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Texas Environmental Update

August 15, 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.


Heather M. Corken Joins Bracewell's Houston Office as Environmental Partner
Bracewell & Giuliani Web Site, August 6, 2013
"Heather offers deep regulatory and transactional experience in oil and gas, petrochemical, pipeline, shale development and other areas, complementing our already strong environmental team," said Tim Wilkins, head of the environmental practice and managing partner of the firm's Austin office. "We have been looking for a strong addition to our Houston office for some time and we are thrilled that Heather will be joining us to take up the anchor position there, along with Senior Counsel Scott Sherman."


EPA Amends Tank Requirements in Oil & Gas NSPS
Energy Legal Blog, August 14, 2013
On August 5, 2013, EPA released a prepublication copy of amendments to the oil and gas new source performance standards, 40 C.F.R. Part 60 ("the oil and gas NSPS"). The amendments primarily modify the requirements pertaining to volatile organic compound ("VOC") emissions from storage tanks. EPA modified these requirements to respond to issues raised in [...]

Licensing Efficiency and Environmental Streamlining comes to Small Hydro Projects
Energy Legal Blog, August 12, 2013
Early Friday evening, President Obama signed into law two bills which aim to speed the licensing and environmental approval of low-impact hydropower projects. One bill is focused on projects under 5 megawatts constructed in manmade conduits - tunnels, canals, pipelines, aqueducts, flumes, ditches, or similar water conveyances - operated for the distribution of water for agricultural, [...]

EPA Issues Final 2013 Renewable Fuels Standard
Energy Legal Blog, August 7, 2013
On August 6, 2013, EPA issued a prepublication copy of the final rule establishing the 2013 annual percentage standards for the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) program for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel. Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, EPA must [...]


Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' August 21, 2013 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

In the News:


San Antonio Considers Shale Drilling's Effect on Ozone
The Texas Tribune, August 1, 2013
"As the ozone rating in San Antonio continues its slow upward march, area officials are beginning to investigate whether oil and gas drilling in the Eagle Ford Shale has anything to do with it."


Gulf Chemical to Pay $7.5 Million for Violating Texas Clean Air Act
KFYO, August 14, 2013
"Gulf Chemical will pay $7.5 million to Texas for violating environmental laws."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, August 2, 2013


Environmental Concerns Rise as Brazos Levels Fall
The Texas Tribune, August 13, 2013
"GLEN ROSE - At 840 miles long, the Brazos River is a lifeline for municipalities that pump water, industries that use the water for manufacturing plants and farmers who have relied on the river to irrigate their crops."

A Texan Tragedy: Ample Oil, No Water
The Guardian, August 11, 2013
"Beverly McGuire saw the warning signs before the town well went dry: sand in the toilet bowl, the sputter of air in the tap, a pump working overtime to no effect."

EDITORIAL: Order From Austin Proves Even Waco Must Worry About Statewide Water Needs
Waco Tribune-Herald, August 8, 2013
"This summer's ongoing dust-up over Lake Waco water rights involving Dow Chemical downstream, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, farmers and ranchers along the Brazos River basin and the city of Waco is sure proof that water is everyone's problem."


Information Collection: Forms for Oil Spill Financial Responsibility for Offshore Facilities; Proposed Collection for OMB Review: Comment Request
78 Federal Register 47723, August 6, 2013

Notice, Right-of-Way Grant of Submerged Lands on the Outer Continental Shelf to Support Renewable Energy Development
78 Federal Register 47748, August 6, 2013


Secretary Jewell Names Former USCG Vice Admiral Brian Salerno Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
U.S. Department of the Interior Web Site, August 14, 2013
"WASHINGTON, D.C. - Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today named former Vice Admiral Brian Salerno as the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which provides federal oversight for oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf."

60-Day Notice, Information Collection Activities: Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS): Proposed Collection; Comment Request
78 Federal Register 48890, August 12, 2013


Direct Final Rule, Amendment to Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries
78 Federal Register 49690, August 15, 2013

Oil Industry Pleads for Reduced Ethanol Requirement
MyWestTexas.com, August 14, 2013
"WASHINGTON - The oil industry on Tuesday pleaded with the Obama administration to lower the amount of corn-based ethanol and other renewable fuels the government requires companies to blend into gasoline next year."

Direct Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Texas; Victoria County, 1997 8-Hour Ozone Section 110 (a)(1) Maintenance Plan
78 Federal Register 48318, August 8, 2013

Notice of Availability, Preliminary 2012 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan and 2011 Annual Effluent Guidelines Review Report
78 Federal Register 48159, August 7, 2013

EPA Updates Oil and Gas Standards for Storage Tanks
EPA Web Site, August 5, 2013
"WASHINGTON - Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued updates to its April 2012 oil and natural gas standards for storage tanks, which allow responsible oil and natural gas production while ensuring air emissions are reduced as quickly as possible."

Final Rule, Air Quality Designations for the 2010 Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard
78 Federal Register 47191, August 5, 2013

Notice of Data Availability (NODA) and Request for Comment, Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System: Identification and Listing of Special Wastes; Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals From Electric Utilities
78 Federal Register 46940, August 2, 2013

Notice of Adequacy, Adequacy Status of the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, Texas Reasonable Further Progress and Attainment Demonstration Implementation Plan for the 1997 8-Hour Ozone Standard; Motor Vehicle Emission Budgets for Transportation Conformity Purposes
78 Federal Register 46947, August 2, 2013

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

Notice of Safety Advisory and Announcement of Emergency Meeting of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee, Lac-Megantic Railroad Accident Discussion and DOT Safety Recommendations
78 Federal Register 48224, August 7, 2013

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Pipeline Safety: Class Location Requirements
78 Federal Register 46560, August 1, 2013


Texas Charging More in Penalties to Drilling Violators
StateImpact Texas, August 8, 2013
"The state's regulator for oil & gas drilling, the Railroad Commission of Texas, said it's charged over $2.1 million in penalties called 'severance fees' to drilling violators so far this fiscal year that ends August 31."

Railroad Commission Awards IT Modernization Contract Today
Railroad Commission Web Site, August 6, 2013
"AUSTIN - Railroad Commissioners today approved awarding a contract to CGI Technologies and Solutions, Inc. (CGI) to implement the Railroad Commission's Information Technology modernization program."

Railroad Commissioner David Porter Announces New Chief of Staff
Railroad Commission Web Site, August 5, 2013
"AUSTIN - Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter announced last week that he has hired Caleb Troxclair as his new Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel."


Obama Orders Upgrades Of Disaster Planning for Chemical Plants
KUHF-FM, August 2, 2013
"President Obama has signed an executive order to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities."


Methane Emissions Estimate From Airborne Measurements Over a Western United States Natural Gas Field
Geophysical Research Letters, August 3, 2013
"This study demonstrates the mass balance technique as a valuable tool for estimating emissions from oil and gas production regions, and illustrates the need for further atmospheric measurements to determine the representativeness of our single-day estimate and to better assess inventories of CH4 emissions."

Factors Affecting Public-Supply-Well Vulnerability to Contamination: Understanding Observed Water Quality and Anticipating Future Water Quality
U.S. Geological Survey Web Site, 2013
"As part of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program, a study was conducted from 2001 to 2011 to shed light on factors that affect the vulnerability of water from public-supply wells to contamination."