On June 2, 2014, EPA issued a proposed rule to control carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. In its public outreach, EPA presents the rule as requiring a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 from the baseline year 2005. It is true that the rule would result in CO2 emissions that are 30% lower than in 2005, but the actual state-by-state emission reduction requirements are based on a 2012 baseline, which may disadvantage certain states or companies that made significant CO2 reductions before that year. The proposal establishes GHG emission targets for each State (except the District of Columbia and Vermont, which do not have any coal-fired power plants), and the targets represent very different levels of emission reduction in different states based on what EPA believes is economically feasible in each state. (more…)
WE KNOW ENERGY®
Jeff Holmstead, Richard Alonso, Jason Hutt and Grant MacIntyre
Richard Alonso and Grant MacIntyre
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed an expansive rule that would impose additional requirements at petroleum refineries. The proposed rule (which spans 813 pages) is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register, and interested parties will have 60 days from publication to file public comments.
The proposal is a response to a lawsuit from environmental and public health groups alleging that EPA missed statutory deadlines to review the existing refinery Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rules. EPA settled the litigation, agreeing to either propose additional regulations or propose a determination that additional regulations are not necessary. EPA has decided to propose additional regulations and is required to take final action on the proposal by April 17, 2015. (more…)
Tim Wilkins and Charles Nixon
On April 17, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s new greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations became effective, establishing the framework for a new GHG permitting program at TCEQ, which the agency hopes to begin implementing in the summer of 2014. Before this can happen, EPA must officially approve the rules and also rescind the Federal Implementation Plan under which it currently regulates GHGs in Texas.
The rules have immediate implications for a variety of facilities, however. Whereas the changes to the PSD program only involve new or modified facilities, the Title V aspects of the rules affect both new and existing facilities. Any existing facility with a “potential to emit” GHGs above EPA’s “major source” thresholds will have to either obtain a Title V permit or certify to TCEQ that its actual emissions are below the thresholds (found in 30 Tex. Admin. Code § 122.10(14)(H)). The timing of this certification depends on whether the facility currently has a Title V permit for non-GHG emissions. (more…)
Sandra Snyder, Richard Alonso, Salo Zelermyer and Dee Martin
By way of update to last month’s client alert, on April 15, 2014, EPA released five white papers that discuss methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from the oil and gas sector. The release of the white papers is part of the White House’s Climate Action Plan Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.
The white papers cover emissions from five types of emission sources:
- Well completions and production from hydraulically fractured wells
- Liquids unloading
- Pneumatic devices (more…)
On Monday, April 7, the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument in Monroe Energy v. EPA, No. 13-1265, which challenges the 2013 renewable fuels standards (RFS). Judges Rogers, Griffith, and Pillard presided over the argument. Monroe Energy, an independent refiner, and trade associations API and AFPM challenged the 2013 RFS. PBF Holding Company LLC intervened on behalf of Petitioners, and multiple parties intervened on behalf of EPA. (more…)
Last week we discussed various elements of the U.S. EPA’s and Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed rule redefining Waters of the United States. Today, we note a potentially wide-ranging impact of the rule regarding the identification of wetlands.
Wetlands can be difficult for laypersons to identify, as some are wet for as little as 5-12% of the growing season. In mountainous areas of northern states, that can be as little as 4 days, so for much of the year they can be completely dry. But wetlands are regulated like other waters and require a permit before they can be disturbed. As a result, the greater the acreage of jurisdictional wetlands there are on a particular property, the more complex the permitting process will be. (more…)