• January 27, 2015

    BP Witness Says Marshes, Beaches Back To Pre-Spill Form

    A witness for BP Exploration and Production Inc. on Tuesday testified in Louisiana federal court that beaches and marshes drenched with oil as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill are back to pre-spill conditions, an assertion that faced scrutiny from the U.S. government.

  • January 27, 2015

    Obama Walks Political Tightrope With Oil, Gas Policies

    President Barack Obama’s plan to open the Atlantic Ocean up to oil and gas drilling while making more portions of the Arctic off-limits highlights the balancing act he is attempting to maintain between environmental concerns over fossil fuel development and the production boom that has made the U.S. the world’s largest oil producer.

  • January 27, 2015

    Split 6th Circ. Says Permit Shield Protects Coal Co.

    A split Sixth Circuit said Tuesday that a Kentucky coal mining company accused of discharging selenium into nearby creeks may not be sued by environmentalists because its general permit, while not specifically setting selenium limits, still shielded the company from liability.

  • January 27, 2015

    EPA Moves To Bury Alaska Copper Mine Suit

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is urging an Alaska federal judge to toss a lawsuit accusing it of conceding too much to environmental groups seeking to shut down a Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd.-backed mine, saying that it has a responsibility to hear all sides of an issue when making a decision.

  • January 27, 2015

    FERC 'Essential' To Clean Power Plan Success, Chair Says

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will be “essential” to successfully implementing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur said Tuesday, arguing its work on “unsexy” energy reliability and cost issues will be crucial to the plan’s success.

  • January 27, 2015

    Wind Project Investment Passes $30B In 2014, Report Says

    Total investment in wind energy has reached $31.7 billion in 2014 and mergers and acquisitions in the space were strong despite a slowdown in venture capital funding, Mercom Capital Group said in a report released on Tuesday.

  • January 27, 2015

    Texas City Fights Off Bid To Remand Drilling Ban Suit

    A Texas federal judge on Tuesday blocked a bid by a group of mineral rights owners to remand their suit alleging the city of Denton’s drilling moratoria operated as an illegal taking, saying the suit raised a federal claim and could be heard in federal court.

  • January 27, 2015

    DOI May Owe Attys' Fees In Mining Permit Row, 9th Circ. Says

    A coalition of tribal and conservation groups won new life Monday in their bid to force the U.S. Department of Interior to pay their legal fees from a mining permit feud in Arizona, after the Ninth Circuit ruled the groups were eligible — but not necessarily entitled — to a fee award.

  • January 27, 2015

    Energy Group Of The Year: Weil Gotshal

    Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP represented energy clients in several major mergers and acquisitions and private equity transactions in 2014, including Kinder Morgan Inc.’s $70 billion deal to buy up the outstanding equity shares of three subsidiaries, helping the firm nab a place among Law360’s Energy Groups of the Year.

  • January 27, 2015

    Pa. Bill Would Allow Integration Of Multiple Gas Leases

    A Pennsylvania state senator introduced legislation on Monday that would allow the state’s Public Utility Commission to regulate the pooling of leased land into units for coordinated extraction activity by oil and gas drillers.

  • January 27, 2015

    Oil And Gas Groups Challenge EPA's GHG Reporting Rule

    The American Petroleum Institute and the Gas Processors Association have asked the D.C. Circuit to review the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new greenhouse gas reporting and confidentiality rules, which revised monitoring and data disclosure requirements.

  • January 27, 2015

    Obama's Offshore Plan Opens Up Atlantic To Drilling

    The 2017-2022 offshore oil and gas leasing program unveiled by the Obama administration on Tuesday would open up parts of the Atlantic Ocean to drilling, fulfilling a wish of the oil industry while angering environmentalists and some coastal lawmakers.

  • January 26, 2015

    Big Firms Got A Break From Securities Class Actions In 2014

    Last year, securities class action filings picked up slightly as plaintiffs targeted biotechnology firms and oil and gas producers, but larger companies found themselves the least likely to face a shareholder claim since 2000, according to a report released Tuesday by Cornerstone Research.

  • January 26, 2015

    Obama Floats Broader Drilling Ban In Arctic Wildlife Area

    President Barack Obama proposed new drilling restrictions Sunday for more than half the 19 million acres in Alaska's oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan that drew ire from congressional Republicans.

  • January 26, 2015

    Democrats Stall Keystone XL Pipeline Bill In Senate

    The U.S. Senate on Monday failed to approve the Keystone XL pipeline bill after a vote fell short of the required number needed to end long-running debate, as Democrats protested Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bid to end debate before all pending amendments had been decided.

  • January 26, 2015

    Insurer Says Oil Well Co. Not Covered For $23M Blowout Suit

    Evanston Insurance Co. sued a well operations consultant in Louisiana federal court Monday, saying policies it issued to the company won't cover a $23 million suit claiming the company’s negligence caused a July 2012 well blowout because the claims were filed too late or otherwise excluded.

  • January 26, 2015

    NextEra Energy Unit Plans 3 New Solar Plants In Fla.

