Powered by the attorneys of Bracewell, Energy Legal Blog® is your resource for updates and analysis on national and global energy issues.
  1. EPA Issues Proposed SIP Call to Shore Up GHG Permitting for Stationary Sources

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010 3:02 pm by

    On January 2, 2011, EPA will for the first time regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources.   This comes as a result of a series of regulatory developments during the past year, culminating with EPA’s regulation of GHG emissions from light-duty vehicles, which becomes effective on January 2, triggering GHG regulatory requirements for stationary sources under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program. 

    In anticipation of that effective date, EPA has undertaken several additional rulemakings.  Most notably, EPA issued its Tailoring Rule, which limits GHG permitting requirements to larger facilities, sharply reducing the number and type of stationary sources that are likely be affected by the PSD permitting requirements.  Following on that rule, EPA has now offered additional proposed GHG-related regulations designed to further prepare for the new PSD permitting program requirements taking effect early next year.  The newest proposal attempts to ensure that states are prepared to issue GHG emissions permits under the program and creates a means by which EPA can step in and issue permits if necessary.

    The rules propose: (more…)

  2. Fracking Regulation Debate Intensifies As EPA’s Final Public Hearings Come to a Close

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 10:29 am by

    Under Congressional mandate, EPA has just concluded a series of public hearings as part of its hydraulic fracturing study. While the September 28 deadline for public comments is right around the corner, the study is not due to be delivered to Congress until 2012.

    Bracewell attorneys Jason Hutt and Matt Armstrong joined a public debate on the prospects of federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing on the National Journal’s energy and environmental blog. In their guest post, they discuss a number of factors that should come into play as the EPA study progresses and the federal government considers regulation. These include the rapid increase of hydraulic fracturing due to horizontal drilling methods, balancing environmental concerns with the benefits of economic development, existing federal and state laws that impact natural gas development, and the marginal benefit achieved by proposed federal legislation. To read the debate, click here.

  3. FERC Modifies Penalty Guidelines to Dampen Industry Ire

    Friday, September 17, 2010 2:28 pm by

    FERC announced September 16 its approval of a modified version of its proposed Penalty Guidelines.  This approval comes after months of fielding and reviewing industry comments against its original proposal, which would have imposed standards and guidelines on the penalties that the agency could impose for violations of its regulations and policies.  Based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, the proposed Guidelines assigned a “base level” number to violations.  The base level could then be adjusted up or down based on factors such as the specific facts at issue and the offending company’s response to the violation.


  4. State Government Investigation of Propane Odorization Sets Stage for More Legal, PR and Regulatory Challenges

    Friday, September 10, 2010 7:25 am by

    An Illinois-based gas distributor announced yesterday that propane deliveries to at least 12 states may have lacked odorants that normally alert homeowners to possible gas leaks. The announcement comes on the heels of a recently announced state government investigation.

    On September 2, 2010, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley held a press conference to discuss an ongoing investigation of underodorized propane shipped throughout New England.  The joint investigation, undertaken with the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services and the State Police, tracked the source of the underodorized gas through the distribution chain to a single facility in Westfield operated by DCP Midstream, LLC.  DCP and at least six of the sites that received underodorized propane have volunteered to temporarily shut down operations.  The investigation began following a gas explosion at a Norfolk, Massachusetts condominium in July 2010 that led to the death of a worker.  State authorities believe the odor was insufficient for the worker to detect, resulting in the conditions leading up to the explosion. (more…)

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