Energy Department

Energy Department in the United States

Energy Legal Materials

All kinds of information about oil, gas, electricity, coal and other forms of energy used in the U.S. are posted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. For other countries, see Europe’s Energy Portal.

U.S. Federal and state energy policy developments are covered extensively by a newsletter called Greenwire, while the Environment & Energy Daily covers energy issues before the U.S. Congress. Both are available from E&E Publishing. For more journals, see the “Periodicals” section of Lauren Schroeder’s Researching Oil & Gas Law.

Leasing: A natural resource “lease” is a contract between a landowner and a company that give the company the right to enter the land, explore for the resource, remove it and produce it. Leases granted by the U.S. Federal government are handled by three Bureaus within the department of the interior – the Bureau of Land Management(leases on Federal land), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, formerly the Mineral Management Service (offshore leasing), and the Bureau of Indian Affairs(leasing on Indian lands).

Deal News: For news about energy business transactions, see SparkSpread (“real time energy transaction and financing news”) and Project Finance magazine (a Euromoney publication), both available by subscription. Project Finance is also available on Lexis (NEWS;PROJFN), with a 2-week delay. NextEra Energy Resourcescompiles information (RFPs, status, etc.) on energy generation projects, particularly renewables but also oil, gas, electric and coal.

A. Nuclear Energy

123 Agreements: 123 Agreements are treaties between the U.S. and foreign countries that allow non-military nuclear cooperation. A 123 Agreement must be in place before a U.S. company can obtain an export license to sell nuclear equipment or materials to another country (per Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act).

123 agreements are published in U.S. Treaties and Other International Agreements(search the phrase “Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy” as part of the title). The states that have signed 123 Agreements with the U.S. are listed on the NNSA’s 123 Agreements for Peaceful Cooperation page, and a few countries hyperlink to the relevant Agreements. If you search, you can also find 123 Agreements posted on various websites.

Libraries: A site called INLN catalogs online links to catalogs for national nuclear energy libraries and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Maintenance and Operations Contracts: The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration contracts out the maintenance and operations of various nuclear facilities to private companies. These M&O contracts are public documents and can be found on the M&O Support Department page of the NNSA website.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulates the production of nuclear energy in the U.S. The NRC website provides information about the agency and its activities, and the ADAMS database contains documents the NRC wants to make available to the public as of November 1, 1999, plus citations to earlier documents.

The NRC’s Orders and Decisions are officially published in NRC Issuances, available in print and in the “U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions and Appeals” module of HeinOnline. Decisions are informally posed on the Hearings page of the NRC website.

Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statements: The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (P.L. 95-242; 42 U.S.C. §2153 et seq.) requires the enactment of a non-proliferation agreement/treaty before there can be any nuclear cooperation between the U.S. (and a U.S. companies) and a foreign country (or company). The agreement must be submitted to Congress by the president with a transmittal letter and a Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statement (NPAS). The NPAS is drafted by the State Department. NPAS’s can be classified or not, and they always include a classified Annex. Many non-classified NPAS’s are posted on the internet and can be found with a good search engine; otherwise, they are published in the Serial Set (discussed in “Congressional Reports”) along with the President’s transmittal letter. The President’s transmittal letter is also published in the Public Papers of the President (see “Presidential Materials”). The agreements are found with other treaties (see “Treaties – U.S.”) For more information, see the GAO’s Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer.

NUREGs: NUREGs are a series of Regulatory and Technical Reports by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. There are several kind including “Publications by NRC staff” (cited as NUREG-xxxx), “Publications by NRC contractors” (NUREG/CR-xxxx), “Publications resulting from international agreements” (NUREG/IA-xxxx), “Brochures by NRC staff” (NUREG/BR-xxxx and “Conference Proceedings” (NUREG/CP-xxxx).

Free online options: Some NUREGs are available through the NUREG-Series Publications page of the NRC website or the NRC’s Agency wide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS). Both pages have search boxes, but if that doesn’t work try the master search on the NRC’s Search Results page. Also, some NUREGS are available free through the Information Bridge. And it can’t hurt to look around with a good search engine to see if someone else has posted a particular NUREG on their website.

Fee-based online: If you can’t find a free copy, NUREGs can be purchased in PDF format from NTIS. I bought one for about $25 in 2012. Subcribers can get NUREGs from Scientech’s extensive WebCARL database.

Depository Libraries: NUREGs are sold by the GPO as individual government documents and collected by Federal Depository Libraries; use WorldCat to find libraries holding the one(s) you need.

B. Oil and Natural Gas

Baker Hughes posts a “Rig Count” page that tell the number of oil well in the U.S., Canada, other countries and individual states. The Oil & Gas Journal compiles a number of useful surveys, including the OGJ 150 and OGJ 100, which provide basic data on the largest U.S. and foreign oil and gas companies including assets, revenues, income, capital and exploratory expenditures, production and reserves. The OGJ 150/100 generally appears in the October print issue and is available for subscribers online with the other Surveys. For individual companies, proved reserves (also called “proven reserves”) are generally reported in the Annual Report and/or 10-K.

The Oil & Gas Journal also publishes industry statistics.

In Researching Oil & Gas Law, Lauren Schroeder lists the following U.S. treatises:

  • American Gas Association, Regulation of the Gas Industry
  • Earl A. Brown, The Law of Oil and Gas Leases
  • Kramer & Martin, The Law of Pooling and Unitization
  • Kramer & Martin (originally Williams & Meyers) Oil and Gas Law  Eugene O. Kuntz,A Treatise on the Law of Oil and Gas
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Foundation, Law of Federal Oil and Gas Leases
  • W.L. Summers, The Law of Oil and Gas
  • For data on fracking, see the Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure and Education websites, which includes a Find a Well database.

    Tariff filings: Leonard B. Levine & Associates provides information about oil pipelines including Oil Pipeline Financial and Operating Reports, Oil Pipeline Tariff Monitor (a newsletter summarizing oil pipeline tariff filings) and Oil Pipeline Tariff Monitor Online Databases. “Approximately 170 oil pipelines file interstate tariffs with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). … Tariff filings show what liquid pipelines are doing: increasing or decreasing rates, adding or dropping services, or changing ownership.” Note: some tariff filing information is available free on


    See Also

    Commodity Prices
    Environmental Law
    Futures Contracts
    United States Department of Energy
    Weights and Measures

    Further Reading

    Energy Department: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

    Federal Primary Materials

    The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Energy Department. This part provides references, in relation to Energy Department, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

    Federal primary materials about Energy Department by content types:

    Laws and Regulations

    US Constitution
    Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

    Federal Case Law and Court Materials

    U.S. Courts of Appeals
    United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

    Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

    Presidential Materials

    Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

    Executive Materials

    Federal Legislative History Materials

    Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Energy Department and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Energy Department or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

    State Administrative Materials and Resources

    State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Energy Department and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Energy Department. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Energy Department should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

    State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

    State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Energy Department when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

    Tools and Forms

    Law in Other Regions

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