Justia Energy, Oil & Gas Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
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The Second Circuit granted a petition for review of the NHTSA's final rule, which reversed the agency's 2016 increase to the base rate of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) penalty. The court held that the CAFE penalty is a civil monetary penalty under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act. Consequently, NHTSA did not act in accordance with law when it reached the contrary conclusion in its 2019 Final Rule and reversed its initial catch-up inflation adjustment.The court also held that the NHTSA's reconsideration of the economic effects of its initial rule was untimely and therefore unauthorized. In this case, the Improvements Act provided a limited window of time for NHTSA to reduce the initial catch-up inflation adjustment to the CAFE penalty based on a conclusion that the increase would have a negative economic impact. However, by 2019, that window had closed and the agency acted in excess of its authority when it reconsidered and reversed its prior increase of the CAFE penalty based on an assessment of economic consequences. Accordingly, the court vacated the rule. View "New York v. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration" on Justia Law

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The Authority appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants, two vessels and their corporate owners, in an action brought under the federal Oil Pollution Act (OPA) and state law. The claims arose from the release of thousands of gallons of oil from a submarine power-transmission cable into Long Island Sound, which the Authority alleges was caused by the defendant vessels dropping anchor.The Second Circuit vacated the district court's order and held that the submarine cable is indeed "used for" one of the enumerated "purposes" in the OPA's definition of "facility." Consequently, the panel found that the cable system is used for at least one of the enumerated purposes in the statute. Therefore, the district court erred in dismissing the Authority's OPA claims and in concluding that the Authority's New York Oil Spill Law claims had to be brought in the parallel proceeding on that basis. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Power Authority of the State of New York v. M/V Ellen S. Bouchard" on Justia Law

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The alleged misconduct tied to the trading of crude oil extracted from Europe's North Sea constitutes an impermissibly extraterritorial application of the Commodity Exchange Act. Plaintiffs, individuals and entities who traded futures and derivatives contracts involving North Sea oil, appealed the district court's dismissal of their claims alleging that defendants, entities involved in various aspects of the production of Brent crude, conspired to manipulate, and did in fact manipulate, the market for physical Brent crude and Brent Futures by executing fraudulent bids, offers, and transactions in the underlying physical Brent crude market over the course of the Class Period.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' claims under the Act, holding that the presumption of extraterritoriality has not been displaced in this case, and plaintiffs have not pleaded a domestic application of the Act by merely alleging a winding chain of foreign, intervening events connected to the purchase of Brent Futures. The court also affirmed the district court's dismissal of all other defendants and all other claims in a separately filed summary order. View "Prime International Trading Ltd. v. BP PLC" on Justia Law

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A group of electrical generators and trade groups of electrical generators challenged the constitutionality of New York's Zero Emissions Credit (ZEC) program. The ZEC program subsidizes qualifying nuclear power plants with ZECs: state‐created and state‐issued credits certifying the zero‐emission attributes of electricity produced by a participating nuclear plant.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal and held that the ZEC program was not field preempted because plaintiffs failed to identify an impermissible "tether" under Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing, LLC, 136 S. Ct. 1288, 1293 (2016), between the ZEC program and wholesale market participation; the ZEC program was not conflict preempted because plaintiffs have failed to identify any clear damage to federal goals; and plaintiffs lacked Article III standing to raise a dormant Commerce Clause claim. View "Coalition for Competitive Electricity v. Zibelman" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit for damages resulting from defendants' manipulation of natural gas trading at four regional hubs in the western part of the United States. The Second Circuit held that plaintiffs had Article III standing, but they failed to plausibly allege injury under any of their claims. In this case, plaintiffs failed to state a claim under the Commodities Exchange Act (CEA) because it was not plausible on the record that they were injured by the manipulations West Desk perpetrated. For similar reasons, plaintiffs failed to establish antitrust standing. Accordingly, the court modified the order and judgment to remove the dismissal for lack of standing and affirmed the judgment as modified. View "Harry v. Total Gas & Power North America, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied the petition for review of FERC's two orders authorizing Millennium Pipeline to construct a natural gas pipeline in Orange County, New York. The court held that the Department waived its authority to review Millennium's request for a water quality certification under the Clean Water Act by failing to act on that request within one year. The court concluded that FERC did have jurisdiction over the pipeline where the Natural Gas Act provided that FERC had plenary authority over the transportation of natural gas in interstate commerce. View "New York State Department of Environmental Conservation v. FERC" on Justia Law

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Allco appealed the district court's dismissal of two related, but not formally consolidated, complaints that focus on Connecticut's implementation of Connecticut Public Acts 13-303 and 15-107. Allco argued that the state programs violate federal law and the dormant Commerce Clause, and that Connecticut's implementation of the programs has injured Allco. The Second Circuit affirmed and held that Allco failed to state a claim that Connecticut's renewable energy solicitations conducted pursuant Connecticut Public Acts 13-303 and 15-107 were preempted by federal law. The court also held that Allco failed to state a claim that Connecticut's Renewable Portfolio Standard program violates the dormant Commerce Clause. View "Allco Finance Ltd. v. Klee" on Justia Law

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The Water District appealed from the district court's judgment in a consolidated multidistrict litigation granting summary judgment to BP and Shell on the ground that the Water District's suit was barred by res judicata arising from 2002 and 2005 settlements. Claims against BP and Shell for MTBE contamination had been brought by the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) in 1999 and were settled in 2002 and 2005 respectively. The Second Circuit vacated and remanded the Water District's claims against BP and Shell, holding that the Water District and OCDA were not in privity. View "In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBA) Products Liability Litigation" on Justia Law