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
2023 Begins With Increased (or Unlimited) Liability for Vessel Owners
A Regulatory Increase to the Limits of Liability for Oil Pollution and an Amendment Exempting Small Passenger Vessels from the Limitation of Liability Act Present New Challenges for Vessel Owners
U.S. maritime law experienced two significant changes on December 23, 2022—one pertaining to liability for oil pollution, the other concerning small passenger vessels.
The Western District of Louisiana Holds that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Shipper Must Have Title Policy Creates No Private Right of Action
In a unique twist on a common challenge to the deductibility of post-production expenses, plaintiffs in Grayson L.L.C. (Of Louisiana), et al. v. BPX Operating Co., et al. sued the unit operator for breach of contract to recover transportation costs incurred as a result of alleged regulatory violations of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC”)…
LNG Facilities Facing Environmental Challenges
A petition filed on July 19 by Sierra Club and Healthy Gulf seeks review of a “dredge and fill” permit granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Driftwood LNG – a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal under construction near Lake Charles. The permit was issued under the Clean Water Act in March…
Fifth Circuit Rejects Disgorgement of Profits Claim for Pipeline Trespass
In Mary v. QEP Energy Company, the U.S. Fifth Circuit held that a landowner is not entitled to a pipeline company’s profits as a consequence of a portion of a pipeline being located partially outside of a servitude. The Fifth Circuit concluded that a landowner can only recover the additional profits earned by defendant…
United States Supreme Court Blocks New Jersey’s Sovereign Immunity Challenge to FERC Certificate Holder’s Condemnation of State-Owned Land
On June 29, 2021, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, held that a natural gas company’s right to condemn property for a pipeline under the Natural Gas Act includes the right to condemn state-owned property. In PennEast Pipeline Co. v. New Jersey, the divided Court held that a certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) entitled PennEast Pipeline Company (PennEast) to use the federal government’s power of eminent domain to seize property owned by the State of New Jersey.
Continue Reading United States Supreme Court Blocks New Jersey’s Sovereign Immunity Challenge to FERC Certificate Holder’s Condemnation of State-Owned Land
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.
Continue Reading TC Energy’s $15B Claim Against U.S. for Biden’s Revocation of Keystone XL Pipeline Permit
Federal Agency Recommends Updated Regulations for Pipeline Monitoring, Decommissioning, and Abandonment
On April 19, the United States Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) released a report (the “Report”) in response to a request from the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources regarding the oversight and decommissioning of pipelines in federal waters, which are mainly located within the Gulf of Mexico. The Report concluded that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”) lacks a robust oversight process (1) for ensuring the integrity of active offshore oil and gas pipelines and (2) to address the environmental risks posed by decommissioning and abandoning pipelines on the seafloor. The GAO recommended that BSEE take actions to further develop, finalize, and implement updated pipeline regulations to address limitations in its ability to (1) ensure active pipeline integrity and (2) address safety and environmental risks associated with pipeline decommissioning and abandonment.
Continue Reading Federal Agency Recommends Updated Regulations for Pipeline Monitoring, Decommissioning, and Abandonment
President Biden Faces Constitutional Challenges to Revocation of Keystone XL Permit
During his first hours in the Oval Office, President Biden issued Executive Order 13990, entitled “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” Section 6 of the Order revoked TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P.’s March 2019 permit to construct and operate cross-border pipeline facilities at the U.S.-Canada border in Montana.
Western District Rejects Disgorgement of Profits Claim for Pipeline Trespass
In Mary v. QEP Energy Company, the Western District of Louisiana rejected, for the second time in this case, Plaintiffs’ claims seeking a disgorgement of QEP’s profits. QEP was the lessee of a mineral lease covering Plaintiffs’ property, but because it wanted to transport off-site gas across their property, QEP also obtained a pipeline…