Climate change played a starring role in major energy rulings this year, as courts ordered the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to more closely study pipeline greenhouse gas emissions, backed states' use of nuclear plant subsidies to decrease GHG emissions and thwarted the Trump administration's efforts to roll back climate-friendly energy and environmental regulations finalized during the Obama administration. Here are the biggest energy-related rulings from 2017.
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Analysis

The Biggest Energy Rulings Of 2017

Climate change played a starring role in major energy rulings this year, as courts ordered the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to more closely study pipeline greenhouse gas emissions, backed states' use of nuclear plant subsidies to decrease GHG emissions and thwarted the Trump administration's efforts to roll back climate-friendly energy and environmental regulations finalized during the Obama administration. Here are the biggest energy-related rulings from 2017. Read more »

State Can't Block Millennium Pipeline Project, NY Judge Says

Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC on Wednesday won another court battle in its effort to build a 7.8-mile gas pipeline in southern New York, convincing a federal judge to stop the state’s environmental watchdog from blocking construction based on a water quality permit dispute. Read more »

PSE&G Says 2.5M Customers' Data Likely Hit In PayPal Breach

New Jersey's Public Service Electric and Gas Co. said Tuesday that a recent data breach at a payment processor owned by PayPal may have compromised the personal information of up to 2.5 million utility customers who paid their bills at automated kiosks and third-party payment centers between 2012 and 2017. Read more »

GOP Leaders Reach Deal To Reconcile Tax Bill Differences

Republican leaders have reached an agreement to settle the differences between the tax cut bills passed in the House and Senate, according to a statement from the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday. Read more »

MVP: King & Spalding's Simon Cowled

King & Spalding LLP's Simon Cowled has advised buyers and sellers on more than $8.5 billion in energy merger and acquisition transactions in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond in the past year, landing him among Law360's 2017 Energy MVPs. Read more »

NATURAL GAS

DC Circ. Gives Enviros 2nd Shot To Fight $2.2B Pipeline

The Sierra Club will be allowed to refile a suit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission aiming to stall construction on the $2.2 billion Nexus pipeline after the nonprofit had to pull its initial petition, the D.C. Circuit said Wednesday. Read more »

PETROLEUM

DC Circ. Nixes Freedmen Descendants' Suit Against DOI

The D.C. Circuit on Tuesday declined to revive a proposed class action, brought by descendants of slaves held by Native American tribes, claiming the U.S. Department of the Interior owes them royalties from land granted to their ancestors, agreeing with a lower court that alleged injuries to their relatives aren’t enough to give them standing. Read more »

Deals Rumor Mill: Disney, AmBank, Saudi Aramco

Walt Disney’s deal with 21st Century Fox is on the precipice of being announced, a Malaysian lender is mulling the sale of its general insurance business, and Saudi Aramco is still deciding upon book runners and global coordinators as the state-owned oil giant prepares for a 2018 IPO that’s expected to raise $100 billion. Read more »

10th Circ. Won’t Rehear Ex-Tribe Worker's Contract Row

The Tenth Circuit rejected a Ute Indian Tribe ex-energy and minerals department employee’s bid for panel or full court rehearing on Wednesday after it sided with the tribe in their contract dispute. Read more »

NUCLEAR

Westinghouse Gets 3-Month Extension To File Ch. 11 Plan

Westinghouse Electric Co. on Wednesday received 90 more days of exclusive time to file a Chapter 11 reorganization plan from a New York bankruptcy court judge, who blasted the company’s unsecured creditors for trying to “throw a bomb” in what has so far been a productive restructuring case. Read more »

Ill. Nuke Plant Subsidies Do Step On FERC, 7th Circ. Told

A coalition of power producers on Tuesday told the Seventh Circuit that the effort by Illinois to prop up two struggling Exelon Corp. nuclear power plants is an overreach of authority reserved for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, adding that Supreme Court precedent showed the state went too far. Read more »

EXPERT ANALYSIS

The Science And Controversy Of Offshore Wind

As the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management embarks on several studies to better understand offshore resources and species, fishing interests have sued BOEM to challenge not only an offshore wind lease, but the process used to award leases and conduct environmental analysis. The future of offshore wind in the United States may be at stake, says Brook Detterman of Beveridge & Diamond PC. Read more »

4th Circ. Deals Blow To Securities Fraud Plaintiffs

By cabining material misrepresentation and scienter within their respective domains, the Fourth Circuit in Maguire Financial v. PowerSecure highlighted the onerous bar securities fraud plaintiffs must meet for their claims to survive dismissal, say attorneys with Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Read more »

Series

40 Years Of FCPA: Compliance, Past And Future

More than any other statute, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has fueled the growth of the compliance industry. While the expansion of corporate compliance is a positive development, the fear-driven and FCPA-centric approach has also produced unfortunate consequences, says ethics consultant Hui Chen, who served as the U.S. Department of Justice's first-ever compliance counsel. Read more »

