Energy-Related Provisions in the Final Tax Bill

On December 20, 2017, the United States Congress passed legislation known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the Tax Act), the first comprehensive reform of the U.S. tax code since 1986. The legislation is expected to be signed by President Trump and enacted into law. The changes will be effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, unless otherwise noted below.

The following summary analyzes certain aspects of the Tax Act likely to affect the energy industry, particularly publicly traded partnerships or master limited partnerships (MLPs).

For a complete list of Sidley resources summarizing the major changes to the U.S. tax code generally and with respect to particular industries and subject matters, as well as links to register for upcoming Sidley webinars on tax reform, please click here to access our Tax Reform Developments and Insights webpage.

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Energy Enforcement Update

This week’s enforcement update covers:

  • BP files motion seeking dismissal of FERC case based on statute of limitations;
  • Eversource sends cease & desist letter regarding alleged gas pipeline capacity withholding report;
  • Secretary Perry grants extension for FERC action on DOE grid resiliency proposal;
  • Kevin McIntyre sworn in as Chairman and Richard Glick sworn in as Commissioner at FERC;
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee holds hearing on financial trading in electricity markets; and
  • CFTC releases annual enforcement results for Fiscal Year 2017.

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Sidley Environmental Trends

Topics discussed this week include:

  • EPA issues important New Source Review guidance.
  • EPA announces decision not to issue final regulations for hardrock mining.
  • EPA reaches Clean Air Act settlement with outdoor products manufacturer.
  • Commission issues rules that would ban hydraulic fracturing within Delaware River Basin.
  • Federal court upholds lower court ruling that North Dakota lacks standing to intervene to challenge EPA settlement.
  • California Supreme Court decides that groundwater charges are neither taxes nor tied to property ownership.

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Sidley Environmental Trends

Topics discussed this week include:

  • EPA and Corps propose to delay Waters of the United States effective date.
  • BLM opposes petition for panel rehearing in hydraulic fracturing appeal.
  • D.C. Circuit weighs coal ash rule challenges and EPA effort to remand.
  • Third Circuit hears argument on Delaware River Basin Commissions hydraulic fracturing moratorium.
  • Environmental groups petition FERC for rehearing on Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
  • EC reauthorizes glyphosate as study finds no cancer link.
  • DOJ, EPA enforcement officials speak on environmental enforcement.
  • EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation confirmed.

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Ninth Circuit Permits Interest-Group Enforcement of RCRA After EPA Exercises Non-Enforcement Discretion on Stormwater

*This article originally appeared on the WLF Legal Pulse at wlflegalpulse.com on November 22, 2017.

Can an environmental organization file suit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s (“RCRA”) citizen-suit provision claiming harm from stormwater runoff which could be, but was not, subject to limits under a Clean Water Act (“CWA”) permit? In a November 2, 2017 decision, Ecological Rights Foundation v. Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that it could. The ruling, which also rejected the defendant’s arguments opposing Article III standing, is a portentous development at a time when environmental groups are actively seeking out litigation opportunities to enforce federal regulations.

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Energy Enforcement Update

Our latest enforcement update covers:

  • FERC releases 2017 Report on Enforcement showing continued focus on fraud and market manipulation;
  • CFTC settles with Statoil ASA for attempted manipulation of Argus Far East Index propane benchmark – “damning” messages again cause trouble;
  • Judge issues case management order and sets trial date in CFTC case against Kraft;
  • FERC approves settlement in Barclays case;
  • CFTC orders Cargill, Inc. to pay a $10 million civil penalty for providing inaccurate mid-market marks on swaps;
  • Senate confirms McIntyre and Glick to FERC, but still not sworn in at FERC; and
  • CFTC orders Morgan Stanley and Co. Incorporated to pay $350,000 penalty for Part 17 Large Trader reporting violations.

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Sidley Environmental Trends

Topics discussed this week include:

  • Two lawsuits allege that state and federal officials violated youth plaintiffs’ constitutional rights by failing to sufficiently fight climate change.
  • EPA issues directive on advisory committees.
  • EPA issues final attainment area designations for ozone NAAQS for most areas of the United States.
  • EPA issues NODAs regarding 2016 NSPS for oil and gas industry.
  • Senate confirms nominee for EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation.
  • Ninth Circuit limits reach of RCRA’s antiduplication provision.

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