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.
  1. 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…)

  2. 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…)

  3. The Final Waters of the US Rule: The Practical Bottom Line

    Tuesday, June 9, 2015 10:33 am by

    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…)

  4. The Final Waters of the US Rule: The Practical Application of the Significant Nexus Test

    Monday, June 8, 2015 9:33 am by

    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…)

  5. The Final Waters of the US Rule: Traditionally Navigable Waters and the Possibility of Future Use

    Friday, June 5, 2015 8:17 am by

    Yesterday, we looked at one of the core definitions in the Waters of the U.S. rule – that of “wetlands” – and suggested that, while the agencies didn’t change it, perhaps they should have. Today we’ll look at another static term – “Traditionally Navigable Waters.” It, too, has been unchanged for the last three decades and probably should have been modified in the final rule. Given the term’s newfound significance in the regulatory structure, the failure of the Agencies to do so adds unnecessary complexity and confusion to the process of identifying jurisdictional waters. (more…)

  6. The Final Waters of the US Rule: What’s a Wetland?

    Thursday, June 4, 2015 8:29 am by

    TexasBarToday_TopTen_Badge_SmallFor the last week, we’ve looked at some of the clarifications made in, and ambiguities remaining after the Administration finalized, the final rule redefining federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. So far, we’ve only addressed changes made by the Agencies, but today and tomorrow we will note two provisions they didn’t change. As a result, time has passed by these provisions, with possibly significant consequences. (more…)

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