Houston Partner Ben Cowan Quoted by Law360 on Significance of Nationwide Permit 12 Ruling on Pipeline Industry

July 2, 2020

Ben Cowan, Chair of Locke Lord’s Renewable Energy Section, provided insight to Law360 on the April ruling that invalidated Nationwide Permit (NWP) 12, used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, finding that the Keystone XL pipeline was not properly evaluated under the Endangered Species Act when the Trump administration renewed it in 2017. The ruling was later narrowed to only cover new oil and gas pipelines. The article cited insight Cowan provided to Law360 following the ruling, including the significant cost for the pipeline industry along with expectations of delays and a very closely watched appeal. ”Some industries escaped, but the pipeline industry has definitely got a significant problem on its hands," he said.

Cowan notes there have been subsequent developments in the litigation surrounding NWP 12 and the pipeline industry. Most notably, on July 6, the Supreme Court issued a nationwide stay of the district court’s ruling except as it applies to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project, freeing up other projects to resume work under NWP 12. The appeal of the order remains pending before the Ninth Circuit, and will continue to be closely watched.

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