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“Financial CHOICE Act” Approved by House Financial Services Committee

On September 13, 2016 the Financial CHOICE Act was approved by the House Financial Services Committee by a vote of 30-26.  The bill would overhaul regulation of the financial markets and is an important development for derivatives market participants, including energy companies.  For example, the bill would alter the functioning of the Commodity Futures Trading … Continue Reading

Upcoming European Chemical Restrictions in Apparel Raise Concerns

The European Commission intends to ban the use in apparel of hundreds of Cat. 1A and 1B carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction substances (“CMRs”) within the next year. To do so, the Commission expects to use the so-called “fast-track” procedure to ban CMRs under Regulation 1907/2006 (“REACH Regulation”), instead of the standard procedure for … Continue Reading

Can Courts Oblige States to Increase Greenhouse Gas Emission Cuts? Urgenda vs. Dutch State

On September 23, the Dutch Government appealed a decision* of the District Court in The Hague that obliges the Dutch State to reduce its greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions by at least 25%, instead of the currently envisaged 17%, compared to 1990 levels.  The decision is unique in its kind in Europe: it forces a government … Continue Reading

Risk and Reward in the UKCS: Recent Positive Development

  Our Risk and Reward in the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (“UKCS”) series has reported on the challenging times recently faced by the UKCS oil and gas industry.  The past week has seen positive developments in the form of newly awarded exploration licences and the first modest improvement in the industry’s quarterly outlook since 2013. … Continue Reading

The Road to Paris 2015: EU Emissions Trading Scheme and its Application to Non-EEA Airlines – Enforcement on the Rise?

Europe is stepping up enforcement of its climate change rules against foreign airlines.  Recently, a Belgian authority competent for the enforcement of the EU Emissions Trading System (“ETS”) on airlines flying to and from Brussels, collected a fine of €1.4 million.  The fine was imposed on Saudi Arabian Airlines for failing to surrender emission allowances.  … Continue Reading

CFTC Officials Outline Commission’s Policy Positions at Energy Risk Summit USA 2015

Chairman Timothy Massad and Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) delivered speeches at the Energy Risk Summit in Houston this week, providing a roadmap for the CFTC’s current and upcoming rulemaking as well as a policy perspective on the CFTC’s proposed position limit rules. In remarks to the conference … Continue Reading

DLA Energy Plans to Make Utility Privatizations More Effective and Streamlined

Last week the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Energy issued a statement on DLA’s website about its plan to “increase the productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of [the] Air Force’s utility services contracts” – a plan that dovetails with the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Better Buying Power 3.0 initiative (BBP 3.0).  This should be good news for utility … Continue Reading

Risk and Reward in the UK Continental Shelf: Key Developments in Q1 2015

Our 2014 series on risk and reward in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) outlined the challenges being faced by the UKCS oil and gas industry to remain competitive. A consistent theme emerging from industry stakeholders is that significant fiscal and regulatory reform is required to secure the industry’s long-term future. This post highlights key fiscal … Continue Reading

The Road to Paris 2015: The European Commission Announces its Initiatives to Achieve a European Energy Union and an International Climate Change Deal

On February 25, 2015, the European Commission presented three communications on: a Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy; Achieving the 10% Electricity Interconnection Target: Making Europe’s Electricity Grid Fit for 2010; and The Paris Protocol: A Blueprint for Tackling Global Climate Change Beyond 2020. These three Communications build … Continue Reading

CFTC Position Limits: Recent Congressional and Ongoing CFTC Developments

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) proposed rule on position limits continues to be a priority for energy market participants, as both Congress and the CFTC are actively reviewing this issue.  The final rule threatens well-established hedging and risk management practices related to the trading of futures and swaps by energy market participants. Recently, the … Continue Reading

Large EU Member States Take National Divergent Measures on Shale Gas Extraction

Member States continue to adopt national and divergent rules on hydraulic fracturing across Europe.  Last week, the United Kingdom facilitated hydraulic fracturing operations by adopting its Infrastructure 2015 Act.  In contrast, Germany is considering the adoption of a legislative proposal that is intended to be more restrictive than the European Commission’s Recommendation on Hydraulic Fracturing. … Continue Reading

The Future of the EU Energy Union and Energy Charter Treaty

On 6 February 2015, the Energy Union Conference in Riga, Latvia (the “Conference”), signalled the start of the Riga Process towards forming the key dimensions and actions of the new EU Energy Union (the “Energy Union”). During the Conference, the Secretariat General of the Energy Charter Treaty[1] spoke of its relevance to the Energy Union. … Continue Reading

Geothermal Power in East Africa

Last week, London-based firm EnergyNet held its “Powering Africa Summit” in Washington.  The Summit, opened by U.S. Secretary of Energy Moniz, attracted project developers, equipment suppliers, financiers, the U.S. Government’s Power Africa team, and African government officials.  Unfortunately, due to the African Union Summit that was being held at the same time in Ethiopia, no minister … Continue Reading

NGOs May Sue European Governments for Failure to Comply with EU Mandatory Environmental Standards

In November, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CoJ”) held once again that NGOs and persons directly concerned may bring legal actions before national courts against EU Member States that fail to comply with EU mandatory environmental standards.  The CoJ’s decision (CJEU, C-404/13) concerned the UK government’s failure to adopt adequate plans to … Continue Reading

Regulated Utilities Push into Residential Solar Market

Residential rooftop solar energy continues to expand at a rapid pace in many states. This growing market dynamic is affecting the business model of traditional electric utilities. Some utilities have sought to impose obstacles to the growth of competing solar rooftop providers, citing concern that as more homes produce their own electricity, the corresponding loss … Continue Reading

The Road to Paris 2015: European Council Deal on Future Climate Change and Energy Policy

Last Thursday, the 28 Heads of State of the European Union meeting at the European Council reached a political agreement on the EU’s climate and energy framework for 2030.  The compromise is intended to send a signal in anticipation of the next United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”) Conference of Parties scheduled for … Continue Reading

EU Consultation on the Development of Criteria to Identify Endocrine Disruptors in Biocidal and Plant Protection Products

On September 26th the European Commission launched a public consultation on the development of criteria to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals in biocidal and plant protection products.  The consultation is open for contributions until January 16th, 2015, and its results may significantly impact a wide variety of products (e.g., cosmetics, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, consumer products) as … Continue Reading

EU Court Confirms Support for Protective Local Green Energy Schemes: Will This Approach Spill Over to Other National Environmental Measures?

EU Member State green energy schemes that only support locally produced renewable energy are compatible with EU law.  This is the main conclusion of the Court of Justice of the European Union in its judgment of 11 September 2014 (CJEU, Joined Cases C-204/12 to C-208/12, Essent Belgium NV v. Vlaamse Reguleringsinstantie voor de Electriciteits- en … Continue Reading

EU Court Allows Discriminatory Green Energy Support Schemes

David Haughan, Stagiarie, Summer 2014, contributed to this post.  Mr. Haughan was a legal trainee at the Brussels office of Covington and Burling LLP during the Summer of 2014.  David studies at King’s College, London. In a landmark decision (CJEU, C-573/12, Ålands Vindkraft AB v. Energimyndigheten) the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled … Continue Reading

UK Parliament Announces Tighter Planning Guidance for Onshore Oil and Gas Applications

In the first blog of this two-part series, we considered the potential impact of the 14th Round on the commercialisation of the shale gas in the UK in light of recent developments in this industry. This second blog post focusses on the additional planning guidance for licence applications in National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural … Continue Reading
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