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Texas Environmental Update

March 18, 2013

The environmental practice of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP offers seamless, front-rank representation in local, state, national, and cross-border regulatory, enforcement, and litigation matters, as well as experienced counsel on the environmental aspects of transactions and operations across the country and around the world. We are dedicated to helping clients successfully navigate complex and costly environmental issues and to building longstanding client relationships founded on superior advice, integrity, and value. We are pleased to provide you with this issue of Bracewell's Texas Environmental Update, offering the latest news about permitting, enforcement, regulatory developments, and other matters of interest to the regulated community in Texas.


Two Polar Bear Decisions in Two Weeks: Their significance for Climate Change, Endangered Species and Project Development
Energy Legal Blog, March 14, 2013
The end of February saw a flurry of news regarding the status of the Polar Bear under the Endangered Species Act. On February 20, the US Fish and Wildlife Service reissued its so-called "4(d)" rule regarding the Bear, outlining the rules "necessary and advisable" to protect it. Nine days later, the U.S. Court of Appeals [...]


Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' March 27, 2013 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

In the News:


State Attorney General Seeks Stay in Whooping Crane Case
Austin American-Statesman, March 15, 2013
"Only days after environmentalists won a victory in an endangered whooping cranes case that has wide-ranging implications for water use in Texas, Attorney General Greg Abbott on Friday sought an emergency stay in federal district court."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, March 8, 2013


Water Shortage in Valley Again Fuels Tensions With Mexico
San Antonio Express-News, March 10, 2013
"Rio Grande Valley irrigation manager Jo Jo White remembers clearly how ugly things got about a decade ago, when drought left Mexico without the water it needed to supply what it owed the U.S. under a 1944 treaty."


U.S. May Ease Power-Plant Emissions Rule
philly.com, March 17, 2013
"WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is leaning toward revising its landmark proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, according to several individuals briefed on the matter, a move that would delay tougher restrictions and could anger many environmentalists."

Final Rule, Revision to Ambient Nitrogen Dioxide Monitoring Requirements
78 Federal Register 16184, March 14, 2013

Correction, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines; New Source Performance Standards for Stationary Internal Combustion Engines
78 Federal Register 14457, March 6, 2013

McCarthy Confirmation Viewed as Likely After Debate on Emissions Policy
Roll Call, March 4, 2013
"President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the EPA during his second term is familiar to many on Capitol Hill, has some bipartisan credentials from past stints in New England state governments and was previously confirmed by the Senate for her current post as head of the agency's air office."


Notice of Online Availability of Revised Incident and Accident Report Forms and Request for Supplemental Reports; Pipeline Safety: Incident and Accident Reports
78 Federal Register 14877, March 7, 2013


Enough Water Is Seen for Oil Shale
San Antonio Express-News, March 13, 2013
"The 24-member Eagle Ford Task Force released a report Tuesday that answered the controversial question of whether there's enough water available for hydraulic fracturing and other uses such as agricultural."


Environmental Bills Make Rounds at Legislature
Austin American-Statesman, March 15, 2013
"The environmental proposals filed this legislative session that have won the most attention are about water, especially about the financing of major pipeline and reservoir projects meant to improve water supplies."

Water Bill Is Headed to House Floor
San Antonio Express-News, March 14, 2013
"As most of Texas deals with a third year of drought and water restrictions, a bill to use $2 billion of the state's rainy day fund to increase supplies took a big step Thursday toward becoming law."

Eminent Domain Comes to the Texas Legislature
StateImpact Texas, March 14, 2013
"When supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline said it would bring jobs to Texas, they probably weren't talking about jobs for lawyers."

Ambiguities Persist in Regulating Water Withdrawals for Fracking
StateImpact Texas, March 13, 2013
"In Karnes County, at the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale, oil and gas drillers seeking to use water for hydraulic fracturing must get a permit from the local groundwater authority."

LCRA Reservoir Not on State Water Projects Priority List
Austin American-Statesman, March 11, 2013
"A major reservoir project meant to ease the strain on lakes Travis and Buchanan, the major reservoirs of Central Texas, is not among the water projects deemed most worthy for low-interest loans from the state of Texas."

Nursery Industry Looks to Austin for Action on Water
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 10, 2013
"FORT WORTH -- The plants and flowers are arriving daily by the truckload."


White: Federal Law Endangers Texas Water Supply
Austin American-Statesman, March 10, 2013
"There is nothing like persistent drought to remind our lawmakers that Texas is significantly behind schedule on completion of needed projects to increase the Texas water supply."


Domestic Policies to Reduce the Near-Term Risks of Climate Change
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, March 12, 2013
"Because of their relatively short atmospheric lifetimes (e.g., weeks to a few decades), cuts in methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) will produce significant near-term climate benefits."

Shale Gas Development Impacts on Surface Water Quality in Pennsylvania
National Academies Press, March 11, 2013
"This paper conducts a large-scale examination of the extent to which shale gas development activities affect surface water quality."

Eagle Ford Shale Task Force Report
Texas Railroad Commission Web Site, March 2013
"The shale revolution is sweeping the country and revolutionizing energy and the economy, with Texas and the Eagle Ford Shale leading the way."

Renewable Energy: Agencies Have Taken Steps Aimed at Improving the Permitting Process for Development on Federal Lands
Government Accountability Office Web Site, January 2013
"Since passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005), federal land management agencies-primarily the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-have received hundreds of applications for utility-scale renewable energy projects and authorized 25 projects: 7 wind, 10 solar, and 8 geothermal projects."