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Texas Environmental Update

February 14, 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.


Fish and Wildlife Maps Out the Next 5 Years of Endangered Species Activity
Bracewell Blog, February 13, 2013
On Friday, the Fish and Wildlife Service published a workplan which is required reading for any entity seeking to undertake project development in the US in the next five years. Spurred by litigation into acting on its tremendous backlog of Endangered Species listings and Critical Habitat designations, FWS has planned out the actions it will take every year for the next five years for 455 different species. The workplan is a guidepost to the regulated community of where and when [...]


Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' February 27, 2013 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

Commissioners' February 13, 2013 Agenda Meeting Webcast

In the News:


TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $533,296
TCEQ Web Site, February 13, 2013
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $383,507 against 27 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."

Polluters and Penalties: Will Higher Fines Make a Difference in Texas?
StateImpact Texas, February 11, 2013
"For years, critics of how Texas enforces environmental regulations have charged that polluters didn't pay enough when caught, that it was cheaper for big corporations to pay the fine than obey the law."

Regulatory Developments

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


TCEQ Approves LCRA Plan for Emergency Drought Relief
Victoria Advocate, February 13, 2013
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on Wednesday approved Lower Colorado River Authority's request for emergency drought relief for an unprecedented second year in a row, according to a news release issued Wednesday."

Some Parts of Texas Approaching Worst-Ever Drought
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 5, 2013
"AUSTIN, Texas - Texas continues to suffer a serious rainfall deficit and is on track to experience the second-worst drought on record, the state climatologist said Tuesday."


Commercial Wind Leasing and Site Assessment Activities on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore North Carolina; Reopening of Comment Period
78 Federal Register 8190, February 5, 2013

Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore North Carolina - Call for Information and Nominations (Call); Reopening of Comment Period
78 Federal Register 8190, February 5, 2013


Environmental Groups Demand Inquiry Into EPA Over Range Case
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 11, 2013
"HOUSTON - More than 80 environmental groups are demanding a broad investigation of whether the Environmental Protection Agency behaved improperly when it abruptly dropped enforcement actions against Fort Worth-based Range Resources, which the agency had accused of contaminating well water in Parker County."

EPA Makes Public Comprehensive Information on Use of Chemicals in the U.S.
EPA Web Site, February 11, 2013
"WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released the 2012 Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) information on more than 7,600 chemicals in commerce."

Notice of Availability for Public Review and Comment: Draft EPA Climate Change Adaptation Plan
78 Federal Register 9387, February 8, 2013

EPA Releases State Enforcement Performance Information and Comparative Maps
EPA Web Site, February 7, 2013
"WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of state dashboards and comparative maps that provide the public with information about the performance of state and EPA enforcement and compliance programs across the country."

EPA Updates Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data From Large Facilities
EPA Web Site, February 5, 2013
"WASHINGTON - Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted the second year of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions data on its website, which provides public access to emissions data by sector, by greenhouse gas, and by geographic region such as county or state."

Proposed Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Revisions to New Source Review (NSR) State Implementation Plan (SIP); Emergency Orders
78 Federal Register 8076, February 5, 2013

Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Beaumont/Port Arthur Ozone Maintenance Plan Revision to Approved Motor Vehicle Emissions Budgets
78 Federal Register 7672, February 4, 2013

Final Rule; Notice of Final Action on Reconsideration: National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Area Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers
78 Federal Register 7488, February 1, 2013

Adequacy Status of the Dallas-Fort Worth, TX Reasonable Further Progress 8-Hour Ozone Motor Vehicle Emission Budgets for Transportation Conformity Purposes
78 Federal Register 7429, February 1, 2013


PBPA: Best Science Doesn't Warrant 'Threatened' Listing for Lesser Prairie Chicken
MyWestTexas.com, February 13, 2013
"Representatives of the Permian Basin oil and gas industry used four public hearings to make the case that the listing of the lesser prairie chicken as 'threatened' would 'slam the brakes on oil and gas activity for a minimum of two years.'"

Industry Works to Save Grouse
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 11, 2013
"LUBBOCK - Oil, gas and wind energy producers are working to persuade federal wildlife officials not to enact protections for the lesser prairie chicken, a move that could force them to halt or significantly alter their operations to protect the species' dwindling grassland habitat."

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 5-Year Status Reviews of Ocelot and Mexican Spotted Owl in the Southwest Region
78 Federal Register 8576, February 6, 2012

Proposed Rule, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing as Endangered and Designation of Critical Habitat for Six West Texas Aquatic Invertebrate Species
78 Federal Register 8096, February 5, 2013

Notice of Intent to Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for a General Conservation Plan for the American Burying Beetle for Pipelines and Well Field Development in Oklahoma and Texas
78 Federal Register 7445, February 1, 2013


Pipeline Safety: Public Forum State One - Call Exemptions
78 Federal Register 10689, February 14, 2013

Notice and Request for Comments; Pipeline Safety: Information Collection Activities, Revision to Gas Distribution Annual Report
78 Federal Register 10261, February 13, 2013

Notice and Request for Comments; Pipeline Safety: Information Collection Activities, Revision to Annual Report for Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Systems
78 Federal Register 8699, February 6, 2013


Water Use in Fracking Draws Legislature's Attention
StateImpact Texas, February 14, 2013
"The drilling process known as 'fracking' has opened up huge deposits of oil and gas in Texas and other parts of the county."

New Bill Aims to Quiet Down Texas' Water Wars
StateImpact Texas, February 13, 2013
"As Texas begins a third year of drought, its conflicts over water with neighbors continue."

As Mexico Shares Less Water With Texas, Lawmakers Watch and Worry
StateImpact Texas, February 13, 2013
"State lawmakers and agency heads discussed Mexico's lack of water contribution to the Rio Grande River, the state of the State Water Plan and invasive species at the House Natural Resources committee meeting at the Capitol yesterday."

Fraser Wants to Remake Water Board Before Funding Increase
Austin American-Statesman, February 12, 2013
"Apparently the leaders of the Texas Water Development Board, the state agency charged with planning and financing the conservation and development of water, won't be a witness to their own execution."


Editorial: Dallas, Clear the Air on Gas Drilling
Dallas Morning News, February 13, 2013
"Rewind the tape on the gas drilling issue to early January, when the Dallas Plan Commission decided to reconsider the same Trinity East application that it had just rejected."

Editorial: Protecting the Environment Is Industry's Bread and Butter
Corpus Christi Caller-Times, February 13, 2013
"CORPUS CHRISTI - The energy industry doesn't always wait to be told to protect the environment, contrary to the image hung on it by critics."

Exact Mix of Fracking Fluids Remain a Mystery
San Antonio Express-News, February 2, 2013
"It's been a year since the Texas oil and gas industry had to start disclosing the mix of water and chemicals it uses for hydraulic fracturing."


Pathways to Dialogue: What the Experts Say About the Environmental Risks of Shale Gas Development
Resources for the Future Web Site, February 2013
"This report is the first survey-based, statistical analysis of experts in government, industry, universities, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to identify the priority environmental risks related to shale gas development - those for which the experts believe government regulation and/or voluntary industry practices are currently inadequate to protect the public or the environment."

Can the U.S. Get There From Here?
World Resources Institute Web Site, 2013
"This report examines pathways for GHG reductions in the United States through actions taken at the federal and state levels without the need for new legislation from the U.S. Congress."