The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Sackett v. EPA, No. 21-454 (May 25, 2023) is a landmark ruling in environmental law interpreting the scope of water bodies covered by the Clean Water Act (CWA) – an issue that has been debated by courts, presidential administrations, and federal agencies for decades. The Court’s ruling holds
EJ Evolution: New Environmental Justice Executive Order Expands Agency Directives
On April 21, 2023, the Biden administration reinforced and expanded its commitment to promoting environmental justice by signing new Executive Order 14096, “Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All.” This executive order is the latest in a series of actions under the Biden Administration that build upon Executive Order 12898, signed in 1994…
New IRS Revenue Ruling Provides Opportunities for Financing Carbon Capture Equipment
On July 1, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service published Revenue Ruling 2021-13, which provides guidance on three important issues related to the income tax credit for carbon oxide sequestration found in section 45Q of the Internal Revenue Code. Recall that section 45Q provides for a credit against a taxpayer’s income tax liability based on the amount of carbon oxide (a) captured using carbon capture equipment, (b) placed in service at a qualified facility and (c) disposed of, injected, or utilized in a specified manner. For more information on carbon capture and section 45Q tax credits, see here, here and here.
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Louisiana Enacts New Laws Requiring Accommodations for Pregnant Employees and Restricting the Use of Criminal History in Hiring Decisions
The Louisiana legislature has passed new laws requiring employers to provide accommodations for certain pregnant employees and limiting an employer’s use of an applicant’s criminal history in hiring decisions. Both laws become effective on August 1, 2021.
Amendment to Pregnancy Accommodation Law
By Act No. 393 of the 2021 Regular Session, Louisiana’s nondiscrimination…
TC Energy’s $15B Claim Against U.S. for Biden’s Revocation of Keystone XL Pipeline Permit
TC Energy Corporation stated that it filed a notice of intent with the U.S. Department of State that it will make a claim against the U.S. under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The claim will be based on President Biden’s January 2021 revocation of TC Energy’s Keystone XL Pipeline permit.
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Ethical Obligations in Technology Assisted Review
DOI Announcement of a Proposed Rule on Risk Management, Financial Assurance and Loss Prevention
The long-awaited proposed changes to the Department of Interior’s Financial Assurance Rule (“Proposed Rule”) were finally announced yesterday by the Trump Administration. The announcement provides, among other things, that the proposed rulemaking is in efforts to clarify, streamline and provide greater transparency to the financial assurance requirements (e.g., supplemental bonding) for OCS lessees and grant holders of pipeline rights-of-way (“ROW”) and rights-of-use and easement (“RUE”), while protecting U.S. taxpayers against picking up the tab for high-risk decommissioning liabilities. Once this Proposed Rule is published in the Federal Register (date yet to be announced), the public will have a 60-day comment period.
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Commercial Lease Considerations in the Wake of Hurricane Laura
Commercial Lease Considerations in the Wake of Hurricane Laura
Following disasters such as Hurricane Laura, business owners have a variety of concerns when beginning the recovery process. Chief among those concerns: what to do when your place of business has been damaged or destroyed? If you lease your place of business, or if you lease out land or buildings to other people for their businesses, this concern becomes especially important when you consider the different parties with a potential interest in the recovery—the lessor (landlord), the lessor’s insurer, the lessor’s lender, the lessee (tenant), the lessee’s insurer, and the lessee’s lender. Being familiar with your lease agreement is the key to understanding the extent of your rights and responsibilities, especially as they pertain to repair obligations, obligations regarding the payment or reimbursement of insurance deductibles, insurance recovery, and rights to termination and reduction (abatement) of rent. As an initial matter, the first question you should ask yourself is: What kind of lease agreement do I have?
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OSHA Addresses Reporting COVID-19 Cases as Job-Related and In-Person Workplace Inspections
On May 19, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued two noteworthy enforcement memos. The first memo announced the reversal of OSHA’s April 10, 2020 policy that limited the requirement to track on-the-job cases of COVID-19 to health-care facilities, emergency response providers, and corrections facilities. The new policy, which goes into effect on May 26, 2020, mandates that all employers who are required to maintain OSHA injury and illness logs determine whether employees’ cases of the COVID-19 virus are “work-related” and record those that meet certain requirements. Specifically, employers subject to OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements must record a case of COVID-19 as job-related if (1) it is a confirmed case of the virus as defined by the CDC, (2) it is “work-related” in that an event or exposure in the work environment either contributed to or caused an employee to contract the virus, and (3) it results in death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness or involves a significant diagnosed injury or illness. Employers who have no recordkeeping obligations need only report work-related COVID-19 illnesses resulting in an employee’s death or in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.
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COVID-19 as a Force Majeure? The Texas and Louisiana Perspectives
Today, countries worldwide are responding to a pandemic of respiratory disease spreading from person-to-person caused by a novel coronavirus. The disease has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”). The pandemic poses a serious public health risk, and government response has included closure of schools and businesses, declarations of emergency, and issuance of a variety of “stay home” orders—typically instructing all but “essential personnel” to remain in their residences other than to gather necessaries. These events have dramatically impacted the world economy, and wreaked havoc on the day-to-day functions of individuals and businesses in the United States and elsewhere. Does this pandemic and resultant disruption constitute a force majeure event under Louisiana and Texas law?…
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