Justia Missouri Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Energy, Oil & Gas Law
Earth Island Inst. v. Union Elec. Co.
In 2008, the General Assembly passed a senate bill that was codified as Mo. Rev. Stat. 393.1050, a statute exempting electric utilities that met a certain renewable energy target on a certain date from any solar energy requirements. A ballot initiative (“Proposition C”) was subsequently passed that imposed solar energy requirements on all electric utilities. Earth Island Institute, doing business as Renew Missouri, and additional parties filed a complaint with the Public Service Commission claiming that section 393.1050 was invalidated by the passage of Proposition C. The Commission determined that Proposition C did not impliedly repeal section 393.1050 because the two laws could be harmonized. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that section 393.1050 was impliedly repealed by the adoption of Proposition C because section 393.1050 in its entirety was in conflict with Proposition C. View "Earth Island Inst. v. Union Elec. Co." on Justia Law
State ex rel. MoGas Pipeline, LLC v. Pub. Serv. Comm’n
MoGas Pipeline operated an interstate natural gas pipeline delivering natural gas to customers in Missouri. MoGas submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) two proposals for approval. In both instances, the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) intervened as a party in the related FERC proceedings and to protest MoGas' proposals. MoGas subsequently filed a petition with the PSC alleging that the PSC did not have authority to intervene in matters before the FERC and requesting that the PSC terminate its intervention in FERC cases concerning MoGas' operations. The PSC denied MoGas' petition. The circuit court reversed, concluding that the PSC's order was unlawful. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding that the PSC has no authority to intervene in matters pending before the FERC, and accordingly, the PSC erred in denying MoGas' request that it terminate its intervention in FERC proceedings. View "State ex rel. MoGas Pipeline, LLC v. Pub. Serv. Comm'n" on Justia Law
St. Charles County v. Laclede Gas Co.
Laclede Gas Company maintained gas lines along Pitman Hill Road in St. Charles County. Pitman Hill Road and the gas lines were located within areas established as public roads on five recorded subdivision plats. Each of the subdivision plats first established public roads and then designated the roads as utility easements. The plats specifically stated that one of the purposes of the utility easements was for the installation and maintenance of gas lines. The County planned to widen Pitman Hill Road, which required Laclede to relocate its gas lines. Laclede declined to pay for the relocation, after which the County filed a declaratory judgment action to require Laclede to bear the cost of relocation. The circuit court entered summary judgment in favor of the County. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the County was required to reimburse Laclede for displacing the gas lines from Laclede's utility easement because the easements were constitutionally cognizable property interests and, therefore, requiring Laclede to relocate its gas lines without compensation would amount to an unconstitutional taking of private property. View "St. Charles County v. Laclede Gas Co." on Justia Law
State ex rel. Praxair, Inc. v. Mo. Pub. Serv. Comm’n
The Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Great Plain Energy's acquisition of Aquila, a Missouri utility company. Before approval was granted, Praxair, AG Processing, and Sedalia Industrial Energy Users' Association (collectively, Praxair) intervened. During evidentiary hearings, Great Plains, Aquila, and a subsidiary of Great Plains filed a motion to limit the scope of the proceedings, seeking to preclude any evidence as to their gift and gratuity policies. The regulatory law judge granted the motion, finding the evidence was wholly irrelevant to the merger. After the merger was approved, Praxair and the Office of Public Counsel filed petitions for writs of review. The circuit court affirmed the regulatory law judge's order. After opinion by the court of appeals, the Supreme Court granted transfer. The Court affirmed, holding (1) while the evidence as to Great Plains' gift policy should have been admitted, its exclusion was not prejudicial as the gift policy could not have substantially impacted the weight of the evidence evaluated to approve the merger; and (2) although certain PSC commissioners who heard the merger application had been subject to ex parte contact with executives from Great Plains, Public Counsel did not overcome the presumption that the PSC acted impartially. View "State ex rel. Praxair, Inc. v. Mo. Pub. Serv. Comm'n " on Justia Law