FEDERAL - JUDICIAL: BLM Oil and Gas Leasing; National Environmental Policy Act – New Mexico. (Update to 6/10/19 Weekly Report) On August 18, a federal court dealt a blow to environmental activists in the long-running case against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In WildEarth Guardians v. Bernhardt (Case No. 1:2019-cv-00505), the U.S. District Court for the District of Mexico rejected WildEarth's claim that the BLM "failed to properly take into consideration a sufficient analysis of how the oil and gas leases across more than 68,232 acres of public land in New Mexico would affect the local and regional environments." In his opinion, Judge Robert C. Brack wrote, "BLM sufficiently analyzed how these leases affect the local and regional environment, and its conclusion that the impact was not significant was not arbitrary and capricious." The only count in which the Court ruled partially in favor of the litigants was allowing for the halting of future leases that do not allow for public participation (which they all do), but the Court refused WildEarth's request to stop future leasing authorizations in the region. Judge Brack also denied WildEarth's request for attorney's fees. Read more.STATE - LEGISLATIVE: Uniform Wills Recognition Act – Nebraska. (Update to 8/10/20 Weekly Report) On August 15, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed LB 966 into law. The Act, sponsored by Sen. Wendy DeBoer, would adopt the Uniform Wills Recognition Act (1977). The Act implements an international convention calling for all countries and states to adopt a uniform formality for executing wills. As of this report, 19 states have already adopted the Act. The bill provided no effective date so under Nebraska law it would become effective three months after the legislative session ended on August 13, 2020. Read more.
INDUSTRY NEWS: U.S. EIA revises energy outlook for higher crude prices. On August 11, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released its August Short-Term Energy Outlook which forecasts West Texas Intermediate spot prices will average $39/bbl in 2020 and then rise to $46/bbl in 2021. This comes as July demand showed an increase which is expected to push prices higher in 2021. Read more.