal Court Upholds Mandatory Deep Water Royalty Relief

By Jonathan Hunter: On October 30, 2007, the Federal District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted summary judgment in favor of Kerr-McGee Oil and Gas Corporation in a dispute between Kerr-McGee and the Department of the Interior over the enforceability of "price threshold" clauses that Interior inserted into deep water leases granted during … Continue Reading

MMS’ Offshore Texas Lease Sale Successful

MMS’s August 22, 2007 Western Gulf of Mexico lease sale offered 3,338 tracts, or approximately 18 million acres, offshore Texas.  Forty-seven companies participated, submitting 358 bids on 282 tracts.  The total of all bids received was $369,496,840.  MMS Director Randall Luthi observed that “the success of this lease sale once again demonstrates industry’s commitment and interest in … Continue Reading
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