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Texas Environmental Update

April 2, 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.


FERC Punts on Closely Watched Request to Order a Shale Oil Pipeline Interconnection
Energy Legal Blog, March 29, 2013
In an order issued on March 22, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) once again declined to require an interstate oil pipeline to grant an interconnection requested by another pipeline. The order, issued in response to a complaint by High Prairie Pipeline, LLC (High Prairie) against Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership (Enbridge), culminated a closely-watched case [...]


Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' April 10, 2013 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

Commissioners' March 27, 2013 Agenda Meeting Webcast

In the News:


TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $1,560,174
TCEQ Web Site, March 27, 2013
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $1,175,956 against 78 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."


U.S. District Judge's Ruling on Hold as Appeals Court Grants Stay in Whooping Crane Case
Corpus Christi Caller-Times, March 26, 2013
"CORPUS CHRISTI - An appeals court on Tuesday issued a stay on a ruling made by a local judge this month pertaining to the issuance of water permits and protection of whooping cranes."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, March 29, 2013


Port Project Temporarily Halted
Port Arthur News, March 29, 2013
"PORT ARTHUR - Work on a major project to construct a wood pellet storage facility at the Port of Port Arthur has been halted due to the discovery of contaminated soil."


Proposed Rule, Oil Shale Management-General
78 Federal Register 18547, March 27, 2013


Updated Principles and Guidelines for Water and Land Related Resources Implementation Studies
Council on Environmental Quality Web Page, March 2013


Proposed Rule, 2013 Revisions to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule and Proposed Confidentiality Determinations for New or Substantially Revised Data Elements
78 Federal Register 19802, April 2, 2013

Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Reasonably Available Control Technology for the 1997 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard
78 Federal Register 19599, April 2, 2013

Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule: Revision to Best Available Monitoring Method Request Submission Deadline for Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems Source Category (Withdrawal of Direct Final Rule)
78 Federal Register 19605, April 2, 2013

Proposed Rule, Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Construction and Development Point Source Category
78 Federal Register 19434, April 1, 2013

EPA Updates Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for New Power Plants
EPA Web Site, March 29, 2013
"WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued updates to pollution limits for new power plants under the mercury and air toxics standards, based on new information and analysis that became available to the agency after the rule was finalized."

Proposed Rule, Amendments to Compliance Certification Content Requirements for State and Federal Operating Permits Programs
78 Federal Register 19164, March 29, 2013

Court: EPA Can Stop Some Power Plant Modifications
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 28, 2013
"TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Government regulators can try to halt construction projects at power plants if they think the companies didn't properly calculate whether the changes would increase air pollution, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday, marking the latest twist in a decades-long fight over the Clean Air Act."

EPA's Science Advisory Board Announces Independent Panel to Peer Review Agency'sHydraulic Fracturing Research
EPA Web Site, March 25, 2013


Proposed Reissuance of a General NPDES Permit for Oil and Gas Exploration Facilities in the Federal Waters of Cook Inlet -Permit Number AKG-28-5100
78 Federal Register 17661, March 22, 2013


Notice of Availability of a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Effects of Oil and Gas Activities in the Arctic Ocean
78 Federal Register 19212, March 29, 2013

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-day Finding on a Petition to List Sperm Whales in the Gulf of Mexico as a Distinct Population Segment Under the Endangered Species Act
78 Federal Register 19176, March 29, 2013


Railroad Commission Amends Rules to Encourage Water Conservation
MyWestTexas.com, March 28, 2013
"Oil and gas producers working on ways to conserve water used in field operations got encouragement from the Railroad Commission this week."


What's On Tap in Energy and Environment at the Texas Legislature This Week
StateImpact Texas, April 1, 2013
"We've compiled a list of several important meetings coming up this week at the state legislature that could have an impact on Texas' energy and environment."

Texas House Approves $2B State Water Fund
San Antonio Express-News, March 27, 2013
"AUSTIN, Texas - In an overwhelming display of bipartisanship, the Texas House voted to create state water fund using money from the Rainy Day Fund to meet the needs of the rapidly growing state."

Rep. Workman Bills Would Weaken Austin's Environmental Laws
Austin American-Statesman, March 27, 2013
"Seemingly every session of the state Legislature arrives with lawmakers proposing to curtail Austin's environmental rules, but, unlike in many other years, an Austin politician is now carrying that banner."

Editorial: Pipeline Prudence
Houston Chronicle, March 21, 2013
"If you could X-ray the Houston region below ground you would find a spaghetti bowl of pipelines crisscrossing in all different directions."

Coming Soon to the TCEQ: Greenhouse Gas Permits?
StateImpact Texas, March 20, 2013
"Time is money in the energy industry, and oil and natural gas executives say the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, is wasting their time. In particular, they say the EPA takes too long to issue greenhouse gas permits."


House Committee on Energy Resources

House Committee on Natural Resources

Senate Committee on Natural Resources


Racing the Drought to Protect Endangered Species
San Antonio Express-News, April 2, 2013
"NEW BRAUNFELS - Sitting on a submerged cradle of steel beams in the middle of the Comal River, an excavator the size of a small house dug into an island packed with invasive plants."

Quakes Rattle East Texans in Fracking Zone
Austin American-Statesman, March 30, 2013
"Sandra Beard is tired of earthquakes in her neighborhood."


Analysis of Recent Proposals to Amend the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to Create a Coal Combustion Residuals Permit Program
Earthjustice Web Site, March 19, 2013
"Given the potential for similar legislation to be proposed in the 113th Congress, and as a result of the complexities inherent in creating a regulatory program using a new legislative approach (that specifies new roles for states and EPA), this report provides additional background information and expands on an earlier CRS analysis."