Wednesday, November 13, 2013 4:02 pm by Lowell Rothschild and Matthew Haynie
Rule Could Have Significant Impact on Infrastructure, Energy and Land Development
On September 18, we blogged about the pending release of a draft rule which would establish the scope of waters subject to the federal Clean Water Act – a rule which could have significant impacts on entities engaged in infrastructure or other land development activities, such as upstream and midstream oil and gas development, highway projects and real estate developers. While still not yet formally proposed, a leaked version of the draft rule has surfaced, providing insight on what the US Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed rule will eventually look like. (more…)
Category: Courts, Enforcement, Environmental, National Energy Law, Upstream Energy
Friday, October 11, 2013 1:39 pm by Elisabeth Drabkin
Yesterday, after many weeks of speculation, the Commission issued an order extending the filing deadline of the 2013 Q3 Electric Quarterly Reports (EQRs) filings from October 31 to “a date to be determined.” This extension follows a series of similar delays and significant technical issues associated with the revised EQR filing requirements put in place by Order Nos. 768, 768-A, and 770.
As part of the preparation for the new filing requirements, FERC had made available to the public an EQR Sandbox Electronic Test Site (Sandbox) that was meant to be a testing platform to help users acclimate to and prepare for the new filing requirements and system. The Sandbox was made available on July 12 and was meant to be available until September 1. Following the testing period, the Sandbox would be taken offline to prepare it to go live well in advance of the original October 31 filing deadline. (more…)
Category: Electric, FERC, National Energy Law
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 11:12 am by Charles.Nixon and Sandra Snyder
Yesterday, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register final amendments to sections of its 2012 New Source Performance Standard OOOO (NSPS OOOO) applicable to storage vessels used in the production, processing, transmission and storage of oil and natural gas. 78 Fed. Reg. 58415. Although the amendments contain a number of helpful changes sought by industry, they also include fast-approaching deadlines for operators of Class I vessels (see below) to test their VOC emissions (October 15, 2013) and report the results to EPA (January 15, 2014). (more…)
Category: Air Quality/Climate Change, Enforcement, Environmental, National Energy Law, Natural Gas/LNG, Upstream Energy
Thursday, September 12, 2013 8:23 am by Kirstin Gibbs and Ty Johnson
On September 11, 2013, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) issued an order authorizing Dominion Cove Point, LNG, LP (“Cove Point”) to export to non-Free Trade Agreement (“FTA”) countries up to 0.77 Bcf/day of domestically produced liquefied natural gas. This is the fourth order authorizing non-FTA LNG exports, coming after similar orders for Sabine Pass, Freeport, and Lake Charles. The Cove Point order brings the cumulative total of authorized LNG exports up to 6.37 Bcf/day, which is slightly greater than the “low” export case evaluated in the DOE-commissioned LNG Export Study that evaluated the economic impacts of exporting domestic LNG.
While DOE has suggested it would issue orders every six to eight weeks, the Cove Point order comes after just five weeks since the Lake Charles order (August 7, 2013). It’s unclear if DOE is hastening its pace, but a reduced delay between orders is likely to please Senator Murkowski, who has asked DOE to expedite the approvals. Still, even at the quicker pace it could take DOE over two years to process the remaining 20 pending applications, assuming DOE does not pause its review of the applications. (more…)
Category: DOE, National Energy Law, Natural Gas/LNG
Friday, August 16, 2013 11:09 am by Sandra Snyder
August has been a busy month for issues related to the Renewable Fuels Standard (“RFS”).
On August 6, EPA denied the petitions for reconsideration filed by the American Petroleum Institute (“API”) and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (“AFPM”) regarding the 2013 Biomass-Based Diesel Renewable Fuel Volume. EPA sent a letter to AFPM and another to API before publishing notice of this decision in the Federal Register on August 14. As EPA’s technical response memo explains, EPA believes that there is no need to reconsider the applicable volume of biomass-based diesel for 2013 because the issues raised by API and AFPM could have been raised during the comment period and the issues raised do not provide substantial support for revising the standard. In particular, EPA explained that there is no statutory prohibition to increasing the biomass-based diesel requirement over the 1.0 billion gallon standard even that will result in higher prices. EPA disregarded two other arguments by explaining that when the Agency set the 2013 standard, it was aware of and considered both the 2012 drought and the RIN fraud issue. (more…)
Category: Air Quality/Climate Change, Courts, Environmental, National Energy Law, Renewable Energy/Cleantech
Monday, August 12, 2013 8:12 am by David Poe and Lowell Rothschild
Early Friday evening, President Obama signed into law two bills which aim to speed the licensing and environmental approval of low-impact hydropower projects. One bill is focused on projects under 5 megawatts constructed in manmade conduits - tunnels, canals, pipelines, aqueducts, flumes, ditches, or similar water conveyances – operated for the distribution of water for agricultural, municipal, or industrial consumption. These facilities no longer require FERC licensing, and therefore should be able to move forward much more expeditiously. Another provision allows slightly larger facilities – those with a capacity up to 10 kilowatts – to also be exempted from FERC licensing requirements by FERC Rule or Order. The last major provision of this bill requires FERC to examine the potential of issuing in only 2 years (including prefiling) all future licenses for hydropower development at nonpowered dams and closed loop pumped storage projects. The bill authorizes pilot projects and workshops to assist in the development of such a two-year process. The second bill stresses the need for streamlining the environmental review (essentially NEPA) process, ordering the Bureau of Reclamation to categorically exclude from the NEPA process such small conduit projects. (more…)
Category: Environmental, FERC, National Energy Law, Power, Renewable Energy/Cleantech