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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. Endangered Species Listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken Rejected in Widely Precedential Decision

    Thursday, September 3, 2015 11:54 am by

    The endangered species listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) was set aside by a Texas federal court on Tuesday in litigation closely watched by oil and gas interests in the Permian Basin as well as ranchers, farmers and others in west Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. And, while the Court’s decision is important to those entities, it will likely have an impact far beyond those areas, as one of the first court decisions to thoroughly evaluate nascent efforts by industry to fend off a spate of new potential Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings. (more…)


  2. Update on the Waters of the US – Put Away the Tape Measure and Get a Map

    Thursday, August 27, 2015 4:30 pm by

    As those of you who have read our prior blog posts know, one of the primary changes between the proposed and final rules redefining the scope of jurisdictional waters under the Clean Water Act is the more objective measurements contained in the final rule. The proposed rule defined adjacent (and therefore jurisdictional) waters as those within certain scientific boundaries – floodplains and riparian areas, for example, which were defined based on their ecological and hydrological relation to traditionally-navigable and other similar waters. The final rule eliminated the need for this scientific analysis, stating instead that adjacency would be based on distances – waters are automatically jurisdictional a minimum of 100 feet away and up to 1,500 feet away if measured from a high tide line or Great Lake or contained in a 100-year floodplain. Similarly, the significant nexus test applies to features up to 4,000 feet from such waters. This increased clarity makes it easier for the regulated community and regulators to identify jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional waters.

    Today, EPA and the Corps removed a bit of this clarity. (more…)


  3. Watch: Environmental Essentials Webinar August 2015

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015 8:30 am by

    Bracewell hosted our inaugural Environmental Essentials Webinar last Tuesday, kicking off the monthly series with a 30-minute discussion of the Clean Water Rule. (more…)


  4. EPA Proposes Voluntary Methane Emissions Reduction Program

    Thursday, July 30, 2015 10:27 am by

    As a first step toward curbing methane emissions from existing sources, EPA has released a proposed framework for the Natural Gas Star Methane Challenge Program. EPA is scheduled to propose regulations this summer to reduce methane emissions from new and modified sources. Therefore, any sources that exist before the date EPA proposes those regulations would not be required to reduce their methane emissions until EPA adopts methane regulations for existing sources. In order to try to reduce methane emissions from existing sources in the interim, EPA will be looking to industry to voluntarily reduce methane emissions by participating in the Natural Gas Star Methane Challenge Program. (more…)


  5. Decision on Fate of BLM’s Hydraulic Fracturing Rule Expected September 2015

    Friday, July 24, 2015 10:27 am by , and

    The Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM’s”) Hydraulic Fracturing Rule has been stayed until at least September 2015. BLM finalized the rule on March 20, 2015 for application on federal and Indian lands, three years after its initial proposal. However, on June 23, 2015 (the eve of the rule’s effective date), a federal judge in Wyoming stayed implementation of the rule siding with several industry group and state petitioners that had filed lawsuits and sought an injunction. As deadlines have now slipped, based on the current schedule, Judge Scott W. Skavdahl of the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming is not expected to make a final decision on the BLM Rule until September 2015. (more…)


  6. California Hydraulic Fracturing Update

    Tuesday, July 14, 2015 9:55 am by and

    Over the past few years, California has taken strides to update the state’s oil and gas regulatory program to keep pace with new technological advances in resource extraction, such as hydraulic fracturing. One significant milestone was the passage of SB 4 in September 2013, a bill that demonstrated how California would be taking a different approach to hydraulic fracturing and unconventional shale gas development as compared to the approach taken by the State of New York.

    While New York has opted for an outright ban on hydraulic fracturing in the state, California’s SB 4 established interim regulations and laid out plans for a thorough scientific and environmental review of hydraulic fracturing, leading up to the promulgation of permanent regulations, which went into effect on July 1, 2015. (more…)


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