The Seattle City Council recently evaluated two highly publicized developments, Amazon’s planned Denny Triangle development and the Arena Group’s Seattle SoDo Arena proposal; both of which involved a request for a “street vacation”.[1] Despite the high-profile nature of these proposed developments and extended media coverage on the issues facing the Council, little is understood about what a street vacation is or how the process works. To understand why Amazon’s request for a street vacation was successful and the Arena Group’s proposal was not, it is important to first understand that the public’s right to use alleys, streets and roads for access and travel (generally referred to as the “public right-of-way”), exists even where the property... READ MORE
On July 14, 2016, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) unveiled a new policy governing supplemental financial assurance for oil and gas infrastructure on the Outer Continental Shelf (“OCS”).  The new policy, issued as Notice to Lessees 2016-N01 (“NTL 2016-N01”), will fundamentally change the way that BOEM calculates financial strength and reliability of OCS lessees and operators and will require individual lessees and operators to allocate far more capital than previously required to cover future potential decommissioning obligations.  NTL 2016-N01 rescinds and supersedes BOEM’s prior supplemental bonding policy—NTL 2008-N07—and becomes effective September 12, 2016. Once NTL 2016-N01 goes into effect, the new policy has the potential to... READ MORE
This alert was first published on Law360.com.  Reposted with permission. A single sheet of paper issued recently by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Dollar General v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians gave rise to a collective sigh of relief among federally recognized Native American tribes. The court’s 4-4 tie affirmed the ruling in favor of tribal courts by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The tie vote ended months of speculation. If tribes and their allies wish to avoid a similar challenge in the future, the result in this case should set off a flurry of advocacy and institution building to protect tribal court powers. Many modern Native American nations boast sophisticated governments, court systems... READ MORE
By showcasing the latest developments and operational experience with pollution controls from fossil-fired power plants in light of the evolving environmental regulatory directions, the eleventh MEGA Symposium will update seasoned professionals and provide an excellent learning experience for early career engineers. Van Ness Feldman's Shannon Angielski will be presenting on, "The Role for Coal Research in Today's and Tomorrow's Electric Generation Environment." Click here for more information. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman's Richard Agnew and Chuck Sensiba are participating in panel discussions at this year's Western Water Seminar. Click here for more information. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman's Malcolm McLellan will be providing a national update on North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) standards and enforcement trends in a section entitled, "The RPS and Reliability." Click here for more information. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman is pleased to announce the addition of Bryn S. Karaus as an Associate in the firm’s Pipeline Safety practice.  Ms. Karaus joins the firm after having worked at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for the past six years.   As a member of the firm’s Pipeline Safety practice, Ms. Karaus will focus on the regulation of pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities and the transportation of hazardous materials, and will assist clients on a full range of compliance, policy, and enforcement matters. In announcing Ms. Karaus’s arrival to the firm, Susan Olenchuk, Partner and Practice Coordinator of Van Ness Feldman’s Pipeline and LNG Practice and Pipeline Safety Practice... READ MORE
It is with great pride that we introduce this year's summer class: Sophia Amberson Sophia just completed her second year at the University of Washington School of Law where she is an Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Washington Law Review, President of the Environmental Law Society, Vice President of the Native American Law Student Association, and an executive board member of the Moot Court Honor Board.  Prior to law school, Sophia received both her M.M.A and B.A. in Marine and Environmental Affairs & Policy from the University of Washington and the University of Miami respectively.  Last summer, Sophia interned in the D.C. office of the U.S. Coast Guard, where she worked with the Office of International and Maritime Law on environmental law... READ MORE
DOE Issues HydroVision Report On July 26, 2016, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) issued a comprehensive report entitled “Hydropower Vision: A New Chapter for America’s 1st Renewable Electricity Source.”  The report analyzes the future of hydropower in the United States with a focus on continued technological innovation, increased energy market value, and environmental sustainability.  The report, the product of a collaboration of 300 experts from over 150 organizations and agencies, has four principal objectives: 1) characterizing the current state of domestic hydropower; 2) identifying ways for hydropower to sustain and expand capacity; 3) examining critical environmental and social factors to... READ MORE
FERC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Supply Chain Risk Management - July 21 – In a final rule, FERC directed NERC to develop a new Reliability Standard that addresses supply chain risk management for industrial control system hardware, software, and computing and networking services associated with bulk electric system operations.  The new Reliability Standard will address software integrity and authenticity, vendor remote access, information system planning, and vendor risk management and procurement controls.  The rule will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Standards for Business Practices - July 21 - FERC proposes to incorporate the latest version of certain Standards for... READ MORE
President Obama Signs the PIPES Act of 2016 On June 22, the President signed the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016 reauthorizing funding for federal pipeline safety programs through fiscal year 2019.  Provisions of note include authorizing the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to issue industry-wide emergency orders to address “imminent hazards” and requiring that PHMSA issue minimum safety standards for underground natural gas storage.  PHMSA also is required to publically post updates every 90 days on the status of statutorily required final rules that have not been published, study and report to Congress on measures to improve damage prevention, and report to Congress... READ MORE