In 2010, The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) issued a prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) construction permit to Sunflower Electric Power Corporation that authorized Sunflower to build a coal-fired electric generating unit at a site where Sunflower already operates a coal-fired station. In Sierra Club I, the Supreme Court held that KDHE had failed to comply with the federal Clean Air Act and remanded the permit to KDHE. On remand, KDHE issued an addendum to the 2010 permit. Sierra Club sought judicial review of that action, arguing, inter alia, that KDHE was required to conduct an entirely new permitting process rather than simply crafting an addendum to the 2010 permit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) KDHE did not err in adding an addendum to the 2010 permit; and (2) Sierra Club failed to establish any other basis for invalidating Sunflower’s PSD permit. View "Sierra Club v. Mosier" on Justia Law
The Board of County Commissioners of Wabaunsee County amended its zoning regulations to permit small wind energy conversion systems. The regulations, however, prohibited the placement of commercial wind energy conversion systems in the county. Plaintiffs and Intervenors, landowners and owners of wind rights in the county, sued the Board, seeking a judicial declaration that the Board's action be null and void. The district court granted the Board's various dispositive motions. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding, inter alia, that (1) the district court did not err by disposing of a Takings Clause claim as a matter of law, and because there was no taking, the court did not err in also disposing of Intervenors' related takings-based claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and their claim for inverse condemnation; (2) the district court did not err in dismissing a Commerce Clause claim as a matter of law, but a claim alleging the Board's decision placed incidental burdens on interstate commerce that outweighed the benefits was remanded for analysis under Pike v. Bruce Church; and (3) because Intervenors also made a burden-based claim under the Commerce Clause in their 42 U.S.C. 1983 contention, that specific claim was also remanded. View "Zimmerman v. Bd. of County Comm'rs" on Justia Law
Posted in: Constitutional Law, Energy, Oil & Gas Law, Kansas Supreme Court, Zoning, Planning & Land Use
Pursuant to an oil and gas lease with Appellee Trees Oil Company (Trees), Appellant Arthur Hockett had a 1/8-royalty interest in the production from a Haskell County well that produced natural gas. Trees operated the well, and sold the gas produced to âfirst purchasers.â Before paying Trees for production, the first purchasers deduct taxes and fees imposed by the state. Trees then pays Appellant 1/8 of the net sales proceeds. In 2009, Appellant filed a complaint against Trees, seeking recovery of the amount in tax deducted from the sales proceeds from the first purchasers. Trees moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that it could not be held liable for complying with state law by paying the sales taxes. The district court held that the taxes and fees were to be imposed on all owners in the venture, including royalty owners. Appellant appealed. The Supreme Court found that state law does not require royalty owners pay the oil and gas taxes and fees if they do not operate the well. The fees withheld by the first purchaser are an expense attributable to the oil company as the well operator. In computing Appellantâs royalties, Trees was not permitted to deduct the amount of its fees expenses from the gross sale price under contract with the first purchaser. Accordingly, the Court held that the district court erred in ruling in favor of Trees. The Court remanded the remanded the case for further proceedings.