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  • Coming Attractions: Section 45Q Carbon Sequestration Guidance, Part II

    The IRS’s much anticipated new guidance (here and here) for Section 45Q carbon sequestration tax credits was rather anticlimactic in that it focused on just two of the many issues for which the IRS had solicited comments in May 2019.  Largely patterned after existing IRS guidance for renewable energy tax credits, the new guidance addressed...

  • Utah Considers a Cybersecurity Safe Harbor as Ransomware Runs Riot

    Last year the FTC mandated what an organization’s written cybersecurity program should include to avoid being deemed “unfair and deceptive” to consumers,[1] and this year California consumers whose personal information is compromised may file lawsuits against organizations that failed to implement “reasonable security.”[2] But several states provide legal safe harbors to organizations with...

  • SWRCB Releases Draft Implementation Guidance Regarding the Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material

    On February 14, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) published Draft Guidance for the State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material to Waters of the State (Draft Guidance). The Draft Guidance pertains to the SWRCB’s adoption of a State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or...

  • CFTC Proposed Rule Benefits Certain Financially-Settled Offtake Arrangements

    On February 20, 2020, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)  unanimously approved a proposed rule that would revise certain reporting requirements for financially-settled offtake contracts that qualify as “swaps” under the Commodity Exchange Act (as amended by the Dodd-Frank Act), such as proxy revenue swaps, fixed-volume price swaps and certain virtual PPAs.  Many counterparties to...

  • DTSC and SWRCB Release Draft Supplemental Vapor Intrusion Guidance

    On February 14, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) issued a public notice regarding the release of Draft Supplemental Guidance: Screening and Evaluating Vapor Intrusion (Draft Guidance) that  supplements existing vapor intrusion guidance issued in 2011.  The Draft Guidance is now available for public...

  • CalGEM’s Public Health Rulemaking Workshops

    The California Geologic Energy Management Division (“CalGEM”), formerly known as the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”), is actively working on revising its regulations to better align its regulatory mandates with the new goals of Assembly Bill 1057, which requires CalGEM to focus on protecting public health and the environment, and less on...

  • Design-Build Lite – Construction Contracts with D-B Components

    For most in the industry, when we think about a standard construction contract, we envision the construction documents being drafted by the architect and other design consultants.  We tend to view the project as design-price-build, unless an alternative procurement mechanism has been selected such as design-build.  Consistent with this design-price-build model, the contractor’s review of...

  • California Supreme Court Clarifies What Constitutes “Hours Worked” Under California Law

    In Amanda Frlekin v. Apple Inc., No. S243805 (Feb. 13, 2020), the California Supreme Court responded to a request by the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit to answer the following question: Is time spent on the employer’s premises waiting for, and undergoing, required exit searches of packages, bags, or personal technology...

  • Federal Court Rejects Assembly Bill 51

    Assembly Bill 51 (“AB 51”) prohibits employers from requiring employees to execute arbitration agreements as a condition of employment.  After being signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom on October 10, 2019, AB 51 was set to go into effect on January 1, 2020; however, on December 30, 2019, the Honorable Kimberly J. Mueller, Chief Judge...

  • NIST Releases a Standard for Privacy

    As states fill the legal void for consumer privacy rights,[1] a new federal standard has emerged to assist companies with their compliance efforts. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) Privacy Framework (“PF”) was released last month to help organizations manage the risks associated with their data processing activities. What the PF Does The...

  • Stoel Rives Helps WSDOT Defeat a $640 Million Claim

    The biggest construction project in Seattle in recent years has been the replacement of a seismically compromised waterfront viaduct with a tunnel carrying State Route 99 under downtown. The project was delayed for about two years while the contractor repaired damage to its tunnel boring machine. The contractor claimed that the damage was caused by...

  • Plan Ahead for Project Challenges in 2020

    In the event of a near-term slowdown in the U.S. economy, analysts forecast that any resulting decline in construction starts will nevertheless leave the level of activity in that industry sector “close to recent highs.” As a result, project owners and general contractors already facing a strong demand for workers will continue to do so,...

  • Are You Willing to Wait a Year? Popularity of CLT Leads to Growing Pains for Suppliers

    The Daily Journal of Commerce recently reported that increased demand for mass-timber material, such as cross-laminated timber (“CLT”), has caused a shortage as suppliers struggle to expand production.  Iain Macdonald, an industry executive interviewed for the article, stated that “lead times of a year have not been uncommon.”  Increased demand has been fueled in part...

  • Design-Build and EPC Contracting Approaches Under Fire by Contractors

    In a recent article in the ABA’s “Under Construction” publication (link here) the author describes a trend among some major contractors, including SNC-Lavalin, Fluor Corporation and Granite Construction, to leave the DB and EPC space.  Other large contractors have announced similar intentions.  The problem appears to be that the DB and EPC delivery methods are...

  • CalGEM Issues Notice to Operators Regarding Cyclic Steam Moratorium

    Nearly two months ago, on November 19, 2019, the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources[1] (“DOGGR”) announced a moratorium on approvals of new oil extraction wells that use a high-pressure cyclic steaming process to break apart a geological formation to extract oil. The announcement did not contain much, if any, detail...

