Cozen O’Connor: Utility, Environmental & Energy

Utility, Environmental & Energy

Featured Publication:

Public Utility Commission Rate Making: Municipal Solicitors can Help to Navigate the Complex Process [The Township Solicitor]

Jonathan Nase discusses why it is important for municipal solicitors to understand the Public Utility Commission (PUC) rate making process.

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Cozen O’Connor’s Utility, Environmental & Energy practice guides clients through complex regulatory approvals by state public utility commissions and departments of environmental protection, as well as represents clients in UEE-related transactions, litigation, enforcement actions, and federal regulatory proceedings. We represent public utilities, infrastructure investment funds, power producers, competitive retail suppliers, municipalities and municipal authorities, large institutional and manufacturing consumers, technology companies, and corporate clients. Cozen O’Connor attorneys have decades of relevant legal experience, both in private practice and as state and federal regulatory agency counsel.

Utility

State-Regulated Public Utilities

Cozen O’Connor has a premier state-based utility regulatory practice. Led by former counsel to the chair of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, our attorneys have the requisite knowledge and relationships to help utility clients achieve success. Our clients include water and wastewater, electric, natural gas, steam and chilled water, transportation, and telecommunications service providers. We represent clients before state public utility commissions in a range of matters: base rate, acquisition, certificate of public convenience, fair market valuation, gas and steam cost, distribution system improvement charge, electric and natural gas supplier licensing, formal complaints and investigations, securities registration, management audits, affiliated interest, land use and zoning preemption, transmission line siting, rail-highway crossing, rulemaking, policy-making, and tariff proceedings.

Water, Wastewater & Stormwater

The water, wastewater, and stormwater utility sectors, including investor-owned utilities as well as municipal and authority-owned systems, face unique regulatory and commercial challenges that require counsel with a deep understanding of the law, infrastructure, and operations. Cozen O’Connor’s national water, wastewater, and stormwater practice, which includes the former general counsel of water utilities located in six states and of a national water and wastewater management services company, handles clients’ most critical transactions and litigation. We guide the sale and long-term lease of water,  wastewater, and stormwater systems; negotiate management services contracts; site controversial facilities; assist development of filtration plants, pump stations, and water towers; negotiate power purchase agreements; provide guidance on public/private partnerships; handle litigation involving water allocation permits; guide providers on lead contamination issues; and resolve water, wastewater, and stormwater-related enforcement actions and litigation.

Transportation

Cozen O’Connor represents common carriers of passengers and property (such as taxi cab, transportation network, household goods moving, shipping, trucking, and autonomous vehicle companies), as well as transportation logistics companies, in state and federal regulatory matters and disputes. We assist clients with market entry, base rate requests, and certificate of public convenience applications; help navigate complex compliance and enforcement issues; and provide commercial contract review and drafting services. 

Customer Complaint Defense

Cozen O’Connor recognizes that a significant challenge for state-regulated public utilities is the effective management of customer complaint cases. The disputes often involve a small dollar amount or a minor service issue; yet, discovery and a full-blown evidentiary hearing is required by the state public utility commission. Using alternative fee arrangements and junior attorneys/staff supervised by experienced utility lawyers, our firm is able to manage customer complaint cases in an efficient and economical manner while keeping a keen-eyed view of broader policy issues that may be implicated by a case.

Environmental

Environmental Enforcement & Litigation 

A renowned trial firm, Cozen O’Connor represents clients in environmental litigation and enforcement matters. We litigate permit appeals, agency enforcement actions, administrative rule challenges, toxic torts, pollution and contamination, and a host of other environmental claims. Our attorneys respond to government inquiries, conduct internal investigations or audits, and regularly appear before state and federal administrative boards and trial courts. Cozen O’Connor pursues negotiated resolutions whenever possible, but is fully prepared to go to court when necessary.

Environmental Regulatory & Due Diligence

Our team is led by former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforcement attorneys and is deeply knowledgeable about federal environmental statutes, regulations, and state-level equivalents, including the Clean Air and Clean Water acts (CAA & CWA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA), Resources Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA), Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA), and other federal and state environmental laws and regulations. We assist clients with air and water permitting; provide environmental, health, and safety auditing support and protocol design; and conduct due diligence, environmental liability allocation, and environmental insurance review on major transactions.

