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Texas Environmental Update

February 28, 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' February 27, 2013 Agenda Meeting Webcast

In the News:


TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $524,644
TCEQ Web Site, February 27, 2013
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $329,280 against 29 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."


Ruling: Houston Can't Void State Air Permit
Houston Chronicle, February 15, 2013
"The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that Houston may not effectively void a state air pollution permit."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, February 22, 2013


Officials Study Options for Pipeline
Times Record News, February 15, 2013
"Wichita Falls city leaders are having a change of heart on where to run a temporary pipeline to transport treated wastewater to blend back into the drinking water supply."

Other TCEQ News

Texas Senate Confirms Commissioner Toby Baker
TCEQ Web Site, February 27, 2013


Proposed Rule, Timing Requirements for the Submission of a Site Assessment Plan (SAP) or General Activities Plan (GAP) for a Renewable Energy Project on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)
78 Federal Register 12676, February 25, 2013


Proposed Rule, State Implementation Plans: Response to Petition for Rulemaking; Findings of Substantial Inadequacy; and SIP Calls to Amend Provisions Applying to Excess Emissions During Periods of Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction
78 Federal Register 12460, February 22, 2013

Notice of Document Availability and Request for Comments; Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2011
78 Federal Register 12310, February 22, 2013

Direct Final Rule, Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule: Revision to Best Available Monitoring Method Request Submission Deadline for Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems Source Category
78 Federal Register 11585, February 19, 2013


Final Rule, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Special Rule for the Polar Bear Under Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act
78 Federal Register 11766, February 20, 2013

Notice of Availability, Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision on the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program Habitat Conservation Plan for Incidental Take of 11 Species (8 Federally Listed) in 8 Texas Counties
78 Federal Register 11218, February 15, 2013


Hundreds of Miles of Gas Lines Corroding, Experts Warn
WFAA, February 19, 2013
"DALLAS - In the summer of 2011, three people were critically injured when their Oak Cliff home exploded as a light switched on."


TEXAS LEGISLATURE: Alvin New, Other Mayors Back Water-Project Bill
San Angelo Standard-Times, February 19, 2013
"SAN ANGELO, Texas - Midland Mayor Wes Perry told lawmakers that until recently, his city never worried about water."

As Water Plan Moves Toward Reality, Who Benefits?
Austin American-Statesman, February 18, 2013
"With the effects of drought in mind, legislative efforts to kick-start water infrastructure projects outlined as needed in a state water plan - reservoirs, pipelines and the like - have taken on the weight of important civic work."


After Abbott Ruling, Austin Poised to Loosen Environmental Rules for Some Development
Austin American-Statesman, February 27, 2013
"Earlier this year, after hearing city staff's conclusion that a proposed Southwest Austin condominium development would violate city environmental rules, the City Council was poised to reject the project."

Rare Spider Again Bites Construction
San Antonio Express-News, February 25, 2013
"The rare, federally protected spider that gained fame for stopping a highway project has also blocked a water pipeline."

Texas Crane Totals Not Increasing, but Flocks Now Inland Offer Hope
San Antonio Express-News, February 20, 2013
"Whooping cranes in Texas are caught up in a numbers game that produced one encouraging development this year but remains inconclusive overall."


EPA Needs to Improve Air Emissions Data for the Oil and Natural Gas Production Sector
EPA Office of Inspector General Web Page, February 20, 2013
"We initiated this review to determine whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the data needed to make key decisions regarding air emissions from oil and natural gas production."

EPA Could Improve Contingency Planning for Oil and Hazardous Substance Response
EPA Office of Inspector General Web Page, February 15, 2013
"We initiated this review to determine whether the contingency planning structure for responding to oil spills and hazardous substance releases is effective, and whether plans are updated to reflect lessons learned from recent major events and new developments or industry trends."

Estimating Employment Impacts of Regulations: A Review of EPA's Methods for Its Air Rules
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Web Site, February 2013
"This review focuses on how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been estimating the employment impacts of its air regulations in the Regulatory Impact Analyses (RIAs) that EPA must provide to the Office of the President for all of its major regulations."

Pipeline Permitting: Interstate and Intrastate Natural Gas Permitting Processes Include Multiple Steps, and Time Frames Vary
Government Accountability Office Web Site, February 2013
"In response to the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, GAO determined (1) the processes necessary to acquire permits to construct interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines, (2) information available on the time frames associated with the natural gas pipeline permitting process, and (3) stakeholder-identified management practices that may improve the permitting process."

Water Quality: EPA Faces Challenges in Addressing Damage Caused by Airborne Pollutants
Government Accountability Office Web Site, January 2013
"GAO was asked to examine EPA's efforts to address atmospheric deposition of pollutants that impair waterbodies."