Category Archives: Land Use

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