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Texas Environmental Update

May 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.


Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' April 23, 2013 Agenda Meeting Webcast

In the News:


TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $491,504
TCEQ Web Site, April 23, 2013
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $340,300 against 36 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, April 26, 2013

Other TCEQ News

Watchdog Group Seeks FOIA Records on Nonprofit EPA 'Bullied' Out of Contract
The Washington Examiner, April 26, 2013
"Environmental Protection Agency officials bullied a contractor into cutting ties with an air policy coalition designed to help states with cumbersome EPA clean air rules, the American Tradition Institute said Thursday."


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 25392, May 1, 2013

Extension, Request for Information to Inform Hydraulic Fracturing Research Related to Drinking Water Resources
78 Federal Register 25267, April 30, 2013

EPA Slashes Estimate of Greenhouse Gas Leaks From Gas Wells, Crediting Pollution Controls
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 28, 2013
"PITTSBURGH - The Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered its estimate of how much of a potent heat-trapping gas leaks during natural gas production, in a shift with major implications for a debate that has divided environmentalist: Does the recent boom in fracking help or hurt the fight against climate change?"

Correction, 2013 Revisions to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule and Proposed Confidentiality Determinations for New or Substantially Revised Data Elements
78 Federal Register 24378, April 25, 2013

Final Rule; Notice of Final Action on Reconsideration; Reconsideration of Certain New Source 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 24073, April 24, 2013

Proposed Effluent Guidelines Lay Out Options for New, Existing Power Plants
Bloomberg BNA, April 23, 2013
"The Environmental Protection Agency has laid out a series of regulatory options that power plants fired by fossil fuels and nuclear energy could use to comply with proposed effluent guidelines in a move the agency said reflects the growing problem of power plant discharges."


Proposed Rule, Reopening of Comment Period, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Revision of Critical Habitat for the Comal Springs Dryopid Beetle, Comal Springs Riffle Beetle, and Peck's Cave Amphipod
78 Federal Register 25679, May 2, 2013

Notice of Availability and Request for Comments, Draft Environmental Assessment and Proposed Renewal and Amendment to the Barton Springs Pool Habitat Conservation Plan, City of Austin, Travis County, Texas
78 Federal Register 23780, April 22, 2013


Hearing on West Fertilizer Explosion Shows Lack of Regulation and Coordination
StateImpact Texas, May 1, 2013
"Two weeks ago today, a fire ignited at a fertilizer plant in the small Central Texas town of West."

With Fate of Water Plan in Limbo, House Committee Pushes Smaller Water Bills
StateImpact Texas, May 1, 2013
"Quicker than a spring thunderstorm, the House Natural Resources Committee met and pushed forward several bills at the Capitol this morning."

Will Nostalgia Prevail in Debate Over Railroad Commission Name?
Dallas Business Journal, April 23, 2013
"Will nostalgia win over common sense?"

Environmentalists Seek to Draw on West Explosion in Legislative Matters
Austin American-Statesman, April 22, 3013
"In the wake of an environmental disaster in West, environmental groups promised to redouble their efforts to defeat legislative proposals that would ease permitting for industrial facilities."


House Committee on Energy Resources

House Committee on Environmental Regulation
House Committee on Natural Resources

Senate Committee on Natural Resources


Water Recycling Is Big Business for Oil, Gas Support Firms
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 27, 2013
"Just a few years ago, Fort Worth-based Bosque Systems mostly operated wastewater disposal wells for oil and gas operators."

Fertilizer Plant Didn't Report Hazards to Feds
San Antonio Express-News, April 24, 2013
"The West Fertilizer Co. plant, which blew up last week, taking 15 lives and permanently scarring a tiny town, stockpiled large quantities of potentially explosive ammonium nitrate, among other chemicals, but never reported them to the Department of Homeland Security as required by an anti-terrorist program."

Justices Appear Up the Creek in Texas-Oklahoma Water Case
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 23, 2013
"WASHINGTON - Supreme Court justices on Tuesday opened a floodgate of questions about a water dispute pitting Texas against Oklahoma, with the eventual outcome still in doubt."


Hydraulic Fracturing & Water Stress: Growing Competitive Pressures for Water
Ceres Web Site, May 2013
"This Ceres research paper analyzes water use in hydraulic fracturing operations across the United States and the extent to which this activity is taking place in water stressed regions."

State of the Air 2013
American Lung Association State of the Air Web Site, April 23, 2013
"For 14 years, the American Lung Association has analyzed data from air quality monitors to compile the State of the Air report."