Site Remediation

Helping clients manage ownership and reclamation of contaminated properties, including brownfields, is a core part of our environmental practice. We assist with purchase, sale, remediation, and development of impaired sites, and defend against any related claims. Cozen O’Connor provides regulatory and litigation counsel with respect to CERCLA, RCRA, Natural Resource Damages claims, state brownfields laws and industrial site remediation acts, and other statutes. Our attorneys understand both the scientific, regulatory, and financial imperatives that drive decision making about site remediation. We counsel developers of some of the largest brownfields projects in the Northeast U.S, including sites totaling hundreds of acres.

Energy (Non-Utility)

Oil & Gas

The firm provides corporate, regulatory, and litigation services to upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas clients. We help exploration and production (E&P) companies, oil field service companies, vendors, suppliers, gathering and pipeline companies, refineries and investors complete transactions, pursue land and access rights, negotiate operational agreements, file comments to rulemakings, and achieve environmental and other regulatory compliance. Our team also represents clients in diverse litigation and enforcement actions before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. We have notable experience working with companies developing the Marcellus and Utica shales, having won precedent-setting cases on behalf of our clients regarding oil and gas royalties, post-production costs, surface use, and lease expiration issues. Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, the firm’s government affairs affiliate, also assists with achieving the regulatory and legislative goals of our E&P, pipeline, and downstream clients.

Combined Heat & Power

Cozen O’Connor is an industry leader in combined heat and power (CHP) projects, an increasingly viable option for large energy users to reduce costs, become energy resilient and generate revenue. The firm has led CHP projects for universities, health systems, data centers, industrial firms, and hotel/resort/casino complexes. We handle: every phase of project development, including due diligence, energy sales and design, build, operating agreements; financeable land leases; regulatory advice; land use and environmental permitting; tax exempt and taxable finance; public/private partnership transactions; land and easement acquisition; incentive programs; and tax planning. Cozen O’Connor also has strong relationships with developers and consultants in the field, enabling the firm to deliver turnkey projects to its clients. Our affiliate, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, has experience deftly addressing public concerns and ushering projects through review and appeal. 

Renewable Energy

Cozen O’Connor’s fully integrated energy and environmental practice is optimally designed for the renewable energy space. Our attorneys have deep experience with solar, wind energy, hydro-electric, and biofuels, and we regularly represent utility companies, renewable energy developers, manufacturers, investors, lenders, and energy consumers. Cozen O’Connor leads renewable energy projects from start to finish, managing negotiation of sophisticated commercial contracts, pursuit of government incentives, regulatory filings and compliance, federal and state agency outreach, and all aspects of renewable project financing, tax strategy, real estate, land use, and zoning.

 

Experience

Publications

EPA Issues New CERCLA Guidance on Liability Protections for Current/Potential Impacted Site Owners [Alert]

September 09, 2019

If you’re back to work navigating the complexities of cleaning up a brownfields site, you’re in luck. The EPA issued an update to “Enforcement Discretion Guidance” for enforcement personnel as it relates to liability protections under the 2002 Brownfields Amendments to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA).

States Ratcheting Down on PFAS Compounds, Moving Ahead of Federal Government [Alert]

July 31, 2019

Marcia Mulkey and Peter J. Fontaine discuss New Hampshire's drinking water maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOS and PFOA, which will go into effect October 1, 2019.

When local government and the PUC Intersect: Understanding the Impact of the Commission’s Regulatory Authority [PA Township News]

June 11, 2019

Jonathan Nase co-authored an article explaining the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s (PUC) powers, rules, and regulations that may apply to municipalities.

PFAS and Public Water Supply in Pennsylvania: Challenges & Opportunities [Alert]

May 20, 2019

Peter Fontaine, Michael Klein, and Marcia Mulkey discuss the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's tracking approximately 19 sites with known contamination with PFOA and PFOS and its PFAS sampling plan, targeting 300 public water supplies with elevated potential for contamination and testing for six PFAS compounds

Baltimore Ballot Question: A Wave or a Ripple? [The Authority]

April 18, 2019

Michael Klein authored an article on a ballot question in Baltimore that would determine if the city’s water and sewer systems could be sold, leased, or privatized.

Public Utility Commission Rate Making: Municipal Solicitors can Help to Navigate the Complex Process [The Township Solicitor]

April 12, 2019

Jonathan Nase discusses why it is important for municipal solicitors to understand the Public Utility Commission (PUC) rate making process.

