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Texas Environmental Update
September 4, 2013
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.
BRACEWELL ALERTS & PUBLICATIONS
Pennsylvania Closer to Approving New Oil and Gas Rules
Energy Legal Blog, August 29, 2013
This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) announced that it is one step closer to promulgating new regulations applicable to surface operations at oil and gas well sites. Yet one more step in the implementation of 2012's Act 13, the current draft regulatory proposal focuses on enhancing consideration of impacts to public resources, [...]
EPA Denies RFS Petitions: API and AFPM Request Partial Waiver
Energy Legal Blog, August 16, 2013
August has been a busy month for issues related to the Renewable Fuels Standard ("RFS"). On August 6, EPA denied the petitions for reconsideration filed by the American Petroleum Institute ("API") and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers ("AFPM") regarding the 2013 Biomass-Based Diesel Renewable Fuel Volume. EPA sent a letter to AFPM and another to [...]
TEXAS COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Agendas & Work Sessions
Commissioners' September 4, 2013 Agenda Meeting Webcast
Commissioners' August 21, 2013 Agenda Meeting Webcast
In the News:
TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $697,926
TCEQ Web Site, September 4, 2013
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $697,926 against 37 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."
TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $829,348
TCEQ Web Site, August 21, 2013
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $535,555 against 42 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."
What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, August 29, 2013
Water Draws and Whooping Cranes
San Antonio Express-News, August 25, 2013
"The San Antonio Water System will contest a South Texas river authority's bid to draw a significant amount of water from the Guadalupe River, in part because of concerns about potential damage to whooping cranes' Gulf Coast habitat."
BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT
Notice of Intent (NOI) to Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS); Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), Gulf of Mexico (GOM), Oil and Gas Lease Sales, Central Planning Area (CPA) Lease Sales 235, 241, and 247
78 Federal Register 52562, August 23, 2013
BUREAU OF SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT
Correction, Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf - Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems
78 Federal Register 54417, September 4, 2013
BSEE and BTS to Develop Confidential Near-Miss Reporting System
BSEE Web Site, August 28, 2013
"The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) have signed an interagency agreement to develop a confidential near-miss reporting system for use on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)."
Drilling Risks Still Lurk in Shallows
San Antonio Express-News, August 25, 2013
"The 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill focused attention on the hazards of drilling for oil a mile below the surface of the sea, but recent incidents have brought new attention to dangers that still lurk on the shallow continental shelf, where companies rely on decades-old pipes and platforms to tap aging fields."
BSEE and DOE Sign Memorandum of Collaboration for Safe Offshore Energy Development
BSEE Web Site, August 23, 2013
"The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy signed a Memorandum of Collaboration this week that will coordinate the ongoing efforts of the two agencies on offshore research and technological improvement projects."
Proposed Rule, Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf - Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems
78 Federal Register 52240, August 22, 2013
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Request for Information (FRI), Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects
78 Federal Register 53436, August 29, 2013
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM); Request for Comments; Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program Application Requirements
78 Federal Register 53712, August 30, 2013
Proposed Rule, Water Quality Standards Regulatory Clarifications
78 Federal Register 54518, September 4, 2013
Final Rule, Electronic Reporting of Toxics Release Inventory Data
78 Federal Register 52860, August 27, 2013
Notice of Public Comment Period and Public Meeting, Draft Toxicological Review of Benzo[a]pyrene: In Support of the Summary Information in the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)
78 Federal Register 51719, August 21, 2013
EPA REGION 6
Corpus Christi Plant Agrees to Pay Over $750,000 to Improve Emission Controls
Region 6 Web Site, August 29, 2013
"The MarkWest Javelina plant will invest over $650,000 for facility operations improvements that will reduce flaring events and improve communications with the local community."
Houston Air Quality Continues to Improve
Region 6 Web Site, August 28, 2013
"Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to find the Houston metro area is on track to attain an important milestone in ozone-pollution reduction."
EPA Extends Public Comment Period for Houston Superfund Site Proposal
Region 6 Web Site, August 22, 2013
"In response to a community request during our August 6 public meeting, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the public comment period for the proposed cleanup plan amendment for the South Cavalcade Street Superfund Site in Houston, Texas."
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Proposed Rule, Interagency Cooperation - Endangered Species Act of 1973, as Amended; Incidental Take Statements
78 Federal Register 54437, September 4, 2013
Final Rule, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revisions to the Regulations for Impact Analyses of Critical Habitat
78 Federal Register 53058, August 28, 2013
Final Rule, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of Endangered Species Status for the Austin Blind Salamander and Threatened Species Status for the Jollyville Plateau Salamander Throughout Their Ranges
78 Federal Register 51278, August 20, 2013
Final Rule, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Austin Blind and Jollyville Plateau Salamanders
78 Federal Register 51328, August 20, 2013
PIPELINE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS SAFETY ADMINISTRATION
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Pipeline Safety: Periodic Updates of Regulatory References to Technical Standards and Miscellaneous Amendments
78 Federal Register 49996, August 16, 2013
TEXAS RAILROAD COMMISSION
Commissioner Craddick Says Texas Should Be Exempted From Proposed Federal Frac Rules That Will Discourage Oil & Gas Development
Railroad Commission Web Site, August 22, 2013
"AUSTIN - Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick today urged the federal Bureau of Land Management to exempt Texas and other states that are already effectively regulating hydraulic fracturing from the bureau's proposed rules for federal and Indian lands."
OTHER TEXAS ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS
New State Water Board Convenes for the First Time
Austin American-Statesman, September 3, 2103
"Faced with high expectations from leading politicians, the newly sworn-in members of the Texas Water Development Board took their seats Tuesday for their first official meeting."
Texas Groundwater Districts Face Bevy of Challenges
The Texas Tribune, August 29, 2013
"SAN MARCOS - As groundwater managers from across the state met here this week to discuss the numerous challenges they face, talk of legislative changes to water financing and a campaign to convince voters to allow more of it was eclipsed by more pressing issues."
Energy Lobbyists Set Sights on Lesser Prairie Chicken
MyWestTexas.com, August 27, 2013
"Some of Texas' biggest oil and gas lobbyists are hoping to take control of the fate of the fast-disappearing lesser prairie chicken - much like they did with the dunes sagebrush lizard this year."
Texas Earthquakes Tied to Extraction in Fracking
Bloomberg.com, August 27, 2013
"A recent wave of small earthquakes in and around the Eagle Ford formation in Texas was probably the result of extracting oil and in some cases water used for hydraulic fracturing, according to a study."
Hold the Water: Some Firms Fracturing Without It
MyWestTexas.com, August 26, 2013
"The use of one precious fluid - water - to recover another - oil - chafes in dry country."
Air Pollution and Early Deaths in the United States. Part I: Quantifying the Impact of Major Sectors in 2005
Atmospheric Environment, November 2013
"A multiscale air quality model is applied to assess the health impacts of major emissions sectors in United States."
Histopathological Analysis of Fish From Acorn Fork Creek, Kentucky, Exposed to Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Releases
Southeastern Naturalist, 2013
"The objective of this study was to describe post-fracking water quality in Acorn Fork and evaluate if the changes in water quality could have extirpated Blackside Dace populations."
The EPA's Comments Improve the Environmental Impact Statement Process But Verification of Agreed-Upon Actions Is Needed
EPA Office of Inspector General Web Site, August 22, 2013
"The purpose of this review was to determine the impact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has on final federal agency Environmental Impact Statements under the National Environmental Policy Act."