Update on State of Texas NPDES Application to Issue Federal Discharge Permits for Oil and Gas Facilities

EPA Review Process On October 12, 2020, Region 6 of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) received a delegation request from the State of Texas seeking authority to issue federal permits for discharges of produced water, hydrostatic test water and gas plant effluent from certain oil and gas activities into water in the state. The State of Texas (“State”) submitted the delegation request pursuant to the requirements of House Bill 2771, 86 th Texas Legislature, 2019. The EPA review of the delegation request will proceed under 40 CFR Part 123. Under Section 123.61(b), within...

TCEQ Accepting Comments on Proposed Changes to Penalty Policy

At a September 24, 2020 Work Session, TCEQ Executive Director Toby Baker sought approval from the TCEQ Commissioners to propose changes to the TCEQ’s Penalty Policy (RG-253) that will give the agency discretion to significantly increase administrative penalties for certain violations. The TCEQ formally opened the public comment period on the proposed changes on September 30, 2020, and will be accepting public comments on the proposed changes through October 30, 2020. The TCEQ Penalty Policy establishes the policies that the agency uses in calculating penalties for purposes of administrative...

FERC Issues Landmark Order on Distributed Energy Resources

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) issued a landmark final rule, Order No. 2222 , at its September 17, 2020 open meeting that aims to remove barriers for distributed energy resources (“DER”) to participate in wholesale markets regulated by FERC through aggregators. As defined by FERC, DER is “any resource located on the distribution system, any subsystem thereof or behind a customer meter.” [1] DER, thus, refers to resources that provide electricity near the point of use as opposed to centralized generation sources from utility-scale power plants that are often...

FERC Redefines QF Eligibility Requirements

On September 1, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) issued an order breaking with decades of precedent regarding how it will determine whether a renewable resource is eligible for certification as a qualifying small power production facility (“QF”) pursuant to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, as amended (“PURPA”). [1] The result of the Commission’s order is that renewable resources will no longer have the ability to qualify for QF status by voluntarily limiting their output to comply with the 80 MW cap on small power production facilities...

FERC Staff Report on High Voltage Transmission Development to Congress

On Friday, August 7, 2020, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) Staff sent a report to Congress examining the “barriers and opportunities for high voltage transmission.” FERC Staff prepared this report in accordance with the Congressional directive contained in the 2020 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act. 2020, Pub. L. No. 116-94 (Dec. 20, 2019). The report reviews the relevant studies, analyses, FERC orders and polices, and other regulations that have an effect on the construction and development of high voltage transmission lines in the U.S. [1] The primary thesis of the...
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