Opinion

BigLaw Is Behind The Automation Curve

In its new report on the effects of automation in the workplace, McKinsey Global Institute identifies lawyers as less susceptible to the sort of automation that could put one-third of American workers out of a career by 2030. This may seem reassuring, but it doesn't mean automation won't disrupt our bottom line, says Michael Moradzadeh of Rimon PC. Read more »

LEGAL INDUSTRY

Judicial Dreams Likely Dead For 2 Trump Picks

Two of President Donald Trump’s federal judge picks — Brett Talley in Alabama and Jeff Mateer in Texas — probably won't win congressional approval, a White House aide and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said Wednesday. Read more »

Senate Confirms Texas' Willett For 5th Circuit Seat

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett to the Fifth Circuit, in a sharply divided vote, sending the Lone Star State's "Twitter laureate" to the federal bench. Read more »

Texas, 11th Circ. Nominees Defend Views To Senate Panel

Nominees to the Eleventh Circuit and a Texas district court defended their past writings and advocacy before a U.S. Senate panel Wednesday, with Texas nominee Matthew Kacsmaryk saying his past advocacy on religious objectors would not color his work as a judge. Read more »

Atty-Journalist Describes 'Hypersexualized World' Of Kozinski

Dahlia Lithwick, a prominent legal commentator and onetime Ninth Circuit clerk, added Wednesday to allegations spreading about lewd and inappropriate sexual behavior by Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, writing an article describing a “strange hypersexualized world of transgressive talk and action that embodied his chambers.” Read more »

Barnes & Thornburg Atty Suspended For Billing Misconduct

A Barnes & Thornburg equity partner was suspended from practicing law for two years by the Georgia Supreme Court on Monday for submitting bogus bills to corporate clients while working at another firm, which was not named in the ruling. Read more »

Analysis

Lawyers Under Fire: The 2017 Year-End Ethics Review

How far can you go and still be inside the ethical lines? It’s a question lawyers must ask themselves frequently, and one at the heart of some of the biggest lawyer-focused cases and controversies. Here are five groundbreaking decisions and disputes from 2017 every professional liability lawyer should know. Read more »

ABA Pushes Senate Version Of Pass-Through Tax Break

The American Bar Association on Wednesday urged lawmakers to adopt the Senate's version of a tax break for pass-through entities, saying the House version unfairly excludes professional service businesses, including law firms, from receiving the deduction.  Read more »

Ex-Law School Students Need Loan Discharges, NC AG Says

North Carolina’s attorney general told the U.S. Department of Education in a letter Wednesday that he had received complaints from multiple students of the former Charlotte School of Law who said they were unable to obtain loan forgiveness they're entitled to under the national closed school discharge policy. Read more »

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COMPANIES

21st Century Fox Inc.

American Bar Association

Avvo Inc.

BuzzFeed Inc.

Cable News Network Inc.

Calpine Corporation

Chelsea Therapeutics International Ltd.

Citigroup Inc.

Deepwater Wind

Dynegy Inc.

Engie

Exelon Corporation

Florida Power & Light Co.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

HSBC Holdings PLC

Insurance Australia

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

LegalZoom.com Inc.

Level 3 Communications Inc.

Los Angeles Times

Major League Baseball Inc.

Mitsui & Company Ltd.

Morgan Stanley

NRG Energy Inc.

New York State Bar Association

New York Times Co.

New York University

PayPal Inc.

PowerSecure International Inc.

Public Service Enterprise Group Inc.

Rocket Lawyer Inc.

SAP AG

Saudi Arabian Oil Co.

Siemens AG

Sierra Club

Statoil ASA

Talen Energy Corp.

Tellabs, Inc.

Tenet Healthcare Corporation

The AES Corporation

The Blackstone Group L.P.

The Walt Disney Company

Toshiba

Twitter Inc.

United Continental Holdings Inc.

Virginia State Bar

Washington Post Co.

Western Digital Corporation

Westinghouse Electric Corp.

LAW FIRMS

Ballard Spahr

Barnes & Thornburg

Beveridge & Diamond

Boies Schiller

Bracewell

Bradley Arant

DLA Piper

Debevoise & Plimpton

Fredericks Peebles

Gibson Dunn

Greenberg Traurig

Haynes and Boone

Hogan Lovells

Jenner & Block

King & Spalding

Massey & Gail

McDermott Will

Munger Tolles

Proskauer Rose

Rimon PC

Seyfarth Shaw

Togut Segal

Weil Gotshal

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

Bureau of Land Management

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

California Air Resources Board

Executive Office of the President

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Fish and Wildlife Service

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Securities and Exchange Commission

Texas Attorney General's Office

U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Department of Energy

U.S. Department of Justice

U.S. Department of the Interior

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

U.S. Senate

U.S. Sentencing Commission

U.S. Supreme Court

United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York

United States Geological Survey

Ute Indian Tribe