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Texas Environmental Update

March 27, 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.


EPA Proposes Its Waters of the U.S. Rule, Leaving No Puddle Unregulated
Energy Legal Blog, March 26, 2014
Yesterday, four months after the draft was leaked, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced the release of their proposed rule defining what waters fall under federal jurisdiction. Over a decade in the making, the rule, once finalized, will literally redefine the landscape of federal water pollution regulation, impacting laws governing [...]

Oklahoma Enters the Fray of Endangered Species Sue-and-Settle
Energy Legal Blog, March 24, 2014
On March 17, 2014, the State of Oklahoma sued the U.S. Department of the Interior, taking aim at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's habit of settling large Endangered Species Act cases with Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations. The lawsuit signals an important escalation in the fight against such settlements. ESA lawsuits have become a key tool [...]

Hydraulic Fracturing Trade Secrets at Risk in Wyoming
Energy Legal Blog, March 17, 2014
One of the more hotly debated issues since the shale gas boom started in the U.S. has been the requirement for mandatory disclosure of the chemical mixture used in the hydraulic fracturing process. In crafting chemical disclosure regulations, states have had the difficult job of determining the appropriate balance between public disclosure of the chemicals [...]


Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' April 9, 2014 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

Commissioners' March 26, 2014 Agenda Meeting Webcast

In the News:


Emissions From Tanks at Texas Gas, Oil Sites Lower Than Expected: TCEQ
Platts, March 24, 2014
"Emissions from tanks at oil and gas sites in Texas are 'lower than what everyone has estimated,' an official with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said Monday in Fort Worth."


TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $520,789
TCEQ Web Site, March 26, 2014
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $211,814 against 23 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."


Texas OKs Taking Over Greenhouse Gas Permits From EPA
Dallas Morning News, March 26, 2014
"The commissioners of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality voted Wednesday morning to assume the duty of issuing greenhouse gas permits for industries."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, March 20, 2014

Other TCEQ News

Editorial: Attracting Business to Texas
Houston Chronicle, March 17, 2014
"We always like to think that things are better in Texas."


Information Collection Activities: Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations in the OCS-General; Proposed Collection; Comment Request
79 Federal Register 16810, March 26, 2014

Notice of the National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) Guidelines; Comment Request
79 Federal Register 16363, March 25, 2014


Notice of Public Comment Period, Draft Revised EPA's Report on the Environment 2014
79 Federal Register 17145, March 27, 2014

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Clarify Protection for Nation's Streams and Wetlands: Agriculture's Exemptions and Exclusions from Clean Water Act Expanded by Proposal
EPA Web Site, March 25, 2014
"WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) today jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation's water resources."

Notification of a Public Teleconference of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Augmented for the Sulfur Oxides Review
79 Federal Register 16325, March 25, 2014

Texas Chemical Plant Agrees to Cut Harmful Air Pollution in Overburdened Community
EPA Web Site, March 20, 2014
"WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that Flint Hills Resources of Port Arthur has agreed to implement innovative technologies to control harmful air pollution from industrial flares and leaking equipment at the company's chemical plant in Port Arthur, Texas."

Notice, Electronic Reporting; Toxic Substances Control Act Notifications of Substantial Risk and for Your Information Submissions
79 Federal Register 15329, March 19, 2014

Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Texas; Stage II Vapor Recovery Program and Control of Air Pollution From Volatile Organic Compounds
79 Federal Register 14611, March 17, 2014


Notice of Public Meeting, Pipeline Safety: Public Workshop on Class Location Methodology
79 Federal Register 16421, March 25, 2014


Fracking's Earthquake Risks Push States to Collaborate
Bloomberg, March 27, 2014
"Several U.S. states are banding together to combat the mounting risks of earthquakes tied to the disposal of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas."

Editorial: More Lessons From West
Dallas Morning News, March 26, 2014
"Nearly a year has passed since the April 17 explosion in West."

Oil Spill Threatens Galveston Bay's Fishing Industry
The Texas Tribune, March 26, 2014
"Oiled birds and stranded boats have been some of the most compelling visual images of the devastation in Galveston Bay in the wake of an oil tanker collision that might have released up to 168,000 gallons of fuel oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday."

Down the Drain: Who's Watching Chemicals Used in Oil Drilling?
StateImpact Texas, March 20, 2014
"A case of alleged dumping of possibly thousands of gallons of chemicals into Odessa's sewer system has local officials wondering who's supposed to police the drilling industry."

State Takes Fracking Action After Swarm of Earthquakes
CBSDFW, March 18, 2014
"The ground is still shaking in northern Parker and Tarrant County."


Quantifying Cost-Effectiveness of Systematic Leak Detection and Repair Programs Using Infrared Cameras
Clean Air Task Force, March 2014
"This report presents results from an empirical analysis of real data on the costs and benefits of leak detection and repair (LDAR) programs at oil and natural gas facilities."