  • CCPA Is Here – Is Your Security “Reasonable”?

    Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, any California consumer whose personal information is compromised “as a result of the business’ violation of the duty to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices … may institute a civil action.”[1] Consumers can initiate this private right of action right now, whereas other consumer rights can only...

  • 2019: A Year to Forget for California Employers

    From the California Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dynamex to the passage of dozens of new employment laws, 2019 was an important year for California employers.  While some of these new laws were discussed here, this blog discusses some additional laws (there are a lot) and provides some updates on legal challenges to AB 5...

  • California SWRCB Launches Senate Bill 205 Compliance Page

    This information is provided as a follow-up to our blog post titled “Senate Bill 205 Imposes New Requirements for Industrial Companies in California” published on January 3, 2020. The State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) published a new page on its website that provides implementation information for Senate Bill 205.  This page includes helpful information...

  • Senate Bill 205 Imposes New Requirements for Industrial Companies in California

    Last fall, the California Legislature enacted Senate Bill 205 in an effort to more effectively control stormwater pollution from regulated industrial companies.  Effective January 1, 2020, an industrial company will not be able to receive an initial business license or business license renewal unless it can demonstrate compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System...

  • Jane (or John) Hancock 2.0: Utilizing E-Signatures in the Construction Industry

    In our increasingly electronic age, parties signing a construction contract, invoice, change order or other documents are as likely to do so by clicking on an “I agree” checkbox or inserting a digital signature, or e-signature, as they are to put pen to paper. In my first article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I...

  • Minnesota Court of Appeals Determines MEPA Review Required for Wisconsin Natural Gas Generating Facility

    On December 23, 2019, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (the “Commission”) approving affiliated-interest agreements permitting Minnesota Power and its Wisconsin affiliate to move forward with the construction of a large natural gas facility – the Nemadji Trail Energy Center (“NTEC”) – in Superior, Wisconsin...

  • CCPA is Here – Are Your Agreements Ready?

    On January 1, 2020, if your company sells goods or services to California consumers and meets certain criteria,[1] the agreements you have with companies that handle personal information on your behalf should be analyzed and, if necessary, updated just as your privacy notices should be updated.[2] Examples of companies that handle personal information on a...

  • Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020

    As 2019 comes to an end, employers should know about important new obligations that will ring in their new year.  Our Labor & Employment experts offer some guidance on critical developments in Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho that employers should be prepared for in 2020. Oregon The statute of limitations for discrimination and harassment claims...

  • Benefits Kick in for Washington Employees Under the New Paid Family and Medical Leave Act

    Beginning January 1, 2020, Washington employees will have access to the benefits of Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (“WPFML”) law, administered by the Washington Employment Security Department (“ESD”). Nearly all Washington employees will be eligible, with limited exceptions for self-employed, federal, and tribal employees, as well as employees who perform only occasional and...

  • CCPA is Here – Is Your Privacy Notice Ready?

    Last year towards the end of May, a barrage of emails and pop-ups informed online users about how companies use cookies – small bits of software that track website activity – in accordance with a requirement under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. On January 1, 2020, many companies will inform consumers about updates...

  • Trickbot and Emotet Financial Malware Now Attacking the Healthcare Industry

    In a recent Cybercrime Tactics and Techniques Report focusing on the health care industry, cybersecurity company Malwarebytes discovered a significant 82% spike in Trojan malware attacks on health care organizations in Q3 2019. Emotet and TrickBot, two especially sophisticated and dangerous forms of malware, were mostly responsible for this surge. Used primarily as ’banking Trojans”...

  • Trickbot and Emotet Financial Malware Now Attacking the Healthcare Industry

    In a recent Cybercrime Tactics and Techniques Report focusing on the health care industry, cybersecurity company Malwarebytes discovered a significant 82% spike in Trojan malware attacks on health care organizations in Q3 2019. Emotet and TrickBot, two especially sophisticated and dangerous forms of malware, were mostly responsible for this surge. Used primarily as ’banking Trojans”...

  • Be Aware (or Beware!) of Extended Mechanic’s Lien Rights

    Oregon law requires a lien claimant to perfect its lien by recording it within 75 days of ceasing to “provide labor, rent equipment, or furnish materials or 75 days after completion of construction, whichever is earlier.” An unpaid contractor must record its lien 75 days after completion of its major contract work and removal of...

  • AKS and Medicare Advantage Plans: Don’t Kickback and Relax!

    Health care attorneys have long questioned whether there are significant Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) risks associated with financial transactions between Medicare Advantage plans and their participating providers. An ongoing case in the Northern District of Illinois could provide Medicare Advantage organizations with a clear answer regarding the nature of such risks. United States ex rel. Derrick.

  • Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Proposes Repeal of Certain Alaska Administrative Code Regulations

    The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) has proposed a repeal of regulation changes in 20 AAC 25. of the Alaska Administrative Code. Specific regulations proposed for repeal are as follows: 20 AAC 25.037 well control requirements for other drilling and completion operations; 20 AAC 25.047 reserve pits and tankage; 20 AAC 25.225 potential...

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