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  1. DOT Proposes Crude-by-Rail Safety Changes

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014 1:46 pm by

    Earlier today, the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released two proposals designed to enhance the safety of the transportation of crude by rail. The first, short proposal seeks comments on a potential rulemaking which would increase the oil-spill planning required for crude by rail transport. The second, more lengthy proposal seeks comments on a suite of enhancements intended to enhance the safety of rail transportation itself. (more…)


  2. EPA Adopts Quality Assurance Program to Reduce RIN Fraud

    Friday, July 18, 2014 9:13 am by

    To address past issues associated with invalid Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) generated for compliance with the renewable fuels standard (RFS), EPA has established a voluntary quality-assurance program (QAP).  79 Fed. Reg. 42,078 (July 18, 2014).

    Types of RINs Available

    Under the voluntary QAP, independent third-party auditors can certify the validity of various types of RINs.  Three of the four types of RINs available to establish compliance under the RFS program are verified RINs: (more…)


  3. Environmental Regulations Impacting the Energy Industry – Summer 2014

    Friday, June 20, 2014 11:06 am by


  4. OSHA’s Permian Expansion Signals Increased Scrutiny of Safety in the Oil Patch

    Thursday, June 19, 2014 12:00 pm by and

    During a 2013 visit to Texas, Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor and Administrator of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), spoke at multiple stakeholder events of OSHA’s growing concerns with respect to worker safety in the Texas oil patch. Dr. Michaels left no doubt during his Texas visit that he and his agency would devote greater resources to regulating the industry.

    Last week, as part of that enhanced enforcement focus, OSHA announced that it is elevating its Lubbock location from a district office under the El Paso area office to a full area office. The agency is also growing its enforcement team in the Lubbock office, adding three new compliance officers who will concentrate primarily on oil and gas operations.

    (more…)


  5. Supreme Court to Determine Whether Agencies Must Undergo Notice and Comment Prior to Changing an Interpretation

    Monday, June 16, 2014 2:07 pm by and

    The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could have far-ranging implications for agency proclamations that impact the business community.  On Monday, June 16, 2014, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Nickols v. Mortgage Bankers Assoc., No. 13-1052.  The Supreme Court will address “[w]hether agencies subject to the Administrative Procedure Act are categorically prohibited from revising their interpretative rules unless such revisions are made through notice-and-comment rulemaking.” (more…)


  6. EPA Proposes Rule Seeking to Curb GHG Emissions and Dampen U.S. Appetite for Electricity

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014 12:37 pm by , , and

    On June 2, 2014, EPA issued a proposed rule to control carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.  In its public outreach, EPA presents the rule as requiring a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 from the baseline year 2005.  It is true that the rule would result in CO2 emissions that are 30% lower than in 2005, but the actual state-by-state emission reduction requirements are based on a 2012 baseline, which may disadvantage certain states or companies that made significant CO2 reductions before that year.  The proposal establishes GHG emission targets for each State (except the District of Columbia and Vermont, which do not have any coal-fired power plants), and the targets represent very different levels of emission reduction in different states based on what EPA believes is economically feasible in each state. (more…)


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