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Texas Environmental Update

September 11, 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.


Texas Railroad Commission Proposes Regulation to Address Earthquake Risks from Disposal Wells
Bracewell & Giuliani Environmental Strategies Update, September 4, 2014
In the August 29, 2014 issue of the Texas Register (39 Tex. Reg. 6775), the Railroad Commission of Texas proposed several amendments to the regulations governing saltwater and other oil and gas waste disposal (SWD) wells (16 T.A.C. § 3.9 and § 3.46). If adopted as proposed, the amendments would create an obligation for SWD well permit applicants to provide the Railroad Commission with additional information regarding seismic events. [...]


Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' September 24, 2014 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

Commissioners' September 10, 2014 Agenda Meeting Webcast

In the News:


TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $871,568
TCEQ Web Site, September 10, 2014
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $871,568 against 50 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, September 4, 2014


Alarming Find
Denton Record-Chronicle, August 30, 2014
"University of Texas at Arlington researchers have unveiled a study that found potentially unhealthy levels of arsenic in water wells scattered throughout North Texas."


Direct Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Revision to Control Volatile Organic Compound Emissions From Storage Tanks
79 Federal Register 53299, September 9, 2014

Notice of Availability, Release of Final Documents Related to the Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone
79 Federal Register 53192, September 8, 2014

New Water Rule Worries Those Who Work the Land
Denton Record-Chronicle, September 7, 2014
"A new proposal expanding the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory control over surface water has caused more than 12,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners across the country to submit comments demanding abolishment of the proposed rule in the federal register."

EPA Struggles to Account for Cross-State Emissions Reductions in Power Plant Rule
Washington Examiner, September 4, 2014
"States that import their electricity from neighbors are giving the Environmental Protection Agency headaches when it comes to crediting them for emissions reductions under the agency's proposed power plant rules."

Direct Final Rule, Texas: Final Authorization of State Hazardous Waste Management Program Revision
79 Federal Register 52220, September 3, 2014


Notice; Request for Input; Hazardous Materials: Revisions of the Emergency Response Guidebook
79 Federal Register 52106, September 2, 2014


Editorial: Global Warming
Houston Chronicle, September 10, 2014
"If you're looking for solutions to global climate change, look no further than Houston."

How Advances in Tech and Research Could Help Confront Future Drought
StateImpact Texas, September 9, 2014
"A couple years ago UT Professor Zong-Liang Yang was at a conference on extreme weather in the Netherlands."

Crude Rides Texas' Rails With Little Oversight
Houston Chronicle, August 29, 2014
"Six days a week, bumping through the scrub, oil trucks pull up to the rail stations at Muleshoe or Kermit, Dimmit or Roy, Whiteface, Seagraves or Wellman, any of the flyspeck boomtowns of the Permian Basin."

West Texas Group Demands More Than 600 Firms Pay Up for Superfund Cleanup
Courthouse News Service, August 28, 2014
"HOUSTON (CN) - The group charged with cleaning up a Superfund site in Harris County, Texas, sued more than 600 companies, demanding they contribute to the site's multimillion dollar remediation costs."


The Cost of Federal Regulation to the U.S. Economy, Manufacturing and Small Business
National Association of Manufacturers, September 10, 2014
"This study estimates the costs of U.S. federal government regulations as of 2012."

Proximity to Natural Gas Wells and Reported Health Status: Results of a Household Survey in Washington County, Pennsylvania
Environmental Health Perspectives, September 10, 2014
"We conducted a hypothesis generating health symptom survey of 492 persons in 180 randomly selected households with ground-fed wells in an area of active natural gas drilling."

Commitment Accounting of CO2 Emissions
Environmental Research Letters, August 26, 2014
"This paper demonstrates the potential for 'commitment accounting' to inform public policy by quantifying future emissions implied by current investments."

Global Shale Gas Development: Water Availability and Business Risks
World Resources Institute, 2014
"In addition to examining water availability and shale resource development from a global perspective (Figure ES1), this report analyzes for the first time water availability in each shale play (prospective areas within the shale formation where gas and oil could be commercially extracted) for 11 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States."