Protecting the Nation’s Energy Infrastructure: Cybersecurity

On May 7, 2021, Colonial Pipeline Company (“Colonial”) experienced a cybersecurity breach that led to the shut-down of its entire gasoline pipeline network for the first time in Colonial’s 57-year history. A Russian-linked cybercrime group known as DarkSide is thought to be the culprit behind the attack. Darkside allegedly accessed sensitive data on Colonial’s network using old employee login information purchased on the dark web, and then held this data for ransom until Colonial paid $4.4...
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RRC Proposed Rule to Address Critical Gas Supply After Winter Storm Uri

In response to the statewide power outages during Winter Storm Uri earlier this year, which left millions of Texans without power and heat during a record freeze, the Texas Legislature passed SB 3 and HB 3648 to address the failure of the state’s natural gas supply to the power grid. The laws direct the Texas Railroad Commission (“RRC”) and the Public Utility Commission of Texas (“PUC”)...
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CO Caselaw Update: Payout of Unused Vacation

Under the Colorado Wage Claim Act (“CWCA”), private sector employees are entitled to timely payment of wages that are “earned, vested, determinable, and unpaid at the time of discharge.” The CWCA’s definition of “wages” includes vacation pay which is earned in accordance with terms of an employment agreement. Lower state courts have disagreed as to whether the CWCA requires employers to compensate an employee for his or her earned—but unused—vacation pay upon separation, even when an...
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Caselaw Update: Liability of Former Operators under Surface Use Agreements in Wyoming

Recent caselaw and the application of Wyoming’s Split Estate Act has significantly increased risk for operators in Wyoming, who may be held liable for the conduct of their assignees (and their assignees) if such conduct breaches a surface use and damages agreement.     In 2015 and 2016, the Wyoming Supreme Court issued rulings in what have come to be known as the Pennaco Cases (Pennaco Energy, Inc. v. KD Co. Ltd. Liab. Co.and Pennaco Energy, Inc. v....
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Caselaw Update: Exercise of Eminent Domain under the Natural Gas Act

Since the early 1800s, natural gas has been an integral part of the nation’s energy supply.  Roughly one hundred years later, a cross-country natural gas pipeline network began to take shape and expand.  In 1938, in response to the booming pipeline infrastructure, Congress passed the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”) to regulate the transportation and sale of natural gas.   The NGA requires natural gas companies to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity before constructing an...
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Covid-19 Policy Update: Employer Vaccination Mandates

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and recent surge in infections and hospitalizations cases caused by the virus’ Delta variant, many employers have considered vaccine mandates to mitigate the severity of business interruption and promote workplace safety. The federal government has required its employees and those in federally regulated sectors (such as the military) to receive the Covid-19 vaccination. Many state and local governments...
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Covid-19 Policy Update: CDC Eviction Moratorium

On September 4, 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued an order barring residential evictions to prevent further spread of the virus. The CDC reasoned that the eviction moratorium would facilitate the self-isolation of ill or at-risk individuals, assist with the implementation of state and local ‘stay-home’ orders and social distancing mandates,...
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Federal Litigation Update: Executive Order 14008 

  On June 15, 2021, the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted a nationwide preliminary injunction in favor of Louisiana and twelve other states which halted enforcement of the Biden administration’s prohibition on oil and gas leases on public lands and water memorialized in Section 208 of Executive Order 14008 (“E.O. 14008”). The court does not normally favor nationwide injunctions but found necessity in the interest of uniformity—government lease sales affect public lands and offshore waters countrywide.  ...
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Legislative Update: Texas SB 45 & HB 21

Texas SB 45 & HB 21 were signed into law in May and June this year by Governor Abbott, each effective September 1, 2021. This legislation broadly redefines sexual harassment in the workplace by expanding employee protection, broadening employer liability and extending filing deadlines. The legislation is a significant shift from previous laws governing sexual harassment claims, and employers should be sure to familiarize themselves with the new laws and enact...
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