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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 BLM Drops Sage-Grouse Habitat from Oil & Gas Auction

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 Commission (“CFTC”), by:

  • Requiring development of procedures governing no-action and other exemptive relief, including a requirement that the commissioners have the opportunity to review any responses to a request for relief.
  • Require notice-and-comment before issuance of policy statements, guidance, interpretive rules, or other procedural rules.
  • Allowing for judicial review of CFTC rules, along the lines of that allowed for Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) rules.


Continue Reading “Financial CHOICE Act” Approved by House Financial Services Committee

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 prohibiting substances. Historically, the fast-track procedure has been reserved for mixtures that contain CMRs and are intended for the general public.  The Commission has indicated that its proposal to ban the use of CMRs in apparel is a “test-case” of its intention to also ban Cat. 1A and 1B CMRs in articles (i.e., objects) intended for consumers on a regular basis in the near future.  This fast-track procedure allows less scientific input from the European Chemicals Agency (“ECHA”) and industry, and the related restrictions would create significant barriers to international trade. 
Continue Reading Upcoming European Chemical Restrictions in Apparel Raise Concerns

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 to change its policies in pursuit of more ambitious climate change targets on the basis of the State’s “duty of care.”  The ruling comes at a time where NGOs in Europe are becoming increasingly active in pressuring governments to tighten environmental regulations.
Continue Reading Can Courts Oblige States to Increase Greenhouse Gas Emission Cuts? Urgenda vs. Dutch State

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. 

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

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

On February 25, 2015, the European Commission presented three communications on:

  1. a Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy;
  2. Achieving the 10% Electricity Interconnection Target: Making Europe’s Electricity Grid Fit for 2010; and
  3. The Paris Protocol: A Blueprint for Tackling Global Climate Change Beyond 2020.

These