The Criminalization of Violations of the PA Safe Drinking Water Act [The Water News Source]

March 29, 2019

Michael Klein discusses the civil and criminal charges water companies could face if found in violation of the Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act.

D.C. Circuit Upholds Strict One-Year Deadline for State Waivers of Water Quality Certifications [Alert]

January 30, 2019

Amorie Hummel discusses the decision in Hoopa Valley Tribe v. FERC and why those with Section 401 permits lingering should consider whether the agency’s review has been waived or whether a discussion with the state agency regarding the one-year timeline may be beneficial for the project.

Democrat-Controlled PA PUC Touts Trump Tax Savings to Ratepayers, Denies Infrastructure Reinvestment [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

May 18, 2018

David P. Zambito and Jonathan Nase discuss the choice to order 17 Pennsylvania utilities to return more than $320 million to ratepayers.

Duquesne Light Proposes 220 Percent Rate Increase for Backup Service Days Before PA PUC Acts to Promote CHP [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

April 09, 2018

David Zambito and Jonathan Nase discuss Duquesne’s proposed rate increase, which is scheduled to take effect May 29, 2018, and how the PUC proceedings will be one of many cases in which the commission may attempt to implement the new statement of policy to promote CHP.

Pa. PUC Converts Commission-Approved Rates into Temporary Rates in Wake of Tax Act [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

March 19, 2018

Jonathan Nase discusses the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission' temporary rates order that converted commission-approved rates of most large Pennsylvania public utilities into “temporary rates” for a period of six months in response to the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Federal Tax Reform: Major Changes Impacting Public Utilities [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

January 10, 2018

David Zambito, Ira Megdal, Rich Silpe, and Rory Moore discuss the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the changes to the taxation of business enterprises that have significant implications for public utilities.

PA PUC Requests Input on Proposal Regarding Fully Projected Future Test Years in Rate Cases [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

January 03, 2018

Jonathan Nase and David Zambito discuss proposed changes to 52 Pa. Code § 53.53, including the addition of Exhibit E.

Sex and Water Do Not Mix [PAAWWA]

January 01, 2018

Michael Klein, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Utility, Environmental & Energy Practice Group, discusses the rise of sexual harassment awareness in every sector of society, including the water industry, in Pennsylvania American Water Works Association's magazine, The Water News Source.

PA Legislation Transfers “One Call” Enforcement Responsibilities to PUC [Utility, Environment & Energy Alert]

November 06, 2017

Jonathan P. Nase and George A. Bibikos discuss the transfer of authority from Labor and Industry to the PUC and the significant penalties authorized by the act, as well as steps facility owners or excavators that have obligations under the act should take to understand the amendments.

PA PUC Approves PA-American Water’s Fair Market Value Acquisition of McKeesport Wastewater System [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

October 30, 2017

David P. Zambito and Jonathan P. Nase discuss Pennsylvania-American Water Company’s acquisition of the wastewater system owned by the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport.

7 Ways the Trump Administration Will Affect Businesses

November 18, 2016

This analysis provides insight into some of the most pertinent business issues President-elect Trump will likely address during his term, and what the election could mean for your industry and your business.

Failure to Report Uplift Payments, Capacity Sales, Corrective Action Taken Highlight FERC EQR Audit [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

October 25, 2016

Robert Fallon and Mark Lazaroff discuss FERC's recent audit of a company participating in numerous wholesale power markets and highlight errors that can occur with electronic quarterly reports, as well as the actions suggested by FERC and taken by the company to prevent such errors in the future.

FERC NOPR Seeks Connected Entity Data from Virtual Traders and Financial Transmission Rights Holders [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

August 25, 2016

Robert Fallon discusses FERC’s second attempt to gather information on the entities connected to market participants — so-called Connected Entity information.

EPA, Pa. DEP Take Aim at Oil and Gas Industry Methane Emissions [The Legal Intelligencer]

July 25, 2016

George Bibikos and Mark Lazaroff discuss new EPA and PA Department of Environmental Protection regulations intended to reduce emissions in the energy industry.

Pennsylvania’s New Law for Valuing Acquired Municipal/Authority Water and Wastewater Systems [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

May 04, 2016

Michael Klein, David Zambito and Troy Sellars discuss Act 12 that revises Chapter 13 of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Code to provide a framework for valuing, for ratemaking purposes, water and wastewater systems that are owned by a municipal corporation or authority and that are to be acquired by another entity that is or will be regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission as a public utility.

