U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Proposes Update for Offshore Renewable Energy Regulations
On January 10, 2023, the Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) signed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) regarding an update to the regulations governing the development of offshore wind energy on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in an effort to modernize the existing regulations and facilitate development to meet the U.S. climate and renewable energy objectives. The existing regulations for leasing and managing OCS renewable energy activities were promulgated by the Minerals Management Service (BOEM’s predecessor) on April 29, 2009 (as authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the OCS Lands Act).
U.S. District Court Enjoins Biden Administration’s Nationwide Oil and Gas Leasing “Pause” Following Fifth Circuit’s Remand
On August 18, 2022, the federal district court for the Western District of Louisiana (the District Court) enjoined the nationwide pause of oil and gas leasing by the Biden administration (the Government). The District Court issued a permanent injunction just one day after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (the Fifth Circuit) vacated and remanded the District Court’s order by which the District Court had previously issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the pause.
Ninth Circuit Lifts Injunction in Response to Company’s Pleas to Meet Construction Deadlines
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently lifted a preliminary injunction in Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, et al. v. U.S. Dep’t of Interior. The plaintiffs had challenged construction of the Dixie Meadows Geothermal Utilization Project, which is expected to help Nevada achieve its renewable portfolio requirement and would include two geothermal plants, at least 18 geothermal wells, and approximately 50 miles of transmission lines over a 2,000-acre plot of public land. (more…)
U.S. Department of the Interior Releases Report on Federal Oil and Gas Leases
On November 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) issued a long-anticipated report on federal oil and gas leases. The report focuses on the fiscal terms, leasing process, and remediation requirements of federal oil and gas leases. Notably, however, it does not discuss the possibility of banning new leases. (more…)
Fifth Circuit Rejects Challenge to Texas LNG Project
On March 10, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected a challenge to an opinion by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) allowing a South Texas liquified natural gas (LNG) pipeline project to proceed. Sierra Club, et al. v. U.S. Department of Interior, et al. involved a proposed LNG pipeline that would pass through Cameron, Willacy, Kenedy, and Kleburg counties in south Texas. (more…)
U.S. Department of Interior Joins EPA in Revising Guidance Procedures
On October 26, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Interior (“DOI” or “The Department”) issued an interim final rule, which revises its guidelines for the development, review, and clearance of guidance documents. The Department’s rule follows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s promulgation of a similar rule last month. Both rules implement the October 2019 Executive Order on Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents directing Federal agencies to finalize regulations that set forth procedures for issuing guidance documents.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Framework for Endangered Species Act Critical Habitat Exclusion Analysis
On September 8, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a proposal under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) addressing how FWS will conduct discretionary analyses to determine whether to exclude land that otherwise would be constrained from use due to a critical habitat designation. (more…)