BLM Drops Sage-Grouse Habitat from Oil & Gas Auction

The recent decision by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to remove hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land from its December 13th oil and gas auction is at least a temporary victory for environmentalists, whose efforts to protect the Greater Sage Grouse have led them to challenge the Trump administration’s policy of accelerating drilling on public lands. Continue Reading

IoT Update: DOT Publishes Policy Statement on Automated Vehicles

On October 4, the U.S. Department of Transportation published Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0 (“AV 3.0”), a policy vision statement that embraces automation as a critical tool to improve motor vehicle safety. AV 3.0 identifies several avenues to remove regulatory barriers to Autonomous Driving Systems (“ADS”), including potential changes to rules that may stand in the way of driverless vehicles. These changes are of interest to automotive manufacturers, parts and systems suppliers, and technology companies. Continue Reading

Governor Jerry Brown signs SB 100 and Executive Order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045

On Monday, September 10, 2018, two days before kicking-off the Global Climate Action Summit he is co-hosting in San Francisco, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 100 (De León), The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, which sets a state policy that eligible renewable energy and zero-carbon resources supply 100 percent (%) of all retail sales of electricity in California by 2045. (Our summary of SB 100 is here.) Continue Reading

California Legislature Passes Bill Putting State on Path to 100% Renewable and Zero-Carbon Power

A bill that would set California on a trajectory toward carbon-free emissions from its electric power sector cleared a major hurdle with its passage through the California State Legislature. SB 100 (De León), The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, sets a state policy that eligible renewable energy and zero-carbon resources supply 100 percent (%) of all retail sales of electricity in California by 2045.  Continue Reading

PSE&G Becomes First Public Utility to Secure SAFETY Act Liability Protections from DHS

Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), New Jersey’s oldest and largest regulated gas and electric delivery utility, recently became the first utility in the United States to secure liability protections under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act (SAFETY Act) of 2002 for its internal physical security program. The July 9, 2018 decision granting PSE&G SAFETY Act protections is significant because it signals that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which administers the Act, is taking concrete steps to recognize and bolster the energy industry’s critical contributions to national security. It also sends a message that the SAFETY Act is available to help other utilities limit their liability exposure to lawsuits that claim they should have done more to prevent or respond to a terrorist attack on their generation, transmission or distribution systems. Continue Reading

Solar Energy Jobs: Opportunities to Enhance Safety Compliance

As demand for solar energy has grown, employment in the U.S. solar industry has boomed to more than double the number of coal industry workers and nearly equal to employment in the natural gas industry. While solar energy jobs are among the safest in the energy sector, over the past 18 months the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has sought to levy large fines against some high profile solar industry employers for alleged safety violations. Others in the industry may expect increased scrutiny. But there are opportunities to enhance solar job safety and reduce compliance risks. Employers wishing to take advantage of these opportunities should seek legal advice about how to best navigate multiple applicable OSHA standards and guidance from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Continue Reading

DOE Fast Tracks Small Scale LNG Exports and Provides Assurance on Export Orders

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently acted in two separate orders to clear the path for small volume exports of LNG and allay concerns about the durability of its export authorizations.  In July, 2018, DOE adopted a rule to streamline its standards and process for approving small-scale LNG exports.  In a separate policy statement issued in June,  DOE put to rest industry concerns that it may rescind LNG export authorizations, stating firmly that it “does not foresee a scenario” under which it would rescind an authorization to export LNG.  For current and future investors in LNG export projects and their customers, these two developments appear to underscore DOE’s commitment to removing unnecessary barriers to LNG exports. Continue Reading

New EU Requirements on Products Containing REACH Candidate List SVHCs

The European Union has adopted a new obligation on suppliers of articles that contain substances listed in the REACH Candidate List of SVHCs in concentrations above 0,1% to submit a notification to the European Chemicals Agency (“ECHA”).  The new requirement is intended to facilitate the recycling of products and was introduced by a new Directive amending the EU Waste Framework Directive. Continue Reading

European Commission Launches New Antitrust Investigation into LNG Destination Clauses

On June 21, 2018, the European Commission (“Commission”) started a new investigation to determine whether so-called destination clauses in Qatar Petroleum’s liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) supply contracts with European buyers infringe the European Union (“EU”) antitrust rules. Continue Reading

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