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Texas Environmental Update

June 4, 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 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

Commissioners' June 5, 2013 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

Commissioners' May 22, 2013 Agenda Meeting Webcast

In the News:


In Houston, Too Much Fine Dust?
The Texas Tribune, May 30, 2013
"In Houston, air pollution concerns usually center on ozone."

TCEQ 2013 Annual Monitoring Network Plan
TCEQ Web Site, May 28, 2013
"The public is invited to comment on the 2013 Annual Monitoring Network Plan and Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Fayette Power Plant Lead Waiver Request."

Mexican Smoke Drifting Our Way
Beaumont Enterprise, May 24, 2013
"Two weeks ago we had chilly air."


TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $1,692,223
TCEQ Web Site, May 22, 2013
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $1,229,876 against 77 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, May 30, 2013


Advocacy Group Claims Exide Not Meeting Cleanup Standard in Frisco, City Disagrees
Star Local News, May 29, 2013
"A local citizens group monitoring Exide Technologies' cleanup of the land surrounding the company's former Frisco lead-acid battery recycling plant says the company isn't meeting standards provided by the city; the city, however, disagrees."


Commission Rejects LCRA's 'Flawed' Scenario
The Highlander, June 3, 2013
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's executive director Monday effectively rejected the Lower Colorado River Authority's proposed plan for managing the water in the Highland Lakes."

Texas Asks Feds for Help in Water Dispute With Mexico
The Texas Tribune, May 24, 2013
"Mexico's reluctance to deliver water to Texas under the terms of a decades-old treaty has prompted the state's top environmental regulatory agency to enlist help from the U.S. State Department."

Army Corps of Engineers

Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Arctic Deep Draft Ports Navigation Improvements Feasibility Study
78 Federal Register 29336, May 20, 2013

Bureau of Land Management

Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Request for Comment; Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands
78 Federal Register 31636, May 24, 2013

Council on Environmental Quality

Economic and Environmental Principles and Guidelines for Water and Related Land Resources Implementation Studies; Extension of Public Comment Period on the Interagency Guidelines
78 Federal Register 31521, May 24, 2013


Proposed Rule, Review of New Sources and Modifications in Indian Country
78 Federal Register 33266, June 4, 2013

Log-Jam in Agency Confirmations
Nature, May 21, 2013
"US Senate Republicans have lots of questions for Gina McCarthy, President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - 1,038 of them, to be exact."


Notice of Public Meeting, Pipeline Safety: Public Workshop on Integrity Verification Process
78 Federal Register 32010, May 28, 2013


Commissioner Christi Craddick Thanks Texas Legislature for Funding Railroad Commission $24.7 Million IT Overhaul
Railroad Commission Web Site, May 28, 2013
"AUSTIN - Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick today thanked the Texas Legislature for approving funding for the Railroad Commission in the state's budget bills Sunday, pending the Governor's signature into law."

State Agency OKs New Oil, Gas Well Rules
Houston Chronicle, May 24, 2013
"The Texas Railroad Commission adopted long-awaited changes to its rules for the construction of oil and gas wells Friday, saying its actions showed the value of allowing the state to regulate the industry."

Railroad Commission Today Adopts Amendments to Oil & Gas Well Construction Rules
Railroad Commission Web Site, May 24, 2013
"AUSTIN - The Railroad Commission today adopted amendments to the Commission's well construction requirements rule (Statewide Rule 13) that will clarify current oil and gas well construction requirements related to casing, cementing, drilling, well control and completions."


Opposition Forming to Massive Texas Water Plan
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 3, 2013
"AUSTIN - After pushing a landmark water initiative through the 83rd Legislature, proponents are now gearing up for their next challenge - selling the package to voters."

Attempt to Overhaul Texas Railroad Commission Fails, Again
WFAA.com, May 31, 2013
"Amid concerns about safety, possible conflicts of interest and allegations of corruption, state lawmakers set out again this legislative session to overhaul the Texas Railroad Commission."

Texas House Approves Smith Bill
Your Houston News, May 22, 2013
"AUSTIN - The Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 21) overwhelmingly approved House Bill 788 by State Representative Wayne Smith (R-Baytown)."


June 16, 2013 is the deadline for the Governor to sign or veto bills passed during the final days of the Legislature; bills without specific effective dates become law August 26, 2013.