CFTC Proposed Guidance on Gas and Capacity Contracts and Swaps Further Reduces Dodd-Frank Burdens on End-Users [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

April 19, 2016

Robert Fallon discusses the CFTC issued proposed guidance that two products – common in competitive wholesale electric and natural gas markets – would not be considered swaps under the Dodd-Frank Act.

CFTC Further Reduces Regulatory Burdens Associated with Commodity Options [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

March 24, 2016

Robert Fallon and Mark Lazaroff discuss the CFTC's final rule that took effect on March 21, 2016. The final rule expands CFTC’s “trade option exemption” and ensures that commodity options will not be subject to the full panoply of regulatory requirements associated with swaps under Dodd-Frank.

Supreme Court Rules that FERC Wholesale Markets Can Compensate Demand Response Providers [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert}

February 04, 2016

Robert Fallon and Mark Lazaroff discuss the Supreme Court's decision in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Association, et al., upholding FERC Order No. 745 which allows demand response providers to participate in wholesale energy markets.

Commonwealth Court Approves PA PUC’s Implementation of Distribution System Improvement Charge

November 11, 2015

The court upheld a DSIC calculation methodology approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission that excludes an adjustment to the surcharge for ADIT and allows the utility to account for the full amount of state income taxes, without anticipated deductions, associated with DSIC revenues.

Commonwealth Court Upholds the Right of an Authority to Bill and Collect for Services Previously Unbilled Due to Inaccurate Information [American Water Works Association]

October 15, 2015

Michael Klein discusses the Commonwealth Court’s recent decision in Valley Forge Sewer Authority v. Hipwell et all. involving a municipal authority’s efforts to collect rates for several years of services that had been rendered, but not previously billed by the authority due to inaccurate information.

PUC Establishes Gifts and Favors Ban [Energy, Environment & Utilities Alert]

May 29, 2015

The ban generally prohibits PUC employees and their families from accepting any gifts or favors that would influence the manner in which the employees perform their work, make their decisions, or otherwise perform their duties.

Supreme Court Opens Door to Increased Role for State Courts and State Regulators in the Energy Sector

April 21, 2015

The Supreme Court today allowed the states a greater role in regulating the energy sector.

Texas PUC to Submit Proposed Rules for Adoption [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

January 29, 2015

In September 2014, responsibility for regulation of water and wastewater utilities was transferred from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to the Public Utility Commission (PUC). The transfer allows TCEQ to focus on its core environmental mission while taking advantage of PUC’s historic ratemaking expertise. The PUC originally regulated water and sewer rates, and the agency historically has regulated rates and services of electric and telecommunications companies in areas where competition was weak or nonexistent. According to Darryl Tietjen, director of Rate Regulation for the PUC, one of the basic objectives of the move is to make water regulation more consistent with the way electric utilities are regulated.

Pennsylvania Extends Life and Applicability of Chapter 14 of the Public Utility Code [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

November 18, 2014

On October 22, 2014, Governor Corbett signed Act 155 into law. The Act will go into effect 60 days from the date the governor signed it or approximately December 21, 2014. Among other things, this Act revises Section 510 and Chapter 14 of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Code to implement funding changes for the Public Utility Commission (the Commission), expands the types of entities subject to the “responsible utility customer protection[s]” contained within Chapter 14 and extends Chapter 14’s expiration through 2024. These changes will be discussed in more detail below.

Historic U.S.-China Agreement to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

November 12, 2014

In a surprise announcement last evening from Beijing, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping committed to ambitious cuts in carbon emissions over the next 15 years with the hope of preventing catastrophic global warming. The joint announcement calls for the United States, by 2025, to reduce carbon emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels and for China to reduce net carbon emissions starting in 2030 or earlier and to increase the overall share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent by 2030.

Preventing Hazardous Material Catastrophes In A Changing World [Webcast]

June 17, 2014

Cozen O'Connor's Energy Environmental & Public Utility Group convenes a symposium of national experts in Philadelphia to discuss emerging issues surrounding catastrophic releases of hazardous materials.

