An increased borrowing limit for the U.S. was not the only change brought about by the recently enacted Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process was also on the minds of our legislators. Indeed, Congress chose to use the debt ceiling fight as a vehicle for implementing several changes to NEPA aimed at improving project authorization and management and establishing timelines for completing the review process. While not all the changes in the so-called Builder Act are dramatic, a handful of them could provide additional certainty for those in the oil and gas and renewables industries seeking federal approval for their projects.
Katie defends clients in complex commercial litigation.
With a lifelong love of reading and writing, Katie realized as a student that the law was an opportunity to build a career based on her favorite subjects. After a season as a summer associate at Husch Blackwell, she chose to focus on litigation—a practice area full of puzzles to solve.
During her summer associateship, Katie had the opportunity to assist with real estate litigation, levy and wastewater litigation, questions of state non-compete clauses, and an analysis of the likelihood of success of a client’s evidentiary challenge. She also worked on a pro bono prisoners’ rights case. Previously, she clerked for a criminal defense firm, worked with veterans’ benefit claims and Board of Veterans Appeals decisions, and served as a page in the Nebraska Legislature.
Katie sees litigation as a puzzle, with complex pieces that can be fitted together perfectly to achieve victory for a client. She’s passionate about the research required and loves the excitement of finding the “needle in a haystack” argument or piece of evidence that can serve as the foundation of a solid case.
With a reputation as an excellent listener, Katie’s priority is to ensure that clients feel heard and that she fully understands their business situation and goals. She approaches all litigation with a keen awareness of client needs.
The Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) recently circulated a Proposed Rule on Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation (“2022 Proposal”). This iteration, as BLM acknowledges, is a revamp of its fraught 2016 attempt to issue a similar rule ostensibly aimed at reducing natural gas waste on federal and Indian leases (“2016 Rule”). The 2016 Rule was ultimately struck down two years ago as unlawful. To the Wyoming federal court, the 2016 Rule sought to regulate air emissions—a role reserved for the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the states—rather than prevent the waste of resources through flaring and other means. Undeterred, the Biden Administration believes it has learned from and theoretically fixed the flaws in the 2016 Rule through the 2022 Proposal. The 2022 Proposal claims to focus on reducing operator costs and generating taxpayer revenue. This is a shift from the 2016 Rule, which relied on the benefits from reduced carbon emissions to justify its issuance. Nevertheless, the question to many stakeholders remains: does the 2022 Proposal still exceed BLM’s authority, or has the agency done enough to win a future legal challenge?