HB 4
Author: Ritter, Price, Johnson, Miller (Doug), Lucio III
Status: 05/28/2013, This Act takes effect September 1, 2013, except Sections 2.01-2.07, 2.13-2.18, and 2.21-2.26 take effect only if SJR 1 is approved by the voters.
Relating to the administration of the Texas Water Development Board and the funding of water projects by the board and other entities; authorizing the issuance of revenue bonds.

HB 788
Author: Smith, Reynolds
Status: 05/22/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to permitting of greenhouse gas emissions by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; limiting the amount of a fee.

HB 878
Author: Crownover, Keffer
Status: 05/16/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to the filing with the state of electric logs by operators of oil-related or gas-related wells; providing a penalty.

HB 1079
Author: Smith, Guillen, Kleinschmidt
Status: 05/27/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to procedural requirements for action by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on applications for production area authorizations.

HB 1675
Author: Bonnen (Dennis)
Status: 05/27/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to the sunset review process and certain governmental entities subject to that process.

HB 1712
Author: Lozano, Villalba
Status: 05/23/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to an exemption from ad valorem and sales and use taxes for property used in connection with an offshore spill response containment system.

HB 1897
Author: Eiland
Status: 05/27/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of pollution control property.

HB 2446
Author: Crownover, Keffer, King (Phil), Morrison, Lewis
Status: 05/25/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to the definitions of advanced clean energy projects and clean energy projects and to franchise tax credits for certain of those projects.

HB 2615
Author: Johnson
Status: 05/27/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to the use of state water; providing a penalty.

HB 2712
Author: Perez, Hernandez Luna, Strama, Walle, Isaac
Status: 05/25/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of energy storage systems used for the control of air pollution in a nonattainment area.

HB 2767
Author: King (Phil), Keffer, Lewis
Status: 05/28/2013, Effective on 9/1/13
Relating to the treatment and recycling for beneficial use of certain waste arising out of or incidental to the drilling for or production of oil or gas.

HB 2982
Author: Keffer
Status: 05/27/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to the power of the Railroad Commission of Texas to adopt and enforce safety standards applicable to the transportation by pipeline of hazardous liquids, carbon dioxide, and natural gas in rural locations.

HB 3233
Author: Ritter, Johnson, Taylor (Van)
Status: 05/23/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to interbasin transfers of state water.

HB 3309
Author: Crownover
Status: 05/26/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to the composition and use of money in the oil and gas regulation and cleanup fund.

HB 3509
Author: Bonnen (Dennis), Villalba
Status: 05/28/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to endangered species habitat conservation and to the creation of a board to oversee and guide the state's coordinated response to federal actions regarding endangered species.

SB 900
Author: Fraser
Status: 05/18/2013, Effective on 9/1/13
Relating to the amounts of the administrative, civil, and criminal penalties for violating certain statutes under the jurisdiction of, rules or orders adopted by, or licenses, permits, or certificates issued by the Railroad Commission of Texas.

SB 901
Author: Fraser
Status: 05/28/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to safety standards and practices applicable to the transportation by pipeline of certain substances.

SB 1300
Author: Eltife
Status: 05/24/2013, Effective on 9/1/13
Relating to environmental or health and safety audits under the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act.

SB 1727
Author: Deuell
Status: 05/28/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to the use of the Texas emissions reduction plan fund.

SB 1756
Author: Uresti
Status: 05/25/2013, Sent to the Governor Relating to the expedited processing of certain applications for permits under the Clean Air Act; authorizing a surcharge.


Texas Cited by Democrat as Model for Less Flaring After Fracking
Bloomberg.com, May 23, 2013
"Texas should be the model for other states as officials seek to reduce the need to burn, or flare off, methane coming from oil and gas wells drilled by hydraulic fracturing, a top Senate Democrat said."


Compilation of Information on Mitigation Benefits of Actions, Initiatives and Options to Enhance Mitigation Ambition
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Web Site, May 28, 2013
"This technical paper compiles information on the mitigation benefits of actions, initiatives and options to enhance mitigation ambition identified in the submissions by Parties and accredited observer organizations submitted to the secretariat under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) workstream 2, on pre-2020 ambition."

EPA Oversight Addresses Thermal Variance and Cooling Water Permit Deficiencies But Needs to Address Compliance With Public Notice Requirements
EPA Office of Inspector General Web Page, May 23, 2013
"We evaluated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) oversight of regional and state compliance with Clean Water Act (CWA) §316(a) and (b) requirements."

Technical Support Document: Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Web Page, May 2013
"While acknowledging the continued limitations of the approach taken by the interagency group in 2010, this document provides an update of the SCC estimates based on new versions of each IAM (DICE, PAGE, and FUND)."