U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR ISSUES 60-DAY MORATORIUM ON FEDERAL LEASING AND DRILLING PERMITS

Following through with President Biden’s campaign promise to halt oil and gas drilling on federal lands, on January 20, 2021, the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior (“Interior”) issued an order, effective immediately, mandating a 60-day moratorium on new oil and gas leases and drilling permits on public lands and waters (“Order”). Continue Reading

It’s Heating Up: United States Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Proper Jurisdiction for Climate-Change Lawsuit

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the climate change lawsuit filed by the City of Baltimore in 2018 against energy companies. This case is one of a number of cases brought by states, cities, and other municipalities against energy companies alleging that the companies contributed to climate change. By granting certiorari and hearing oral arguments, the Supreme Court has agreed to review the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision remanding the suit to state court after rejecting the energy companies’ contention that they were acting as federal officers pursuant to historical contracts with the federal government. Continue Reading

SBA and IRS Create Further Uncertainty with the Federal Income Tax Deductibility of Certain Expenditures Paid for with Funds from a PPP Loan

On October 26, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) published a notice seeking comment on two Loan Necessity Questionnaires (Form 3509 for “for-profit” entity borrowers and Form 3510 for “non-profit” entity borrowers) that are to be submitted by borrowers who have received Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans and are seeking forgiveness of those loans pursuant to section 1106 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”). Continue Reading

Louisiana Third Circuit Confirms Settled Application of Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine Where Expired Mineral Leases at Issue

As it “is impossible to transfer rights to an assignee under an expired mineral lease,” in a case where oil, gas and mineral leases had expired prior to plaintiff’s acquisition of the property, the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Litel Explorations, L.L.C. v. Aegis Development Company, L.L.C., et al. affirmed dismissal of claims pursuant to the subsequent purchaser doctrine, which provides that the right to sue for property damage is a personal right that belongs to the landowner who owned the property at the time the damage occurred, unless the right has been explicitly assigned or subrogated to the subsequent purchaser of the land. Continue Reading

Governor Edwards Indicates that Offshore Wind is on the Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico

Governor John Bel Edwards has identified offshore wind energy as a feature component of his recently announced renewable energy initiative for the Gulf of Mexico. The Governor announced the initiative at the inaugural meeting of his Climate Initiative Task Force. Continue Reading

Solar Leasing in Louisiana: Who to Lease?

This blog post is the first in a series of blog posts that will discuss some of the nuances of Louisiana property law relating to solar leasing. With solar companies entering the Louisiana market, many of which having no prior experience in Louisiana, it is important to identify and avoid some pitfalls that may not be immediately obvious to the common-law practitioner.

Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Identifies Potential Conflict with Supreme Court on Jones Act Seaman Test

In Sanchez v. Smart Fabricators of Texas, LLC, 970 F.3d 550,  a three-judge panel of the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal held on August 14, 2020, that seaman status under the Jones Act may apply to an injured welder on a jack-up oil rig adjacent to an inland pier. Maintaining that the plaintiff qualified as a seaman under controlling Fifth Circuit precedent but questioning that precedent in light of Supreme Court case law, the panel urged the Fifth Circuit to review the case en banc. Continue Reading

Drilling for our Future: Technological Advances Leading the Industry

Several major oil and gas producers around the world are working with the Rocky Mountain Institute to develop a digital platform to assist in tracking and reducing emissions. Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron are among the industry leaders piloting this new digital platform, which will enable emissions data to be obtained from a number of different sources, as well as industry reports. The digital platform being utilized is called the Climate Action Engine (CAE). Continue Reading

Louisiana Third Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Royalty and Other Claims Based Upon Prescription

In a straightforward application of Louisiana’s prescriptive principles, the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit affirmed the trial court’s grant of exceptions of prescription, finding plaintiff’s claims for fraud, under the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act (LUTPA), and for unpaid royalties all prescribed in Karen May v. The Succession of Mayo Romero Continue Reading

Recent Changes to Louisiana Tax Penalty Regime

Recent jurisprudential and legislative developments have significantly altered the Louisiana state tax penalty regime.  First, the Louisiana Supreme Court on November 4, 2020 denied the Louisiana Department of Revenue’s writ application in Smith International, Inc. v. Kimberly Robinson, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Revenue [1], rendering the earlier decision by the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal final.  Now, the penalties imposed by Acts 2015, No. 128, eff. July 1, 2015 cannot be applied to tax periods prior to July 1, 2015.  In addition, the late payment penalty in La. R.S. 47:1602(A) is no longer applicable to amounts later assessed on taxpayers who timely filed their returns and remitted the amount of tax shown as due on their tax returns.  Taxpayers under audit should object to the Department of Revenue asserting these penalties in audit workpapers. Continue Reading

LexBlog