Supreme Court Issues Landmark Clean Air Act Ruling, Revives Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

April 30, 2014

On April 29, 2014, in a very significant 6-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR or the Rule), overturning a 2012 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision invalidating the Rule. The decision in EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. is a major victory for downwind states adversely impacted by power plant emissions originating in upwind states. For example, a substantial portion of air pollution in New Jersey comes from major emitting facilities in upwind states.

White House Initiative to Tackle Methane Emissions: New Regulations, Funding Opportunities Expected [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

March 31, 2014

On March 28, the White House announced a set of new policy initiatives to reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas (GHG) 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The Climate Action Plan—Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions (Methane Plan) outlines the administration’s plans for new regulations, voluntary efforts and measurement technology to reduce and track methane emissions.

Your Vulnerability and Emergency Response Plan -- Friends or Enemies? [Keystone Tap]

March 19, 2014

In an article titled “Your Vulnerability and Emergency Response Plan – Friends or Enemies?” Michael Klein recommends – following the recent Elk River chemical spill in West Virginia – that every public water system consider doing at least two things: (1) review and update existing vulnerability assessments and emergency response plans; and (2) regularly train and educate employees with respect to the assessments and plans.

Seller’s Invocation of Force Majeure Under NAESB Contract Rejected by NJ Appellate Division [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

March 03, 2014

In a case of first impression that interpreted the force majeure provisions of an industry contract form promulgated by the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB), Cozen O’Connor prevailed on behalf of plaintiff when, on January 9, 2014, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s ruling in Hess Corporation v. Eni Petroleum U.S. LLC, et al., No. A-3464-12T4 (A.D., January 9, 2014).

Pennsylvania PUC to Amend Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Regulations [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

February 27, 2014

On February 20, 2014, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (Commission) issued a proposed rulemaking in connection with its implementation of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act of 2004 (AEPS Act). While the Commission has proposed a number of changes that merely implement the requirements of Act 35 and Act 129, there are several new substantive provisions impacting net metering and large customer-generators and that merit close review by electric utilities, merchant generators and customers proposing to self-generate. The proposed rulemaking will be open for public comment for 30 days after publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

The Future of Environmental Regulation and the Impact on the Practice of Environmental Law [Inside the Minds: The Impact of Environmental Issues on Business Transactions]

January 01, 2013

Over the last several years, attorneys have begun to see the focus of environmental regulations in the United States shifting from cleaning up legacy contamination to anticipating the environmental challenges of the future.

Pennsylvania Utility Commission Upholds Act 129 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Program [Energy Environmental & Utilities Alert]

December 13, 2012

After months of hearings and petitions, at their December 5, 2012 meeting, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissions (PUC) upheld PECO’s and FirstEnergy’s energy efficiency savings targets for the second phase of Pennsylvania’s Act 129 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Program (EE&C program).

New Credits for Commercial and Industrial Ratepayers to Take Effect in January 2012 [Energy Environmental & Utilities Alert]

November 15, 2012

Starting on January 1, 2013, New Jersey commercial and industrial (C&I) ratepayers will be eligible for a new credit against their Societal Benefits Charge (SBC) contributions. The credit was signed into law by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on January 17, 2012. Under the provisions of the statute (N.J.S.A. 48:3-60.3), C&I ratepayers may be eligible for a credit against their SBC charge equal to one-half of the costs incurred for the purchase and installation of energy efficiency products and/or services.

U.S. District Court Holds that Federal Clean Air Act Preempts Pennsylvania State Law Common Law Tort Claims

November 06, 2012

On October 12, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued an opinion and order in Kristie Bell v. Cheswick Generating Station, GenOn Power Midwest, L.P., No. 2:12-cv-929, holding that state law nuisance claims are preempted by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA).

U.S. District Court Holds that Federal Clean Air Act Preempts Pennsylvania State Law Common Law Tort Claims [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

November 05, 2012

U.S. District Court Holds that Federal Clean Air Act Preempts Pennsylvania State Law Common Law Tort Claims - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On October 12, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued an opinion and order in Kristie Bell v. Cheswick Generating Station, GenOn Power Midwest, L.P., No. 2:12-cv-929, holding that state law nuisance claims are preempted by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA).

