Justia Energy, Oil & Gas Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Connecticut Supreme Court
Direct Energy Services, LLC v. Public Utilities Regulatory Authority
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) establishing a regulatory framework for a certain renewable energy product, holding that the trial court correctly correctly determined that the reactions did not violate the dormant commerce clause.In 2020, PURA imposed a series of restrictions on retail electric suppliers offering Connecticut customers voluntary products, known as voluntary renewable offers (VROs), consisting of renewable energy credits (REC) bundled with electric supply. One of the restrictions at issue, the geographic restriction, prohibited VROs from containing RECs sourced outside of particular geographic regions. The other restriction, the marketing restriction, required suppliers to provide clear language informing consumers that a VRO backed by RECs is an energy product backed by RECs rather than a renewable energy itself. Plaintiffs argued that both restrictions violated the dormant commerce clause. The trial court rejected Plaintiffs' commerce clause arguments as to each restriction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no error. View "Direct Energy Services, LLC v. Public Utilities Regulatory Authority" on Justia Law
Burton v. Department of Environmental Protection
In this action brought under the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act of 1971 (CEPA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 22a-14 et seq., seeking an injunction requiring a nuclear power plant in Waterford to convert to a closed-cycle cooling system, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the trial court in favor of Defendants, holding that there was no error.Plaintiff sued the Commissioner of Environmental Protection and the owner and operator of the power plant, claiming that a previous permit approval proceeding was inadequate to protect the rights recognized by CEPA and that the current operation of the power plant would result in unreasonable pollution. The trial court granted Defendants' motions to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff could not prevail on her claim that the administrative proceeding was inadequate; and (2) this Court declined to review Plaintiff's claim that she established that unreasonable pollution would result from the power plant's operation as permitted. View "Burton v. Department of Environmental Protection" on Justia Law
Burton v. Commissioner of Environmental Protection
Plaintiff filed a complaint against the Commissioner of Environmental Protection (Commissioner) and Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc. (Dominion) alleging that the operation of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station owned and operated by Dominion was causing unreasonable pollution of the state’s waters in violation of the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act of 1971. The trial court dismissed the complaint on the ground that Plaintiff lacked standing. The Supreme Court reversed, concluding that Plaintiff had standing to bring her action under Conn. Gen. Stat. 22a-16. The Court ordered the trial court to conduct a hearing to determine whether the pending administrative permit renewal proceeding for the nuclear power station’s operation was inadequate to protect the rights recognized by the Act. The administrative proceeding then terminated when the Commissioner issued a renewal permit for Millstone. The trial court granted Defendants’ motions to dismiss, concluding that Plaintiff’s action was moot. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiff’s claims were not moot because a determination that the renewal proceeding was inadequate to protect the rights recognized under the Act could result in the invalidation of the permit under which Millstone is currently operating. View "Burton v. Commissioner of Environmental Protection" on Justia Law
Burton v. Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc.
Pro se Plaintiff-Appellant Burton sought an injunction against Defendant-Appellee Dominion Nuclear to halt operation of a power plant, claiming that the plant would cause unreasonable radioactive pollution to Long Island Sound and to an estuary located near her property. Plaintiff also filed an ex parte application for a temporary restraining order to stop Defendant from using a stretch power uprate increase unless Defendant could do so without an increase of radioactive discharge. The Court affirmed the lower court's decision to dismiss Plaintiff's case on grounds that she lacked standing under state environmental protection laws, common law nuisance principles, and federal preemption. Holding that Plaintiff's ex parte application "does not contain allegations of substantive violations giving rise to unreasonable pollutionâ¦ in excess of that permitted under the regulatory scheme," the Court upheld the lower courts's decision to dismiss this claim for lack of standing.