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Texas Environmental Update

June 4, 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 Must Uniformly Apply Air Aggregation Requirements
Energy Legal Blog, June 3, 2014
EPA suffered a major loss on May 30 when the D.C. Circuit refused to uphold EPA’s attempt to narrow the ruling in the Summit aggregation case to only the states in the 6th Cir.  Reversing more than 20 years of EPA practice, the Summit case directed EPA to refrain from using interdependency or the functional [...]

EPA's Power-Plant Cooling Water Rule Takes a Surprise Endangered Species Turn
Energy Legal Blog, May 23, 2014
A surprise awaits those who reach page 334 of the 559-page preamble to EPA's final cooling-water-intake rule - a potentially significant expansion of the Endangered Species Act. The rule, which EPA has not yet officially published, is intended to protect aquatic species affected by cooling water intake at power plants and other large facilities.  It [...]

EPA Proposes Expansive Rule on Petroleum Refineries
Energy Legal Blog, May 16, 2014
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed an expansive rule that would impose additional requirements at petroleum refineries. The proposed rule (which spans 813 pages) is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register, and interested parties will have 60 days from publication to file public comments. The proposal is a response to a lawsuit [...] 



Commissioners' June 18, 2014 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

Commissioners' June 4, 2014 Agenda Meeting Webcast



TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $361,963
TCEQ Web Site, June 4, 2014
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $303,308 against 28 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, May 30, 2014


Where Will Austin Go For Water Next?
StateImpact Texas, May 27, 2014
"The Highland Lakes, the main reservoirs for over a million people in and around Austin, are only a third full."

State Suggests Limits on LCRA Water Releases for Farmers
Austin American-Statesman, May 16, 2014
"The state environmental agency is recommending the Lower Colorado River Authority, the utility that oversees the chief reservoirs for Central Texas, adopt rules that would limit the release of water to farmers downriver of Austin into the future."


Notice of Availability of Draft Addendum to Environmental Review Documents Concerning Exports of Natural Gas From the United States
79 Federal Register 32258, June 4, 2014

Notice of Availability of Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Perspective on Exporting Liquefied Natural Gas From the United States and Request for Comments
79 Federal Register 32260, June 4, 2014

Proposed Procedures for Liquefied Natural Gas Export Decisions
79 Federal Register 32261, June 4, 2014


EPA Proposal Seeks 30 Percent Reduction In Carbon Dioxide From Power Plants by 2030
Bloomberg BNA, June 3, 2014
"The existing fleet of fossil fuel-fired power plants would be required to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 as part of the first ever greenhouse gas emissions standards for existing power plants proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency June 2."

EPA Proposes Deep Carbon Cuts for Texas Power Plants
Houston Chronicle, June 2, 2104
"Texas must reduce heat-trapping pollution from power plants 39 percent by 2030 under one of the strongest actions taken by the federal government to combat climate change."

EPA Proposes First Guidelines to Cut Carbon Pollution From Existing Power Plants
 EPA Web Site, June 2, 2014
"WASHINGTON - At the direction of President Obama and after an unprecedented outreach effort, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is today releasing the Clean Power Plan proposal, which for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States."

Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Revisions for Permitting of Particulate Matter With Diameters Less Than or Equal to 2.5 Micrometers (PM2.5)
79 Federal Register 31046, May 30, 2014

Proposed Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Control of Air Pollution From Nitrogen Compounds
79 Federal Register 29726, May 23, 2014

Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request
79 Federal Register 29442, May 22, 2014

Sierra Club Sues EPA, Seeks Tougher Pollution Controls in North Texas
Dallas Morning News, May 21, 2014
"The Sierra Club has sued the Environmental Protection Agency over urban North Texas’ stubborn ozone problem, saying the agency failed to do its duty to force tougher pollution controls."

EPA Finalizes Standards to Protect Fish, Aquatic Life From Cooling Water Intakes
EPA Web Site, May 19, 2014
"WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized standards to protect billions of fish and other aquatic life drawn each year into cooling water systems at large power plants and factories."

Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Mixtures
79 Federal Register 28664, May 19, 2014

Final Rule, Quality Assurance Requirements for Continuous Opacity Monitoring Systems at Stationary Sources
79 Federal Register 28439, May 16, 2014 


EPA Finalizes Greenhouse Gas Permit for OxyChem Plant Near Corpus Christi
Region 6 Web Site, May 29, 2014
"DALLAS - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued final greenhouse gas (GHG) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) construction permits to Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem) in Ingleside, TX."

EPA Finalizes Greenhouse Gas Permit for Corpus Christi-Area Facility
Region 6 Web Site, May 29, 2014
"DALLAS - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a final greenhouse gas (GHG) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) construction permit to Flint Hills Resources in Corpus Christi, TX, to modify an existing petroleum refinery."

EPA Finalizes Greenhouse Gas Permit for Hydrocarbon Plant
Region 6 Web Site, May 21, 2014
"DALLAS - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final greenhouse gas (GHG) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) construction permit to Dow Chemical Company for a light hydrocarbon plant near Freeport, TX."


OSHA Demotes I2P2 Rule to Long-Term Action List in Spring Regulatory Agenda
Bloomberg BNA, May 29, 2014
"Any hope that President Barack Obama's safety regulators will issue their long-heralded injury and illness prevention program (I2P2) rule was scuttled May 23 when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration pushed the rulemaking onto the long-term actions section of its spring 2014 regulatory agenda."


Ryan Sitton Secures the GOP Nomination for Texas Railroad Commission
Dallas Business Journal, May 28, 2014
"Ryan Sitton won the Republican nomination for Texas Railroad Commission Tuesday after defeating Wayne Christian by a margin of 57-43 percent in Tuesday’s runoff election."

Companies Report Success at Texas Conservation Symposium
Fort Worth Business Press, May 22, 2014
"Oil and gas operators statewide credit Texas Railroad Commission rule amendments enacted last year for boosting the economic viability in enhancing their water-recycling efforts and helping conserve state water resources."


Other Voices: Watch for Hyperbole in Denton Fracking Ban
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 27, 2014
"Denton is at the epicenter of an economic revolution."

Oilfield Deaths Spur Safety Agency to Study Fracking
Bloomberg.com, May 19, 2014
"The Obama administration is investigating the health risks of hydraulic fracturing after at least four deaths among oilfield workers since 2010 in North Dakota and Montana."


Railroad Commission of Texas Water Well Complaint Investigation Report Silverado on the Brazos Neighborhood
Energy in Depth Web Site, May 23, 2014
"The properties and water wells are situated in or near an area that was investigated in late 2010 and early 2011 for possible oil and gas operational sources of natural gas that was occurring in water wells in the Silverado on the Brazos (Silverado) neighborhood, located in southern Parker County."

Review of 2014 EPA Economic Analysis of Proposed Revised Definition of Waters of the United States
Waters Advocacy Council, May 15, 2014
"The agency should withdraw the economic analysis and prepare an adequate study of this major change in the implementation of the CWA."

Climate Change Indicators in the United States, 2014
EPA, May 2014
"The climate change indicators in this report look at the composition of the atmosphere, fundamental measures of climate, and the extent to which several climate-sensitive aspects of the oceans, snow and ice, human health, society, and ecosystems are changing."

Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States 2014
Ceres, May 2014
"This report examines and compares the stack air pollutant emissions of the 100 largest power producers in the United States based on their 2012 generation, plant ownership, and emissions data."

Major Public Companies Describe Climate-Related Risks and Costs
Carbon Disclosure Project, May 2014
"This report presents key findings and responses provided by S&P 500 companies across economic sectors to the risk-related questions in CDP's annual disclosure requests from 2011 to 2013."

Assessing the Impact of Potential New Carbon Regulations in the United States
Institute for 21st Century Energy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2014
"This report focuses on the economic impacts of just one aspect of the EPA's regulatory juggernaut: forthcoming EPA rules covering CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-fired electricity generating plants under the Clean Air Act (CAA)."