Bracewell & Giuliani



Powered by the attorneys of Bracewell & Giuliani, Energy Legal Blog® is your resource for updates and analysis on national and global energy issues.
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  1. White House: Oil & Gas Industry Must Cut Methane Emissions By 40-45%

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015 3:33 pm by and

    On January 14, 2015, the White House  announced that it would for the first time directly regulate methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.   By choosing to regulate methane directly rather than regulating VOCs, EPA may be seeking to create a legal basis (and perhaps even a legal obligation) to regulate methane emissions from existing oil and gas operations in the future.

    According to the announcement, the oil and gas sector will need to reduce its methane emissions by 40-45% from 2012 emission levels by 2025. Although this announcement did not indicate how industry must achieve these steep reductions, it did clarify that EPA will propose regulations in the Summer of 2015 that will apply to new and modified oil and gas sources.  Because these regulations would be proposed under the Agency’s authority under section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act, they will not reach existing sources.  A final EPA rule is expected in 2016 that would cover activities and equipment such as oil and gas well completions, compressor stations, pumps, gathering stations, and other transmission sources.  (more…)


  2. FERC Policy Proposal – More Modernization Trackers?

    Friday, November 21, 2014 4:27 pm by and

    At its November 20, 2014 meeting, FERC issued a policy proposal to facilitate the recovery of the costs associated with improving pipeline safety and reducing emissions.  Recognizing the fact that several pipeline safety and environmental initiatives will be facing the natural gas industry in the coming months, FERC suggests that pipelines and customers could work together to develop a tracker (e.g., a surcharge on base rates) that recovers those costs associated with pipeline safety and environmental compliance.  Because a modernization and safety tracker could be developed faster than establishing a cost recovery mechanism through the traditional rate case process, FERC reasons that pipelines may be incentivized to undertake the upgrades.  (more…)


  3. Pleasing No One, Fish and Wildlife Service Lists the Gunnison Sage-Grouse as Threatened

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014 3:49 pm by and

    In the latest listing driven by a huge July 2011 settlement with environmental NGOs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier today announced it would list the Gunnison sage-grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The listing comes in the face of objections from both sides.  Colorado’s Governor and both its senators – all Democrats – had worked hard to prevent the listing, while environmentalists warned in advance that they would sue over a threatened listing, demanding that the bird be listed as endangered, not just threatened. (more…)


  4. International Pipeline Projects – Key Considerations for East Africa

    Friday, October 31, 2014 9:53 am by and

    The majority of landlocked Uganda’s estimated 6.5 billion barrels of crude oil reserves are destined to be pumped to the East African coast for export (potentially linking up with supplies from Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia along the way). While preferred export routes continue to be debated, it is likely that multiple pipelines stretching across the East Africa region will be developed in the near future. The development of such infrastructure will be heavily dependent on project finance. In this article, we consider some key issues affecting international pipeline projects that sponsors and host governments in the East Africa region will encounter. (more…)


  5. Sackett Two Years Later: Wetland Jurisdictional Determinations Still Not Appealable

    Thursday, September 25, 2014 10:35 am by

    When the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Sackett v. EPA that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wetland compliance orders were appealable, one question was how far would other courts extend the Supreme Court’s reasoning? Two years later, the answer is becoming clear on at least one front: courts continue to hold that wetland jurisdictional determinations are not appealable.  In Belle Company v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Fifth Circuit was the latest court to say so. (more…)


  6. Courts Affirm Limits on Scope of Environmental Review

    Friday, August 22, 2014 10:46 am by and

    Ruling on a pipeline project and a mine project, two different federal courts issued decisions Monday affirming limits on the scope of environmental review.  The pipeline case was a challenge to Enbridge’s Flanagan South pipeline, designed to transport tar sands crude from Illinois to Oklahoma.  The mine case involved Raven Crest Contracting’s Boone North No. 5 coal mine in West Virginia.  Neither decision breaks new ground; their significance lies in reaffirming that NEPA analysis should be confined to the scope of the federal agencies’ control over the project in question.  These cases encourage federal agencies to fend off demands for broader consideration of social and political issues surrounding major infrastructure projects. (more…)


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