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Texas Environmental Update

June 17, 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.


Supreme Court to Determine Whether Agencies Must Undergo Notice and Comment Prior to Changing an Interpretation
Energy Legal Blog, June 16, 2014
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could have far-ranging implications for agency proclamations that impact the business community. On Monday, June 16, 2014, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Nickols v. Mortgage Bankers Assoc., No. 13-1052.  The Supreme Court will address "[w]hether agencies subject to the Administrative Procedure Act are categorically [...]

EPA's NY/NJ EPCRA Sweep Points to Broader Enforcement Effort
Bracewell & Giuliani Environmental Strategies Update, June 5, 2014
Last week's announcement by the US EPA of EPCRA violations at 17 facilities comes as part of the Agency's heightened scrutiny of chemical storage facilities in the aftermath of the West, Texas explosion and the Charleston, West Virginia release into the Elk River.  As we noted earlier this year, these incidents have raised concerns from regulatory agencies and legislatures as to the adequacy of reporting requirements and the effectiveness of their implementation [....]



Commissioners' June 18, 2014 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

Commissioners' July 2, 2014 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site



Group Seeks New Clean Air Plan
Denton Record-Chronicle, June 16, 2014
"ARLINGTON - A government watchdog group threw down the gauntlet Monday in favor of a new plan to clean up the air in Denton County and throughout North Texas: replace planners from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality with those at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."

Regulatory Developments
What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, June 13, 2014


What Will 550 Water Samples Reveal About Drilling in Texas?
StateImpact Texas, June 17, 2014
"'In Texas, I don't think there's anybody else doing quite what we're doing,' says research scientist Kevin Schug."

New Rules Could Shed Light on Future Water Projects
The Texas Tribune, June 17, 2014
"The future of Texas' water supply will start to take shape on Tuesday afternoon when the Texas Water Development Board releases draft rules for funding major water projects over the next several decades."

Lawmakers Plunge Into Water Desal Evaluation
San Angelo Standard-Times, June 16, 2014
"AUSTIN, Texas - Steve Lyons, of the National Weather Service, told lawmakers about a trip he once took to the Arabian Sea in 1982." 


Feds Aren't Inspecting 4 in 10 Higher-Risk Wells
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 16, 2014
"NEW CASTLE, Colo. - Four in 10 new oil and gas wells near national forests and fragile watersheds or otherwise identified as higher pollution risks escape federal inspection, unchecked by an agency struggling to keep pace with America's drilling boom, according to an Associated Press review that shows wide state-by-state disparities in safety checks."


Proposed Rule, Amendment to Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries 
79 Federal Register 34480, June 17, 2014

Final Rule, Review of New Sources and Modifications in Indian Country Amendments to the Registration and Permitting Deadlines for True Minor Sources
79 Federal Register 34231, June 16, 2014

Planned Coal-Power Closings Won't Cut CO2 Much
USA Today, June 9, 2014
"The electric power industry's plan to retire more than 10% of its coal-fired generators within a decade will do almost nothing to reduce the nation's emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, a USA TODAY analysis finds."

Proposed Rule, Withdrawal of the Prior Determination or Presumption That Compliance With the CAIR or the NOX SIP Call Constitutes RACT or RACM for the 1997 8-Hour Ozone and 1997 Fine Particle NAAQS
79 Federal Register 32892, June 9, 2014

Notice, Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program: Publication of Aggregated Greenhouse Gas Data
79 Federal Register 32948, June 9, 2014

Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Managing Emissions From Oil and Natural Gas Production in Indian Country
79 Federal Register 32502, June 5, 2014


EPA Finalizes Greenhouse Gas Permit for Voestalpine Iron Production Plant
Region 6 Web Site, June 16, 2014
"DALLAS - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final greenhouse gas (GHG) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) construction permit to Voestalpine for an iron production plant in San Patricio County, TX."

EPA Finalizes Greenhouse Gas Permit for C3 Petrochemicals
Region 6 Web Site, June 13, 2014
"DALLAS -  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final greenhouse gas (GHG) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) construction permit to C3 Petrochemicals LLC in Alvin, Texas."


PBPA Sues Over Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing
Midland Reporter-Telegram, June 10, 2014
"Just weeks after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lesser prairie chicken as 'threatened,' a lawsuit has been filed seeking to overturn that decision."

Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; Reopening and Extension of the Comment Period; Non-Federal Oil and Gas Development Within the National Wildlife Refuge System
79 Federal Register 32903, June 9, 2014


Pipeline Safety: Public Workshop on Pipeline Safety Management Systems
79 Federal Register 34392, June 16, 2014


Texas' Oil, Gas Regulator Refuses to Talk to Media
Beaumont Enterprise, June 16, 2014
"HOUSTON (AP) - Texas' oil and gas regulator has instituted a blanket policy barring staff from doing media interviews, raising questions about transparency just as the state grapples with the intricacies of one of the largest energy booms in decades."

Railroad Commission Launches New Website
Railroad Commission Web Site, June 9, 2014
"AUSTIN - The Railroad Commission of Texas has launched its new website to make online resources for the regulation of the oil and gas industry and other Commission-regulated industries more user friendly."


Curious About Explosive Chemicals Near You? Texas Attorney General Says It's Secret
StateImpact Texas, June 16, 2014
"Ever since a fertilizer plant blew up last year and killed 15 people in West, Texas, many Texans have wanted to know where dangerous chemicals are stored in their area."

Scarce Sea Turtle Nests Worry Wildlife Stewards
Beaumont Enterprise, June 13, 2014
"GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - The scarcity of nests left by an endangered sea turtle species is raising concerns among Texas coastal wildlife stewards about the turtles' future."

Agencies Looking at Galveston Bay Oil Spill Cost
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 11, 2014
"GALVESTON, Texas - Federal and state agencies have started looking at natural resource damage in an effort to come up with a dollar estimate from a March barge and cargo ship collision in the Houston Ship Channel that dumped thousands of gallons of oil into Galveston Bay."