Jump to Navigation


Texas Environmental Update

June 27, 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.


Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' June 18, 2013 Agenda Meeting Webcast

In the News:


Will Emissions Costs Choke Petchem Expansions?
Oil & Gas Financial Journal, June 20, 2013
"Emission regulations require that companies planning new olefin crackers in EPA designated nonattainment areas like Houston must buy emission credits prior to construction."

TCEQ Helicopter to Fly Over Permian Basin Looking for Air Emissions
MyWestTexas.com, June 19, 2013
"At some point between now and mid-August, Midlanders may notice a red helicopter, Tail Number N342LS hovering over or near pipelines, oil and natural gas production or other industrial facilities."


TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $655,055
TCEQ Web Site, June 18, 2013
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $520,841 against 25 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, June 21, 2013


TCEQ, TDA Outline Actions Needed to Compel Mexico to Release Water Owed to South Texas
TCEQ Web Site, June 20, 2013
"AUSTIN - In a concentrated effort to acquire much-needed water for South Texas, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Commissioner Carlos Rubinstein today released a call-to-action report, titled 'Addressing Mexico's Water Deficit to the United States,' detailing specific actions the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) should take to compel Mexico to deliver Rio Grande water owed to Texas."

LCRA Water Management Plan Delayed
Community Impact Newspaper, June 20, 2013
"A long-term strategy for managing Central Texas water has been delayed at least 10 months to allow state officials more time to collect information on looming drought conditions."


Regulations, Negotiations and Court Challenges Await Obama Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Coal-Fired Plants
Washington Guardian, June 26, 2013
"President Barack Obama won glowing reviews from environmentalists and liberal Democrats for his climate change speech, and lots of boos from Republicans and industry."

Proposed Rule; Reopening of Comment Period; Reconsideration of Certain Startup/Shutdown Issues: National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants From Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units and Standards of Performance for Fossil-Fuel-Fired Electric Utility, Industrial-Commercial-Institutional, and Small Industrial-Commercial-Institutional Steam Generating Units
78 Federal Register 38001, June 25, 2013

Final Rule, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants From Petroleum Refineries
78 Federal Register 37133, June 20, 2013

Proposed Rule, Revisions to the Air Emissions Reporting Requirements: Revisions to Lead (Pb) Reporting Threshold and Clarifications to Technical Reporting Details
78 Federal Register 37164, June 20, 2013

Owner of Midlothian Cement Plant Settles With EPA
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 20, 2013
"Ash Grove Cement Corp. will shut down two polluting cement kilns in Midlothian next year when it finishes building a new-technology kiln at the site, part of a national settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency."


Correction, Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Marine Seismic Survey in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska
78 Federal Register 37209, June 20, 2013


Notice and Request for Comments; Pipeline Safety: Information Collection Activities, Revisions to Incident and Annual Reports for Gas Pipeline Operators
78 Federal Register 38803, June 27, 2013


Power Company Fined After Ruptured Gas Line & Explosion
CBS DFW, June 25, 2013
"FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - Texas New Mexico Power Company is a utility company that hit a Lewisville gas line back in January."

Texas Railroad Commissioner to Run for Attorney General
The Southeast Texas Record, June 25, 2013
"The state's recently elected railroad commissioner is on track to make a run for the office of Attorney General."


Interior Releases First-Ever Comprehensive National Assessment of Geologic Carbon Dioxide Storage Potential
U.S. Geological Survey Web Site, June 26, 2013
"The United States has the potential to store a mean of 3,000 metric gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in geologic basins throughout the country, according to the first-ever detailed national geologic carbon sequestration assessment released today by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)."


Federal Agency Finds Lax Regulation of Chemicals
Beaumont Enterprise, June 27, 2013
HOUSTON (AP) - A federal agency investigating a deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant will tell a Senate committee Thursday that regulation of the dangerous chemicals used in the industry fall under a 'patchwork' of standards that are decades old and are far weaker than rules used by other countries."


Increased Stray Gas Abundance in a Subset of Drinking Water Wells Near Marcellus Shale Gas Extraction
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Web Site, June 24, 2013
"We analyzed 141 drinking water wells across the Appalachian Plateaus physiographic province of northeastern Pennsylvania, examining natural gas concentrations and isotopic signatures with proximity to shale gas wells."

The State of State Shale Gas Regulation
Resources for the Future Web Site, June 2013
"The core of this report is a catalog of a range of state regulations - 25 regulatory elements in all - relevant to shale gas, across 31 states with actual or potential shale gas production."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Assault on State Sovereignty
American Legislative Exchange Council Web Site, June 2013
"The purpose of this report is to explain how the EPA is replacing cooperative federalism with command and control."

The 3% Solution: Driving Profits Through Carbon Reductions
World Wildlife Fund Web Site, June 2013
"This report makes clear that taking action to increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption is a profitable endeavor in its own right."

TRB Special Report 311: Effects of Diluted Bitumen on Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines
The National Academies Press Web Site, 2013
"Legislation enacted in January 2012 called on the Secretary of Transportation to determine whether any increase in the risk of a release exists for pipelines transporting diluted bitumen."

Effects of U.S. Tax Policy on Greenhouse Gas Emission
The National Academies Press Web Site, 2013
"The U.S. Congress charged the National Academies with conducting 'a comprehensive review of the Internal Revenue Code to identify the types of and specific tax provisions that have the largest effects on carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions and to estimate the magnitude of those effects.'"