Wednesday, April 16, 2014 5:22 pm by Sandra Snyder, Richard Alonso, Salo Zelermyer and Dee Martin
By way of update to last month’s client alert, on April 15, 2014, EPA released five white papers that discuss methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from the oil and gas sector. The release of the white papers is part of the White House’s Climate Action Plan Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.
The white papers cover emissions from five types of emission sources:
- Well completions and production from hydraulically fractured wells
- Liquids unloading
- Pneumatic devices (more…)
Category: Air Quality/Climate Change, Enforcement, Environmental, Midstream, National Energy Law, Natural Gas/LNG, Shale Development, Upstream Energy
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 3:06 pm by Sandra Snyder
On Monday, April 7, the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument in Monroe Energy v. EPA, No. 13-1265, which challenges the 2013 renewable fuels standards (RFS). Judges Rogers, Griffith, and Pillard presided over the argument. Monroe Energy, an independent refiner, and trade associations API and AFPM challenged the 2013 RFS. PBF Holding Company LLC intervened on behalf of Petitioners, and multiple parties intervened on behalf of EPA. (more…)
Category: Air Quality/Climate Change, Courts, Enforcement, Environmental, Litigation, National Energy Law, Renewable Energy/Cleantech
Monday, April 7, 2014 12:55 pm by Lowell Rothschild
Last week we discussed various elements of the U.S. EPA’s and Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed rule redefining Waters of the United States. Today, we note a potentially wide-ranging impact of the rule regarding the identification of wetlands.
Wetlands can be difficult for laypersons to identify, as some are wet for as little as 5-12% of the growing season. In mountainous areas of northern states, that can be as little as 4 days, so for much of the year they can be completely dry. But wetlands are regulated like other waters and require a permit before they can be disturbed. As a result, the greater the acreage of jurisdictional wetlands there are on a particular property, the more complex the permitting process will be. (more…)
Category: Courts, Enforcement, Environmental, Litigation, National Energy Law, Natural Gas/LNG, Regional Energy Law, Shale Development, Upstream Energy
Friday, April 4, 2014 8:00 am by Tim Wilkins and Grant MacIntyre
We’ve blogged about the scope of EPA’s proposed Waters of the United States rule and whether it provides any additional clarity to the current regulatory scheme. With this post, we’ll start to outline some direct potential impacts on different segments of industry. Today, we briefly examine what an expanded regulatory scope of waters could mean for industries required to comply with the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule under the Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act. (more…)
Category: Courts, Environmental, EPAct 2005, Litigation
Thursday, April 3, 2014 8:00 am by Lowell Rothschild
Yesterday, we continued examining the confusion inherent in EPA and the Corps’ proposed rule redefining “Waters of the U.S.” Today we finish that analysis by asking what is left of the Significant Nexus test, if anything.
As we discussed on Monday, the proposed rule tries to have its cake and eat it too. The rule describes certain waters that are deemed always to have a significant nexus – and so are always jurisdictional – but also retains the significant nexus test for use on case-by-case basis. As a reminder, under the proposed rule, “significant nexus” waters are jurisdictional if
alone or in combination with other similarly situated waters in the region. . . [they] significantly affect the chemical, physical, or biological integrity of a [traditionally navigable or interstate water or the territorial seas]
(Our emphasis). This test, which the agencies have been using since 2007 used to be opaque; its place in the new rule makes it even more so. (more…)
Category: Courts, Enforcement, Environmental, Litigation, National Energy Law, Upstream Energy
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 8:00 am by Lowell Rothschild
On April 1, we looked at the opaque definitions of riparian area and floodplain in EPA and the Corps’ proposed rule redefining “Waters of the U.S.” Unfortunately, part of the definition of another term – tributary – also raises more questions than it answers.
We looked at part of the definition of tributary last Thursday, when examining the reach of the agencies’ jurisdiction upstream from traditionally navigable and interstate waters. At the time, we discussed the portion of the definition that identifies a tributary as any feature with a bed and bank that contributes flow to any downstream jurisdictional water. But that’s only part of the definition. It continues: (more…)
Category: Enforcement, Environmental, Litigation, National Energy Law, Upstream Energy