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…)
WE KNOW ENERGY®
Bracewell & Giuliani
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…)
Jason Hutt, Heather Palmer and Michael Weller
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…)
Heather Palmer and Michael Weller
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…)
Two weeks ago, we started our series of posts examining the Obama Administration’s final rule redefining the waters subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act by looking at the bottom line, legally, of the waters now considered to be always jurisdictional. We then examined the waters that will probably be (and may be) jurisdictional, as well as a few of the ambiguities remaining in the final rule and some that were resolved by the agencies before finalization. Following two posts on changes we believe the Administration should have made but didn’t and one examining the practical reality of proving jurisdiction under the significant nexus test, today’s post is our last, and we’ll finish 180 degrees from our first one. That post looked at the legal bottom line; today we give you our view of the practical one. (more…)
This is our penultimate post on the Administration’s final Waters of the US rule. For those of you who have read our last 16 posts on the proposed and final rules (hi Mom!), you know we have concerns about the significant nexus test. Our concern is not just the breadth of the test, but its ambiguity and need for case-by-case application. For the regulated community, knowing when one must comply with the law is half the battle (at least). And the significant nexus test, based on neither science nor the language of the Clean Water Act, is an ambiguous, case-by case test.
But apart from its ambiguity, there is the practical reality – the practical difficulty – of actually applying the test. Now that the test has been ensconced into regulation, we’ll take a quick look at the practical implications of applying of the test. (more…)