On June 18, The United States Supreme Court decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona, No. 13-502 imposed a new strict test for municipalities to prove that their sign regulations are truly content neutral.  Local ordinances that regulate signs differently—dependent upon the type of message conveyed—may be found to be unconstitutional unless they support compelling government interests and are narrowly tailored to achieve those goals. Summary of Decision A church and its pastor challenged the Town of Gilbert’s sign ordinance that imposed different restrictions on political, ideological, and directional signs. The church had placed temporary directional signs advertising church services throughout the town. The ordinance limited the size of... READ MORE
On Monday, June 29, the Supreme Court held that EPA violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) when it determined that regulation of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from certain power plants was “appropriate and necessary” without consideration of costs.  Michigan v. EPA, No. 14-45 (June 29, 2015).  The decision overturned a contrary decision from the D.C. Circuit (See this VNF Climate Air & Energy Update) and raises questions about the fate of the Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) Rule for power plants. The Michigan v. EPA Decision The Michigan opinion, authored by Justice Scalia on behalf of a five-Justice majority, concluded that EPA’s threshold decision—that regulation of HAPs emitted by fossil-fueled electric generating units (EGUs)... READ MORE
By Mona Tandon, Emily Pitlick, and Jamond Perry The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Division of Audits and Accounting (DAA), Office of Enforcement, completed audits of Colonial Pipeline Company (Colonial) and Enterprise Product Partners L.P. (Enterprise) on June 17, 2015.  The audits, which were initiated on February 6, 2014, took nearly a year and a half to complete.  Both audits focused on each of the pipeline’s compliance with FERC regulations for oil pipeline companies, with particular focus on their compliance with accounting and financial reporting regulations.  The reports are significant because they represent the first time FERC Staff has conducted a comprehensive review of interstate oil and products pipelines’ regulatory... READ MORE
The long-anticipated days of infrastructure need in the Northeast have arrived, presenting new challenges to power grid operators, market participants, and state and federal regulators and policy makers. The Northeast region is hotly debating what changes are needed to the wholesale power markets, the infrastructure and regulation, to assure the needs of the region are satisfied on terms that consumers can accept.   Come join in discussions with the head of Van Ness Feldman's electric practice, Doug Smith, who will review recent and planned developments in the energy infrastructure, markets, and law and regulation, at the 12th annual comprehensive conference on Energy in the Northeast.   This two-day conference again will be capped with... READ MORE
Join Jim Curry at Shale Insight 2015, where he will be a featured panelist speaking on challenges and opportunities for the development of natural gas liquids in the Appalachian Basin.  Marcellus Shale Coalition's Shale Insight conference is one of the largest conferences dealing with shale development in the country.   Attendees will network with the most influential industry executives and innovative thought leaders through two days of technical and public affairs insight sessions, major keynote addresses, and a dynamic exhibit hall featuring all the major shale players. For more information, please click here. READ MORE
Mona Tandon will be a featured panelist at the 2015 AOPL Annual Business Conference.  She will be discussing topics dealing with oil pipeline open seasons.  The AOPL Annual Business Conference is one of the best opportunities to get to know counterparts in the oil pipeline industry while learning and obtaining valuable CPE/CLE credits. For more information and to register, please click here. READ MORE
Keith Coyle, a member of Van Ness Feldman’s Pipeline Safety practice has been appointed to Pennsylvania’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force, by Governor Tom Wolf. Pennsylvania’s Pipeline Safety Infrastructure Task Force is comprised of 48 individual appointees from state agencies, federal and local government, the natural gas and pipeline industries, and environmental groups, who will recommend policies, guidelines, and best practices to aid the state of Pennsylvania with the growing amount pipeline infrastructure that the state anticipates to be built in coming years.  Firm Chair, Richard Agnew, said of Mr. Coyle’s appointment, “We are honored that Governor Wolf has chosen Keith for the Pennsylvania’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force.  Keith... READ MORE
For the fourth year in a row, The Legal 500 United States, 2015, recognized Van Ness Feldman as a national leader in Energy Regulatory law.  The firm is again one of only two, “Top Tier” Energy Regulatory law firms to be recognized in the US.       Highlighting the firm’s work in the electric, hydroelectric, and gas areas, the publication describes Van Ness Feldman as “creative and delivers better-reasoned and written product than most other firms in the market” and having “politically savvy and strategically astute lawyers.” The firm was also recognized among the top firms in the Environment: Transaction & Regulatory area for a fourth time, citing  the firm as being “experienced in GHG, ESA, CWA, NEPA and CAA issues and having a large climate... READ MORE
Ed Gehres, Coordinator of Van Ness Feldman’s Native Affairs practice, has been named to the Law360’s Native American Editorial Board for 2015.  Law 360 is circulated to over 400,000 recipients each day including lawyers, business leaders, and the entire U.S. federal judiciary. The purpose of the editorial advisory board is to provide feedback on Law360's coverage and to gain insight from experts in the field on how best to shape future coverage.  READ MORE