Category Archives: Land Use

FERC Proposes to Implement Expanded Transmission Siting Authority

On December 15, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in which the Commission proposes to implement its newly clarified authority under the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”) to issue permits if a state denies an applicant’s request to site transmission facilities in a designated National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor (“National Corridor”).

Such change has potential—in certain cases—to tilt the balance of transmission permitting authority toward FERC and away from the states (where such authority traditionally has been held),… More

Some “Big Lifts” For Boston to Achieve Its Climate Goals

Earlier this Month, The Boston Foundation released its “Inaugural Boston Climate Progress Report.”  Suffice it to say, there’s a lot to do.  The Report identifies four “Big Lifts” necessary to attaining our climate goals.  It defines a Big Lift as:

a multidecade mega-project that seeks to improve the city to align with its climate and equity goals.

The four Big Lifts are:

  • Retrofitting the small building stock
  • Local energy planning for an electrified city
  • Building a resilient coastline through improved governance
  • Prioritizing reparative planning for Boston’s frontline neighborhoods

All of these are important and each is worth its own post. … More

Coming soon to Massachusetts cities and towns: all electric buildings

As we’ve discussed before, multiple cities and towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have tried to ban fossil fuel hookups for new buildings by zoning or other ordinance over the past few years.  But in July 2020, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Municipal Law Unit struck down the first such ban that came across its desk as inconsistent with other state law.  As we noted then, in order for municipalities to restrict or ban fossil fuel connections,… More

Local Regulation of Fossil Fuel Pipelines (or The Little City That Could)

With all the attention focused on the Keystone pipeline and the disputes over local regulation of fracking, it’s easy to overlook the small city of South Portland, Maine (population 26,000), which just prevailed in the First Circuit in a challenge to its regulation of an international oil pipeline that originates in Montreal and ends in South Portland Harbor.  (Full disclosure: I represented the city in this case.)

When Portland Pipeline Corporation (“PPLC”)(whose parent company was owned at the time at the time by ExxonMobil,… More