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Texas Environmental Update

January 30, 2014

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. 


DOT's New NEPA Categorical Exclusion May Actually Speed Project Delivery
Energy Legal Blog, January 17, 2014
Spurred on by Congress, on Monday, the Federal Highway and Transit Administrations adopted a categorical exclusion which may spare some projects a detailed review under the National Environmental Policy Act. Specifically, projects that receive less than $5,000,000 in federal funding will be presumed not to have to undertake any NEPA review at all. The fact [...]

Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' February 12, 2014 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

Commissioners' January 29, 2014 Agenda Meeting Webcast

In the News:


Houston's Ozone Mystery: Pockets of Pollution Unlike Other Cities
StateImpact Texas, January 22, 2014
"At the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), they're very familiar with a park in Manvel, a small town 15 miles south of downtown Houston.


TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $608,712
TCEQ Web Site, January 29, 2014
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $356,333 against 28 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."


EPA, Texas Reach Deal on Clean Air Plan
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, January 29, 2014
"DALLAS - Federal and state environmental officials said Wednesday that they've reached an agreement on portions of the Texas clean air plan that for years have been points of contention."


Rio Grande Water Users Fear Groundwater Pumping Project
The Texas Tribune, January 29, 2014
"A controversial groundwater pumping plan that opponents argue could threaten the lower Rio Grande's already depleted supply is highlighting a conundrum in Texas water law."

Texas to Proceed With Water Lawsuit Against New Mexico
KZTV10.com, January 27, 2014
"ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that Texas can proceed with its lawsuit against New Mexico over management of the Rio Grande."

LCRA's Emergency Drought Relief Request Approved by TCEQ Head
The Highlander, January 27, 2014
"The executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Monday approved the Lower Colorado River Authority's request for emergency drought relief."

San Antonio Wants Ownership of the Water It Puts Into the San Antonio River
Victoria Advocate, January 20, 2014
"The San Antonio Water System wants to retain ownership of the reclaimed water it puts into the San Antonio River."


Notice of Availability and Public Comment Period; Release of Draft Documents Related to the Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone
79 Federal Register 4694, January 29, 2014

Final Rule, Correction; 2013 Revisions to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule and Final Confidentiality Determinations for New or Substantially Revised Data Elements
79 Federal Register 3507, January 22, 2014

Proposed Rule; Notice of Public Hearing; Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions for New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units
79 Federal Register 3557, January 22, 2014


Extension of Public Comment Period, Proposed Issuance of the NPDES General Permit for Oil and Gas Geotechnical Surveying and Related Activities in Federal Waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas
79 Federal Register 4344, January 27, 2014


Proposed Rule; Reopening of Comment Period; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as a Threatened Species With a Special Rule
79 Federal Register 4652, January 29, 2014

Mussels, Lizard, Snake on Comptroller's Research List
The Texas Tribune, January 23, 2014
"The Texas comptroller's office will use $5 million appropriated by state legislators to fund university-centered research on three species at risk of being classified as endangered or threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."

Notice of Availability, Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision on Comal County's Regional Habitat Conservation Plan for Comal County, Texas
79 Federal Register 3221, January 17, 2014


Notice; Reopening of Public Comment Period; Draft Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammals - Acoustic Threshold Levels for Onset of Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts
79 Federal Register 4672, January 29, 2014


Proposed Rule; Extension of Comment Period; Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica
79 Federal Register 4641, January 29, 2014


Notice of Extension of Public Comment Period, Technical Support Document: Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order No. 12866
79 Federal Register 4359, January 27, 2014


Notice; Issuance of Advisory Bulletin; Improvements in Preparing Oil Spill Facility Response Plans
79 Federal Register 4532, January 28, 2014


2013: Year of Railroad Commission Accomplishments
Railroad Commission Web Site, January 17, 2014
"AUSTIN - The Railroad Commission of Texas, the state's oldest regulatory agency, has achieved numerous advances throughout the past year."


After Invading Lakes, Are Zebra Mussels Coming for Power Plants Next?
StateImpact Texas, January 24, 2014
"Fishing and boating enthusiasts take note: you're probably going to need a little extra time as you head out on the lake this year."

Texas Legislative Panel to Look at Quakes, Natural Gas Production
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, January 17, 2014
"The chairman of the state House Energy Resources Committee has created a subcommittee on seismic activity to study whether there are links between a recent swarm of small earthquakes in North Texas and natural gas production."