Monthly Archives: May 2020

State Climate Suits Really, Really, Belong in State Court When They Allege Misleading Statements To Investors

On Thursday, there was yet another opinion addressing whether state and local climate suits belong in state or federal court.  This time, Judge William Young issued an opinion explaining his March bench decision to remand Massachusetts’ case against ExxonMobil to state court. 

The Massachusetts case for remand was easier than in the cases seeking a remedy for climate change.  The Massachusetts case does not make nuisance claims or seek a substantive remedy for the impacts of climate change. … More

It’s Not Looking Good For Nationwide Permit 12

Yesterday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused the appellants’ request for a partial stay of the injunction recently issued against use of the Army Corps Nationwide Permit 12 for oil and gas pipeline projects.  The upshot is that use of Nationwide Permit 12 is prohibited for oil and gas pipelines until the Court of Appeals hears and decides the appeal.

The order contains more bad news for the Trump administration,… More

Sage Grouse Habitat Still Gets Priority in BLM Leasing Decisions

Last week, Chief Judge Brian Morris of the Federal District Court for the District of Montana vacated an “Instruction Memorandum” issued by BLM in 2018 – and also vacated numerous oil and gas leases issued in reliance on the 2018 IM.  The 2018 IM changed the way BLM interpreted land management plans issued by BLM in 2015 in order to preserve sage grouse habitat, and avoid the necessity for listing the sage grouse as endangered under the ESA.… More

Has President Trump Just Limited Enforcement To Willful Violations?

On Tuesday, President Trump issued an Executive Order on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery.  I’ll leave to others a discussion of the provisions telling agencies to look for more regulations to roll back.  I’m in general agreement with commenters who have said that those provisions don’t add much to Trump’s prior deregulatory efforts and are likely to face mostly the same reception in the courts as prior efforts.… More

More Evidence About Methane Emissions From Fracking

Earlier this month, I reported on a study showing that methane emissions from Permian Basin fracking operations were quite high.  Since that study acknowledged that there are reasons to think that methane emissions from the Permian Basin may be higher than from fracking elsewhere, it seemed worth noting that an EDF study published last week indicated that methane emissions from oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania (from both fracked wells and conventional wells) are 16 times greater than what has been reported to the Pennsylvania DEP. … More

It’s the Life Cycle Impacts, Stupid

It is generally understood that the shift from coal to gas has helped, at least in the short run, to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.  It is certainly true that combustion of natural gas releases less CO2 per unit of energy than combustion of coal.  Unfortunately, that’s not the entire answer.  A recent study published in Science Advances indicates that 3.7% of natural gas produced in the Permian Basin ends up in the atmosphere.… More