    NextEra Energy Inc.'s Florida unit on Monday announced plans to build three new solar photovoltaic power plants in the state before the end of 2016 that will triple the amount of solar energy the utility uses to serve customers.

  • January 26, 2015

    BP's Deepwater Response Was 'Extraordinary,' Witnesses Say

    Witnesses for BP Exploration and Production Inc. on Monday called the company’s response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster “extraordinary,” as the oil giant began its case in the penalty phase over its responsibility for the 2010 well blowout.

  • January 26, 2015

    US Enrichment Sues Feds For $43M In Pension Costs

    United States Enrichment Corp. slapped the federal government with a breach of contract suit on Friday, alleging that the U.S. Department of Energy stiffed it for $42.8 million of retiree benefit costs after it finished work on a contract at a nuclear fuel plant in Portsmouth, Ohio.

  • January 26, 2015

    NiSource Pipeline MLP Aims For $800M IPO As Oil Prices Fall

    Columbia Pipeline Partners LP, which spun off from utility giant NiSource Inc. last fall, set terms Monday for an $800 million initial public offering, making it the latest master limited partnership to join in the IPO frenzy amid plunging oil prices.

Expert Analysis

  • New Coal Ash Standard May Reignite Tax-Exempt Bond Market

    Mary Nash Rusher

    The Environmental Protection Agency’s recent determination that coal ash is solid waste could have a material impact on capital expenditures relating to coal ash. Coal plant owners should be aware that the final rule provides certain financing benefits by clarifying the ability to finance certain facilities with tax-exempt bonds, say Mary Nash Rusher and S. Christina Kwon of Hunton & Williams LLP.

  • High Court Weighs Gas Act Preemption In Antitrust Case

    Kenneth W. Irvin

    The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Oneok Inc. v. Learjet Inc., a case that raises an intriguing question about what the justices aim to achieve given the intervening expansion of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s anti-manipulation authority in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, say attorneys with Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP.

  • Calif. Land Grant Case May Change Railroad Rights Of Way

    Neil M. Soltman

    A California appellate court's recent ruling in Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Santa Fe Pacific Pipelines Inc. is likely to significantly affect the relationships between railroads and their subsurface tenants on rights of way that were originally granted by the government, particularly in the western part of the country, say Neil Soltman and Michael Kerr of Mayer Brown LLP.

  • A Data Security Checklist For Companies Hiring Law Firms

    Jenn Topper

    We trust our law firms with huge amounts of data, whether in or out of discovery, investigations or litigation. All too often, we have relied on privilege, confidentiality and attorney ethics as a proxy for data protection and information security. But in fact, law firms ought to be held to a much more stringent standard — and in-house counsel would be wise to begin with a number of specific inquiries, says legal industry consultan... (continued)

  • 10 Tips For Downsizing Workforces In An Energy Crunch

    Steve Shardonofsky

    While the energy sector is no stranger to the employment effects of cyclical oil prices, small and midsized oil field services companies that grew up during the recent U.S. energy boom will likely bear the brunt of falling oil prices. Further, these companies face new legal risks and obligations when downsizing that were nonexistent during the oil bust of the 1980s, say Steve Shardonofsky and Brian Wadsworth of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

  • What Legal Departments Can Expect If Buying Into E-Billing

    David Houlihan

    Recent interviews with law departments in eight companies — ranging from $600 million to $70 billion in annual revenue, and spanning the financial services, telecommunications, hospitality, software and discrete manufacturing industries — reveals that e-billing and "spend management solutions" offer some of the clearer business cases for technology investment by an organization’s legal department, says David Houlihan of Blue Hill Research Inc.

  • Top 10 Trade Secrets Developments Of 2014: Part 2

    Randy Kahnke

    While the world of patentable subject matter shrinks, the world of trade secret protection may be expanding, say attorneys with Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

  • FCPA Trends From The Last 6 Months

    Greg Deis

    After a relatively quiet third quarter in which there was only one corporate settlement of a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action, 2014 ended with a flurry of activity, including the largest criminal penalty ever levied under the FCPA. Resolutions in the second half of the year highlight the value the agencies place on timely self-disclosure, full cooperation and remediation, say attorneys with Mayer Brown LLP.

  • EPA Methane Strategy May Sit On Policy Back Burner

    Cynthia AM Stroman

    While it remains to be seen whether Congress will act to disapprove the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's methane emissions reduction strategy, at a surficial level, its limitation to “new” sources might place it lower on Capitol Hill’s priority list, says Cynthia Stroman of King & Spalding LLP.

  • 3 In-House Management Strategies For 2015

    James A. Merklinger

    Bank of America Corp.'s new litigation model boasts 80 percent fixed fees. At United Technologies Corp., 70 percent of legal fees were “alternative” as of 2013. And Caterpillar created a sophisticated “legal lane” strategy to save time and money. Companies looking to work smarter in 2015 should keep in mind that key to these achievements was appointment of a legal department chief operating officer, says James Merklinger of the Ass... (continued)