Ninth Circuit Rejects Global Warming Nuisance Claim: Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

October 10, 2012

Ninth Circuit Rejects Global Warming Nuisance Claim: Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On September 21, 2012, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a District Court decision dismissing the claims of the Native Village of Kivalina and the City of Kivalina (collectively Kivalina) asserting that some of the largest
energy companies in the United States(collectively Energy Producers) were responsible for coastal erosion caused by
greenhouse gas emissions and resulting global warming.

D.C. Circuit Court Rejects EPA's Multistate Power Plant Rule [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

September 14, 2012

D.C. Circuit Court Rejects EPA's Multistate Power Plant Rule - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On August 21, 2012, two judges on a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion vacating the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), a complex rule designed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) from multiple power plants across 28 states.

Sixth Circuit Vacates EPA Aggregation of Gas Facilities as Illogical [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

August 22, 2012

Sixth Circuit Vacates EPA Aggregation of Gas Facilities as Illogical - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On August 7, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit rejected a determination of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pursuant to agency policy that functionally related gas facilities, including a sweetening plant and roughly 100 natural gas wells spread out over a 43-square-mile area, should be treated as a single “major” source for the purposes of regulation under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA).

PUC Extends Energy Efficiency Program Into Second Phase, But Sets Stage For Additional Act 129 Proceedings [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

August 13, 2012

PUC Extends Energy Efficiency Program Into Second Phase, But Sets Stage For Additional Act 129 Proceedings - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On August 3, 2012, pursuant to Act 129 of 2008 (“Act 129”), the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) issued an order extending mandatory electricity consumption reduction targets in the Commonwealth into a second phase.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Voids Act 13 Zoning Provisions [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

July 26, 2012

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Voids Act 13 Zoning Provisions - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On Thursday, July 26, 2012, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued an order voiding those provisions of Act 13 that would have required municipalities to change their zoning rules to accommodate natural gas development activities.

Recent NY Enforcement Action Highlights Need for Periodic Reviews of State Ethics Requirements [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

July 23, 2012

Recent NY Enforcement Action Highlights Need for Periodic Reviews of State Ethics Requirements - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - Public utilities, as well as other entities that regularly negotiate with, appear before and attempt to influence regulators, are reminded of the importance of complying with applicable ethics laws when dealing with public officials and employees of state agencies.

D.C. Circuit Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

July 19, 2012

D.C. Circuit Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On June 26, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a suite of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actions related to the regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA).

Pennsylvania Amends Municipality Authorities Act to Restrict Authority Expenditures [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

July 05, 2012

Pennsylvania Amends Municipality Authorities Act to Restrict Authority Expenditures - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On June 27, 2012, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed into law Senate Bill 375, which had been approved by a vote of 47-0 in the Senate on June 13 and by a vote of 196-0 in the House on June 19. The bill places certain restrictions on municipal water and sewer authorities’ ability to expend resources on activities not related to their core purpose.

Philadelphia Enacts Mandatory Energy and Water Use Disclosure Ordinance for Commercial Buildings [Energy Policy Alert]

June 21, 2012

Philadelphia Enacts Mandatory Energy and Water Use Disclosure Ordinance for Commercial Buildings - Energy Policy Alert - To spur commercial building owners to invest in energy efficiency, Philadelphia City Council passed a mandatory energy and water disclosure ordinance on June 21, 2012.

Update - NJ Assembly Environment Committee Approves Bill to Prevent Treatment of Fracking Wastes [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

June 15, 2012

Update - NJ Assembly Environment Committee Approves Bill to Prevent Treatment of Fracking Wastes - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On the evening of June 14, the New Jersey Assembly and Solid Waste Committee approved A575.

NJ Senate Committee Approves Bill Prohibiting the Treatment of Fracking Materials [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

June 14, 2012

NJ Senate Committee Approves Bill Prohibiting the Treatment of Fracking Materials - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On June 7, 2012, the New Jersey Senate Environment and Energy committee unanimously approved a bipartisan bill, S.253, that aims to prohibit the treatment of waste products from hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking), in New Jersey.

EPA Issues Draft Guidance for Hydraulic Fracturing with Diesel Fuel [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

May 20, 2012

EPA Issues Draft Guidance for Hydraulic Fracturing with Diesel Fuel - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - Acting pursuant to its authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 10, 2012, released draft permitting guidance for hydraulic fracturing during oil and natural gas production activities, but which applies only where diesel fuel is a component of the fracturing fluid.

