As a matter of first impression, in Cheapside Mins., Ltd. v. Devon Energy Prod. Co., L.P., No. 23-40591, 2024 WL 886951 (5th Cir. Mar. 1, 2024), the Fifth Circuit held that an oil-and-gas royalties class action belongs in federal court based on its interpretation that the “principal injuries” prong of the CAFA local controversy

On March 11, 2024, Liskow lawyers Kathryn Gonski and Melanie Derefinko secured the denial of a motion to remand on improper joinder grounds and the dismissal of an intentional tort claim against Methanex, a major Louisiana plant owner, in Knight v. Turner Industries Group, L.L.C., et al., No. 23-469 (M.D. La.).  The court’s rulings

We are now seeing the Louisiana legislature address some of these uncertainties head on with Senate Bill 285, which was filed on March 1, 2024 by Louisiana senator Stewart Cathey, Jr. Namely, SB285 would grant authority to the Office of Conservation to establish units for brine production. Furthermore, the proposed legislation would revise the Mineral Code to expressly include brine among the substances to which the Mineral Code applies.
Continue Reading Proposed Brine Legislation May Pave the Way for Louisiana Lithium Projects

Environmental groups are asking the federal appellate courts to vacate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) recent decision to grant Louisiana primacy over Class VI injection wells.
Continue Reading Environmental Groups Challenge Louisiana’s Primacy Over Class VI Injection Wells

In a much-anticipated decision, the United States Supreme Court held that choice-of-law provisions in marine insurance contracts are presumptively enforceable under federal maritime law with a few narrow exceptions. In Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Raiders Retreat Realty Co., LLC, 601 U.S. ___ (2024), the country’s highest court overturned a Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision that had created a circuit split regarding the applicability of choice-of-law provisions in marine insurance contracts and when the law of the forum state can override the choice made by the parties to the contract.
Continue Reading Choice-of-Law Provisions in Marine Insurance Contracts Upheld by the Supreme Court

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently certified a question to the Texas Supreme Court asking what effect a free-use clause and an off-lease clause have on a royalty clause valuing royalties at the well. At issue was whether gas used as fuel off the leased premises could be deducted from royalties when the royalties were to be valued at the well under an oil and gas lease containing an off-lease clause and a free-use clause. Texas Supreme Court precedent provides that when a lease states that royalties must be valued on the gross proceeds received by lessees, free-use clauses do not allow for gas used as fuel off the leased premises to be deducted, but it is not clear on whether that same rationale would apply when royalties are valued at the well. Given that uncertainty, the Fifth Circuit could not confidently make an Erie guess on the issue and instead opted to certify the question to the Texas Supreme Court.
Continue Reading At the Well vs. Off the Lease: The Fifth Circuit Asks the Texas Supreme Court to Determine Whether Off-Lease Fuel May be Deducted from Royalties Valued at the Well

LDEQ issued regulations implementing Louisiana’s first-ever voluntary environmental self-audit program. The regulations provide for the reduction or elimination of civil penalties for certain violations disclosed to LDEQ as the result of a voluntary environmental self-audit. Read more about the regulations here.
Continue Reading LDEQ Releases Louisiana’s First-Ever Voluntary Environmental Self-Audit Program

On February 9, 2024, the Department of the Interior (DOI) published its semi-annual regulatory agenda, which includes two new planned rulemakings affecting federal offshore leases.
Continue Reading DOI Regulatory Agenda Includes BSEE Rulemakings on Decommissioning and Bonding for Civil Penalty Appeals

A Louisiana federal court recently blocked EPA and DOJ from enforcing Title VI against the State of Louisiana to require disparate and cumulative impact analyses under federal environmental justice (EJ) policies for its state permitting. Read more about this decision and its ramifications here.
Continue Reading EJ Evolution: Court Enjoins EPA from Imposing Disparate Impact Requirements via Title VI in Louisiana Permitting