Today, the California Department of Conservation (“DOC”) released proposed regulations applicable to oil and gas well stimulation activities in the state. This follows up on the passage of SB 4 back on September 20, 2013, which established the first set of requirements specifically associated with hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation techniques. Previously, in December 2012, the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) released a pre-rulemaking “discussion draft” of regulations applicable to hydraulic fracturing. However, that discussion draft did not trigger the formal rulemaking process and simply acted as a means of engaging stakeholders in the process early on. DOGGR withdrew the discussion draft following the passage of SB 4. (more…)
WE KNOW ENERGY®
Heather Corken, Jason Hutt and Michael Weller
Lowell Rothschild and Matthew Haynie
Rule Could Have Significant Impact on Infrastructure, Energy and Land Development
On September 18, we blogged about the pending release of a draft rule which would establish the scope of waters subject to the federal Clean Water Act – a rule which could have significant impacts on entities engaged in infrastructure or other land development activities, such as upstream and midstream oil and gas development, highway projects and real estate developers. While still not yet formally proposed, a leaked version of the draft rule has surfaced, providing insight on what the US Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed rule will eventually look like. (more…)
Fracking in Europe – EU Parliament has voted to require Environmental Impact Assessments for shale gas developmentsTuesday, October 22, 2013 9:46 am by Alastair Young, Darren Spalding, Jason Hutt and Olga Galin
On 9 October 2013, the European Parliament narrowly voted in favour of an amendment to the EU’s Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (EIA Directive) which would require environmental impact assessments (EIAs) to be performed for hydraulic fracturing for coal bed methane, and in shale and formations with shale-like permeability and porosity. If the amendment becomes law, the amended EIA Directive would require all private and public shale gas and many other unconventional exploration projects involving hydraulic fracturing in the EU to undertake an EIA.
The effect of this change would be to remove the discretion that EU Member States currently have as to whether or not to require a full EIA as part of the permitting process for certain projects. (more…)
Charles Nixon and Tim Wilkins
On October 4th, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) released a preliminary draft of a proposal to establish greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting regulations for the state of Texas. This action kicks off what is likely to be a lively discussion between stakeholders and regulators over the design of Texas’s GHG permitting program. But it represents a first step toward an important change from the status quo.
For almost three years now, Texas companies have been subject to two different permitting authorities for air permits: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues GHG permits under a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP), while TCEQ issues permits for all other regulated pollutants. The dual permitting scheme has not been a model of efficiency. (more…)
Charles.Nixon and Sandra Snyder
Yesterday, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register final amendments to sections of its 2012 New Source Performance Standard OOOO (NSPS OOOO) applicable to storage vessels used in the production, processing, transmission and storage of oil and natural gas. 78 Fed. Reg. 58415. Although the amendments contain a number of helpful changes sought by industry, they also include fast-approaching deadlines for operators of Class I vessels (see below) to test their VOC emissions (October 15, 2013) and report the results to EPA (January 15, 2014). (more…)
Heather Corken, Kevin Ewing and Lowell Rothschild
On September 10, 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (APNRM) in the Federal Register stating its intent to propose regulations that will require vessels engaged in exploration, development or production activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to develop, implement, and maintain a vessel-specific Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS). The proposed rulemaking would be far-reaching as the Coast Guard estimates that approximately 2,200 foreign and domestic vessels engaged in OCS activities could be affected by this regulatory action, including offshore supply vessels (OSVs), liftboats, mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs), and other vessels under Coast Guard jurisdiction. (more…)