JUDGES SAY FEDERAL INTERESTS PREEMPT NEW JERSEY LAW

A panel from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a lower court’s decision to strike down a New Jersey law aimed at promoting new power generation facilities in the state. New Jersey’s Long Term Capacity Pilot Program Act guaranteed revenue to new generators by fixing rates – but the federal government has ‘exclusive control over interstate rates for wholesales of electric capacity,’ the judges wrote. “So when New Jersey arranged for LCAPP generators to receive preferential capacity rates, the state entered into a field of regulation beyond its authority,” wrote Judges Julio M. Fuentes and Patty Shwartz of the Third Circuit and Judge Lee H. Rosenthal of the Southern District of Texas, who was sitting on the case by special designation. The judges noted that they were not ruling on an argument that state laws are preempted ‘whenever a state’s legislation indirectly affects matters within FERC’s jurisdiction,’ adding: ‘By statute and tradition, states have a role to play in energy markets.

A member of the American Bar Association, Martin Milita is the senior director of Duane Morris Government Strategies LLC. Tackling all forms of government relations and public affairs, Martin Milita is an advocate for green energy and most recently has worked with PEW ENERGY TRUST on Grassroots renewable and sustainable energy campaigns.

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

The International Bridge, Tunnel & Turnpike Association (IBTTA) is the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve them. Today their annual meeting is taking place in Austin, Texas. Austin doesn’t immediately spring to mind as one of the nation’s tech centers, but as home to Dell Inc. and WP Engine, a hosting company for WordPress websites, Austin is steadily becoming a tech destination thanks to a startup-friendly culture fostered by the University of Texas at Austin and an attractive statewide tax system that eschews personal and corporate income taxes.

Founded in 1932, IBTTA has members in more than 20 countries and on six continents. Through advocacy, thought leadership and education, members are implementing state-of-the-art, innovative user-based transportation financing solutions to address the critical infrastructure challenges of the 21st century. Today George P. Zilocchi, a past president of the IBTTA, is in Austin for the meeting. Mr. Zilocchi has more than 40 years of experience in transportation management, administration and finance. As Executive Director of the New Jersey Highway Authority (operators of the Garden State Parkway and Garden State Arts Center), he was responsible for an Operating Budget of over $200 million and an Annual Capital Program totaling more than $50 million. Mr. Zilocchi’s firm GeoPat- a Transportation Consulting organization- has teamed with Duane Morris Government Strategies to consult on all forms of public affairs- lobbying, business development, green energy and grassroots. Duane Morris Government Strategies is an ancillary business of the International law firm Duane Morris.

Oil and gas-rich Houston has been getting a lot of love from national law firms eager to capitalize on the city’s seemingly inexhaustible need for legal work, but experts say firms should also keep tech-focused Austin in mind.