All Good Things Must Come To An End

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and our blog is no different.  We have enjoyed nearly four years of blogging, but now it’s time to turn our attention to new endeavors and new outlets. Through regular posts from our Sustainability, CleanTech and Climate Change Team, and our knowledgeable guest bloggers, we have explored emerging international, national and local legal issues involving renewable energy, green technology, green building, climate change, financial incentives and more.  We won’t stop writing about these important topics, and we hope you will join our mailing list to keep receiving our great content.  Please visit us to register to receive the firm’s Sustainability, CleanTech and Climate Change articles, announcements and invitations.  Thank you for reading our blog and joining us in this exploration.

Hannah Dowd McPhelin, Esq.


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LEED® Certification Milestone

Read more about an important milestone for LEED®.

Hannah Dowd McPhelin, Esq.


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GSA Speaks: Green Options Expand and The Fate of LEED v4 Deferred to Another Day

Under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), GSA is required to evaluate green building certification systems for use by federal agencies every five years.  Recently, the U.S. General Service Administration (GSA) completed its current review and provided updated recommendations to the Secretary of Energy. 

GSA sought and received extensive input in forming its recommendations, as discussed here.  There has been significant controversy about the potential use of the LEED v4 – the latest version of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system, formerly identified as LEED 2012.

GSA’s recommendations include the following:

  1. Agencies should continue to use third-party certification systems.
  2. Agencies should choose between two certification systems:  LEED 2009 or the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes 2010.
  3. Agencies should use credits that align with federal requirements:  Several agencies have identified credits within the certification systems that align with federal green building requirements.  In using a green building certification system, agencies should focus on credits that help meet federal requirements.
  4. Agencies should select only one system on an agency, bureau or portfolio basis.
  5. GSA should establish a process to keep current with revisions to the rating systems:  GSA proposes to work with other agencies within one year after a new system is finalized to discuss the revisions and whether the federal government should adopt the newest version.
  6. The federal government should participate in the ongoing development of green building rating systems:  Continuing to work with the systems will help them better align with the government’s needs.

Of particular interest is (1) the identification of Green Globes 2010 as an alternative to LEED, and (2) the apparent decision to put off to another day the controversial decision of whether to adopt LEED v4.    It is likely that the second question will be the subject of spirited debate over the next year.

Vicki R. Harding, Esq.

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New DOE Renewable Energy Data Book Shows Fast Growth for Wind and Solar Photovoltaics

The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published its 2012 Renewable Energy Data Book on November 23, 2013, reporting significant growth, particularly for wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies.  Compared to 2011, cumulative installed wind capacity grew nearly 28% and PV capacity jumped 83% on the same measure.  In 2012, renewables accounted for 14% of total installed capacity, 12.2% of total electric power generation, and more than 56% of all new electrical capacity installations in the U.S.  And global trends are strong as well:  installed renewable electricity, including hydropower, doubled between 2000 and 2012.    

Jane C. Luxton, Esq.

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Third Circuit Affirms That Brief Delay in Rental Payment Does Not Amount to Material Breach of Oil and Gas Lease

On November 18, 2013, in a non-precedential decision, Linder v. SWEPI, LP, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 23196 (3d Cir. Nov. 18, 2013), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s decision that the lessee did not surrender non-unitized acreage and that the oil and gas lease did not terminate as a result of a brief delay of a rental payment.

During the primary term of the lease, the lessee unitized 137 of the 338 leasehold acres. The lease apparently did not have a Pugh clause that permitted the non-unitized acreage to be released at the end of the primary term.  Instead, the lease provided that if the unitized acreage was less than 50 percent of the total leasehold acreage, delay rentals would continue to be due on the non-unitized acreage.

The lessor argued that at the end of the primary term the unitization of less than 50 percent of the leasehold acreage resulted in two leasehold parcels.  The Court rejected the argument, finding that the lease continued in its entirety as a result of the productive activity on the parcel and that the lease required a rental payment to be paid for the non-unitized acreage.  The lessor also argued that the late payment of this rental terminated the lease.  The Court disagreed and found that the lease did not include a “time-is-of-the-essence” clause and thus a brief delay in payment did not result in a material breach that would terminate the lease.

Justin G. Weber, Esq.

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