Jump to Navigation

Bracewell Blog

January 17, 2014

By Lowell Rothschild

Spurred on by Congress, on Monday, the Federal Highway and Transit Administrations adopted a categorical exclusion which may spare some projects a detailed review under the National Environmental Policy Act. Specifically, projects that receive less than $5,000,000 in federal...

January 7, 2014

By Larry Levy

New York City has enacted a number of significant changes to the City’s Lobbying Law, most of which will go into effect on May 16, 2014.  The amendments expand the definition of lobbying, change the reporting periods, alter the financial threshold triggering reporting,...

November 13, 2013

By Lowell Rothschild and Matthew Haynie

Rule Could Have Significant Impact on Infrastructure, Energy and Land Development

September 19, 2013

Earlier today, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking outlining new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) categorical exclusions (CE) and other streamlining procedures. The broad outlines of the rule were mandated by Congress in its most recent transportation bill (MAP-21), but the specifics were...

September 18, 2013

On Tuesday, the Obama Administration gave in to pressure from Congress, environmental NGOs and industry, announcing that it has drafted a proposed rule intended to clarify the waters over which the federal government has jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.  This is an important and contentious question which has been at issue for the past 15 years largely because of two Supreme Court...

June 26, 2013

During a week of high profile Supreme Court cases, the Court handed down a lesser-noticed decision that could significantly benefit developers. Yesterday, the Court expanded the right of permit applicants to protest unreasonable mitigation requirements imposed by regulatory agencies.  The decision should enhance the ability of permit applicants to negotiate reasonable terms.

June 12, 2013

On June 10, 2013, EPA issued a final greenhouse gas (GHG) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit to PL Propylene, LLC for construction of combustion turbines, heaters, waste heat boilers, and a flare at an existing propane dehydrogenation plant in Houston, Texas. Currently, EPA Region 6 has 69 permit applications listed on their docket.

May 29, 2013

So far this year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released 8 private letter rulings related to MLP qualifying income.  In addition to affirming conclusions reached in prior rulings, these rulings provide meaningful clarity with respect to certain MLP activities and income streams, including compression services, natural gas processing, customer-funded facility improvements,...

April 11, 2013

On April 10th, the White House issued the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2014 Revenue Proposals.  Contained in the infrastructure section is a proposed exemption for foreign pension funds from the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (“FIRPTA”), which is found in Sections 897 and 1445 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code...

Tax
February 26, 2013

On January 28, 2013, the Treasury Department issued its final regulations under Sections 1471, et seq. of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), otherwise known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”).  There is now a clear timetable for foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”), as defined in Code Section 1471(d...

February 13, 2013

On Friday, the Fish and Wildlife Service published a workplan which is required reading for any entity seeking to undertake project development in the US in the next five years.  Spurred by litigation into acting on its tremendous backlog of Endangered Species listings and Critical Habitat designations, FWS has planned out the actions it will take every year for the next five years for...

January 28, 2013

Earlier this month, the Federal Highway and Transit Administrations published guidance outlining two steps it will take to accelerate the environmental review process for certain projects. The guidance was the direct result of two provisions in the 2012 Transportation bill (MAP-21) mandating streamlined action under the National Environmental Policy Act for certain Environmental Impact...

January 19, 2013

Yesterday, the Treasury Department issued final regulations under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”). In general, the final regulations (1) build on intergovernmental agreements; (2) phase in due diligence, reporting and withholding obligations; (3) expand and clarify the scope of payments not subject to withholding; (4) clarify the treatment of investment vehicles;...

Tax
January 14, 2013

EPA’s innovative attempt to regulate the amount of stormwater flowing into an impaired creek was recently struck down by a federal court in Virginia. Faced with a creek with benthic impairment (i.e., there weren’t a sufficient number of healthy organisms living near the bottom of the creek), EPA looked to reduce the amount of sediment flowing into the creek. Since almost...

January 4, 2013

In short, the New Year’s Day fiscal cliff deal lacked any significant tax reform. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R.8) focused on personal income tax rates and permanently extending the AMT patch. The deal left the corporate income tax rate at 35% and did not include any meaningful tax reform or simplification.

January 3, 2013

The fiscal cliff legislation temporarily ends the uncertainty surrounding the extension of tax credits related to wind facilities that generate electricity. Under current law, the production tax credit (the “PTC”) applied to wind facilities that were operational by the end of 2012. The legislation amends the Code and provides that such PTC is available for wind facilities...

January 2, 2013

The exclusion from gross income of interest paid on tax-exempt bonds, including both traditional governmental bonds and private activity bonds, is largely unaffected by the fiscal cliff legislation. In fact, except for the inclusion of some specific extender provisions regarding certain tax credit and private activity bonds, the legislation does not address tax-exempt bonds.

January 2, 2013

The newly passed American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 contains provisions related to a Roth IRA account. Currently, employee deferral plans, like 401(k), 403(b) or 457(b) plans, may have a Roth feature to allow employees to contribute to such plans on an after-tax basis with earnings thereon tax-free when distributed. Plans currently may allow employees to convert their traditional (pre-tax)...