EPA Issues Final Emissions Standards for Oil & Natural Gas Sector [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

May 04, 2012

EPA Issues Final Emissions Standards for Oil & Natural Gas Sector - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On April 17, 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized performance and emissions standards for emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells and
other source categories in the oil and natural gas sector. Specifically, the rule revises New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) under 40 C.F.R. part 60, subparts KKK, LLL and new OOOO as well as National Emissions Standards for hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) under 40 C.F.R. part
63, subparts HH and HHH.

Pending Maryland Law Requires Largest Counties and Municipalities to Set Stormwater Management Fee [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

May 01, 2012

Pending Maryland Law Requires Largest Counties and Municipalities to Set Stormwater Management Fee - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On April 6, 2012, the Maryland Senate passed, by a 33-14 vote, SB 614 or the “Stormwater Management - Watershed Protection and Restoration Program.”

Pennsylvania's Building Code Advisory Commission Votes to Reject 2012 International Construction Code, Extend Code Evaluation Cycle to Six Years [Real Estate Alert!]

March 12, 2012

Pennsylvania's Building Code Advisory Commission Votes to Reject 2012 International Construction Code, Extend Code Evaluation Cycle to Six Years - Real Estate Alert! - According to the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, residential and commercial buildings will account for 73.2 percent of total electricity consumption and 40.1 percent of the nation's total energy consumption in 2011, with approximately half of those totals attributable to commercial buildings alone

Arguing for Liability Reform to Help Solve an Old Problem [The Pennsylvania Lawyer]

March 01, 2012

Arguing for Liability Reform to Help Solve an Old Problem - The Pennsylvania Lawyer - Thousands of current and future Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction wells are located near Pennsylvania’s 250,000- plus abandoned coal mines, many of which discharge acid mine drainage into local streams and rivers. Acid mine drainage, which leaches heavy metals from surrounding rocks and kills aquatic life, is the biggest single cause of stream impairment in Pennsylvania. It has rendered unusable more than 5,500 miles of streams, contaminated...

News Concerning Recent Developments in Energy and Environmental Law [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert!]

October 07, 2011

News Concerning Recent Developments in Energy and Environmental Law - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert! - We are pleased to present the latest edition of the Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert. We hope you find this information beneficial and informative

Use Acid Waters for Fracking [Patriot News]

August 30, 2011

Use Acid Waters for Fracking - Patriot News - Pennsylvania's 200-year history of coal mining has left a legacy of polluted waterways that remains one of the state's greatest environmental challenges. More than 250,000 abandoned surface mines, many containing acidic water-filled pits, scar Pennsylvania's landscape. Acidic drainage from these abandoned mines-called acid mine drainage or AMD -often has a pH below 5.0, which leaches heavy metals from surrounding...

"Let the sun shine in: Owners guide to solar rooftop agreements" [Real Estate Weekly]

June 29, 2011

"Let the sun shine in: Owners guide to solar rooftop agreements" - Real Estate Weekly - In New York City, the Bloomberg administration recognizes that renewable energy will play a significant role in our energy supply with solar having the greatest potential to generate electricity in the five boroughs. Tax credits and other incentives have been established to make installation of solar photovoltaic systems on buildings more economically attractive. This includes a Solar Electric Generating System

Comments on United States Environmental Protection Agency Proposed Rulemaking to [The Federal Register]

November 27, 2009

Comments on United States Environmental Protection Agency Proposed Rulemaking to - The Federal Register - The stated purpose of the proposed Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards
and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (the “Rule”) is to address the urgent and
closely intertwined challenges of energy independence and security and global warming by
increasing the fuel economy of the nation’s light duty vehicle fleet. Vehicle electrification
technology, including plug-in hybrid electric...

The American Clean Energy and Security Act: HR 2454 [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert!]

August 17, 2009

The American Clean Energy and Security Act: HR 2454 - Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert! - On June, 26, 2009, the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (“ACESA”) by
the close margin of 219 votes in favor of the bill and 212
against it. This bill, House Bill No. 2454, is popularly called the
Waxman-Markey energy bill for its co-sponsors Rep. Henry
Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ed Markey (D- Mass.).

Climate Change: The Future Is Upon Us [The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel]

April 01, 2008

Climate Change: The Future Is Upon Us - The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel - The Editor interviews Peter J. Fontaine, Co-Chair, Climate Change Practice Area, Cozen O’Connor.

