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Texas Environmental Update

January 3, 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. 


In the News:


In Barnett Shale, Monitors Make Sure That the Air We Breathe Is Safe
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, December 21,2012
"Early next year, a sophisticated air quality monitor is expected to go into operation near O.D. Wyatt High School in Fort Worth, the 11th such device deployed to measure pollutants in the Barnett Shale."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, December 28, 2012


Farmers Battle State Environmental Agency in Brazos River Basin Dispute
Austin American-Statesman, December 26, 2012
"It's a Central Texas water fight pitting farmers against cities and power plants, but it's not the one happening on the Colorado River."

Other TCEQ News

Business Pleads Guilty to Defrauding TCEQ Grant Program
TCEQ Web Site, December 20, 2012
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced that Champion Dirt, Inc., pleaded guilty Dec. 19 to two first degree felony counts of Securing Execution of a Document by Deception, and paid a $10,000 fine."


Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment, Interim Policy Leasing for Renewable Energy Data Collection Facility on the Outer Continental Shelf off the Coast of Georgia
77 Federal Register 74512, December 14, 2012


Draft Safety Culture Policy Statement: Request for Public Comments
77 Federal Register 75443, December 20, 2012


EPA Successor Faces Fracking Fight
The Allentown Morning Call, December 30, 2012
"WASHINGTON - Lisa Jackson's exit as head of the Environmental Protection Agency leaves her successor to combat global warming and set rules for hydraulic fracturing over the objections of businesses and Republican lawmakers."

Notice of Availability, National Water Program 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change
77 Federal Register 76034, December 26, 2012

EPA Finalizes Clean Air Standards for Industrial Boilers, Incinerators and Cement Kilns
EPA Web Site, December 21, 2012
"WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized changes to Clean Air Act standards for boilers and certain incinerators that will achieve extensive public health protections by slashing toxic air pollution, including mercury and particle pollution, while at the same addressing feedback provided by industry and labor groups, increasing the rule's flexibility and dramatically reducing costs."

EPA Releases Update on Ongoing Hydraulic Fracturing Study
EPA Web Site, December 21, 2012
"WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today provided an update on its ongoing national study currently underway to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources."


Notice of Availability of Proposed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration, Development and Production Operations off Southern California
77 Federal Register 75429, December 20, 2012


Notice; Issuance of Advisory Bulletin; Pipeline Safety: Reporting of Exceedances of Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure
77 Federal Register 75699, December 21, 2012


2012: Year of Railroad Commission Accomplishments
Railroad Commission Web Site, December 26, 2012
"AUSTIN - The Railroad Commission of Texas, the state's oldest regulatory agency, has achieved numerous advances throughout the past year."

DAVE MCNEELY: Change Railroad Commission Name, More
San Angelo Standard - Times, December 25, 2012
"SAN ANGELO, Texas - In 1986, then-state Sen. John Sharp was running for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission."


Oil and Gas Industry Watching Action on Capitol Hill
MyWestTexas.com, January 2, 2013
"With the fiscal cliff temporarily in the rearview mirror, Washington can now focus on other issues, like new cabinet members, agency directors, environmental regulations and corporate tax treatments."

Tire Piles Litter the Landscape
San Antonio Express - News, January 2, 2013
"They're an outright requirement for daily life, until the day they're not."

Annual Bird Counts Give Scientists Climate Clues
Fort Worth Star - Telegram, December 31, 2012
"MAD ISLAND, Texas - Armed with flashlights, recordings of bird calls, a small notebook and a stash of candy bars, scientist Rich Kostecke embarked on an annual 24-hour Christmastime count of birds along the Texas Gulf Coast."

Fort Worth Considers Restrictions on Gas Compressor Stations
Fort Worth Star - Telegram, December 29, 2012
"FORT WORTH - The sheep look wary of visitors at Mary Kelleher's little 12-acre farm off of Randol Mill Road in east Fort Worth."


Enforcement Annual Results for Fiscal Year 2012
EPA Web Site, December 17, 2012
"In fiscal year 2012, EPA took on high priority cases to reduce large sources of pollution and deter violators, addressed pollution problems that have significant health impacts and implemented innovative solutions to protect the environment upon which healthy communities depend."

Water and Shale Gas Development
Accenture Web Site, December 2012
"One of the most contentious and widely publicized issues in shale gas production is water management."