Editor: Mr. Fontaine, would you tell us something about your professional experience?

Fontaine: I’ve been an environmental lawyer since 1990. I graduated from George Washington University School of Law that year and accepted an honors position at the EPA, where I worked in
the enforcement program until 1995.

Events & Seminars

Upcoming Events

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Practice and Procedure

January 15, 2020 - Harrisburg, PA

Jonathan Nase will present at HalfMoon Education’s Issues in Pennsylvania Energy & Electric Utility Regulation Seminar.

Past Events

My Forrest Gump Career in Administrative Adjudications

November 13, 2019 - Philadelphia, PA

The Changing PFAS Landscape

May 30, 2019 - Needham, MA

2019 Public Utility Law Conference

May 30, 2019 - Harrisburg, PA

2019 PA AWWA’s Annual Conference

April 17, 2019 - Hershey, PA

Health Law 2019

December 05, 2018 - Philadelphia, PA

2018 American Water Summit

October 25, 2018 - Philadelphia, PA

2018 WWOAP Conference

September 24, 2018 - Boalsburg, PA

Pennsylvania AWWA Annual Conference

May 10, 2018 - Pocono Manor, PA

American Gas Association 2014 Legal Forum

July 13, 2014 - Park City, UT

Public Utility Law Conference

May 30, 2013 - Harrisburg, PA

DVGBC PA / NJ Sustainability Symposium 2013

March 12, 2013 - Philadelphia, PA

An Inside Look at the Michael Mann Case

October 22, 2012 - Webinar

NAWC PA Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon

May 08, 2012 - Harrisburg, PA

U.S.-Israel Clean Tech Conference

November 09, 2010 - Philadelphia, PA

The Risks and Opportunities of Climate Change

June 17, 2008 - Philadelphia, PA

In The News

Cozen O’Connor Recognized As a Best Law Firm in 25 Practice Areas Nationwide, 106 Practice Areas Regionally

November 05, 2019

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer review from leading attorneys in their field.

Cozen O’Connor Announces Hiring Two Nationally Renowned Energy Lawyers and Continues Expansion of its U.S. Footprint, Opening a Newark, N.J. Office

April 01, 2019

Gregory Eisenstark and Michael J. Connolly join Cozen O’Connor and will lead the Newark office

Cozen O’Connor Welcomes Former EPA Senior Counsel Marcia Mulkey to its Utility, Environmental & Energy Practice

December 03, 2018

Mulkey will provide guidance on federal environmental regulation, compliance, and enforcement.

Baltimore Voters Test Resistance to Privatization

November 02, 2018

Michael Klein, a member of the firm’s Utility, Environmental & Energy Practice, is quoted in Bloomberg on a ballot measure that, if approved, would prevent the city of Baltimore from selling its government-owned water and sewer system.

Fifty-four Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named 2018 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

June 12, 2018

Super Lawyers has named 54 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to its 2018 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

Rate Cuts Spare Columbia Water

June 01, 2018

David Zambito is quoted in the Central Penn Business Journal on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s decision to exclude Columbia Water Co. customers from utility rate cuts.

Cozen O’Connor Elects 19 Associates to Membership

April 09, 2018

Cozen O’Connor has elected 19 associates to membership in the firm. The management committee appointed this qualified group of attorneys to membership based on demonstrated professionalism, leadership, dedication, and loyalty to Cozen O’Connor.

2018 U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" Ranks Cozen O’Connor

February 01, 2018

In the 2018 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms, Cozen O’Connor is ranked nationally in 17 practice areas and regionally in 64 practice areas.

Pa. Regulators Sizing up Tax-Cut Impact on Utility Rates

January 11, 2018

David Zambito, co-chair of Cozen O’Connor’s Utility, Environmental & Energy Practice Group, discusses the impact that federal tax reform may have on utility rates in the Central Penn Business Journal.

Cozen O'Connor ranked in 2017 U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms"

November 23, 2016

Firms included in the 2017 "Best Law Firms" list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.

Sixty-Two Cozen O’Connor Lawyers Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 15, 2016

Sixty-two Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 13 of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Cozen O’Connor Continues Growth of Washington, D.C. Office Expanding Energy and Real Estate Practices

September 01, 2015

Bob Fallon and David Tiger have joined the firm as members in the Washington, D.C. office.