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Texas Environmental Update

July 16, 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.


EPA Improves Transparency by Posting Petitions and Notices of Intent Online
Energy Legal Blog, July 16, 2013
In response to a request made by Senator David Vitter, EPA has made several concessions to address concerns about agency transparency. In particular, industry has had concerns about the recent increase of so-called "sue and settle" cases. Under the sue and settle process [...]

EPA Takes a Step Towards Additional TSCA Regulation of E&P Fluids
Energy Legal Blog, July 10, 2013
A notice expected to be published by EPA in the Federal Register on July 11, 2013 could be a step towards additional Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulation of substances used in oil and gas exploration. The notice follows a prior response to a petition from environmental groups seeking regulation of exploration and production (E&P) [...]


Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' July 26, 2013 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

In the News:


Eagle Ford Drilling Is Polluting San Antonio's Air
San Antonio Express-News, July 11, 2013
"Air pollution from the Eagle Ford Shale play will raise the level of ozone in Bexar County by 2018, according to a recent study by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Alamo Area Council of Governments."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, July 12, 2013


Editorial: Frisco Must Keep Residents Better Informed on Exide Cleanup
Dallas Morning News, July 14, 2013
"Environmentalists and Frisco residents have long wondered whether contamination existed beyond the borders of Exide Technologies' shuttered Frisco plant."

Contamination Concerns Near Former Frisco Recycling Plant
KHOU.com, July 9, 2013
"FRISCO - For the first time, documents show contamination concerns extend beyond the site of the former Exide Technologies lead recycling plant in Frisco."


Notice of Intent (NOI) to Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS); Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), Gulf of Mexico (GOM), Oil and Gas Lease Sale, Western Planning Area (WPA) Lease Sales 238, 246, and 248 MMAA104000
78 Federal Register 42544, July 16, 2013


Watson to Resign as BSEE Director, Join ABS
July 9, 2013
Bureau of Environmental Safety and Enforcement (BSEE) James A. Watson will resign from BSEE and join maritime classification society ABS Sept. 2 as president and chief operating officer of its Americas division."


Proposed Rule, Extension of Public-Comment Period; Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category
78 Federal Register 41907, July 12, 2013

Chemical Substances and Mixtures Used in Oil and Gas Exploration or Production; TSCA Section 21 Petition; Reasons for Agency Response
78 Federal Register 41768, July 11, 2013

EPA's Abandoned Wyoming Fracking Study One Retreat of Many
ProPublica, July 3, 2013
"When the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly retreated on its multimillion-dollar investigation into water contamination in a central Wyoming natural gas field last month, it shocked environmentalists and energy industry supporters alike."


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 6-Month Extension of Final Determination for the Proposed Listing of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as a Threatened Species
78 Federal Register 41022, July 9, 2013

Final Rule, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of Endangered Species Status for Six West Texas Aquatic Invertebrates
78 Federal Register 41228, July 9, 2013

Final Rule, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for Six West Texas Aquatic Invertebrates
78 Federal Register 40970, July 9, 2013

Final Rule, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Critical Habitat Map for the Fountain Darter
78 Federal Register 39628, July 2, 2013


Notice of Issuance of Advisory Bulletin, Pipeline Safety: Potential for Damage to Pipeline Facilities Caused by Flooding
78 Federal Register 41991, July 12, 2013

Notice and Request for Comments, Pipeline Safety: Information Collection Activities, Revision to Annual Report for Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Systems
78 Federal Register 41829, July 11, 2013

Notice of Advisory Committee Meeting., Pipeline Safety: Meetings of the Gas and Liquid Pipeline Advisory Committees
78 Federal Register 41496, July 10, 2013


Memorandum of June 25, 2013, Power Sector Carbon Pollution Standards
78 Federal Register 39535, July 1, 2013


State Auditor's Office Report: 'Railroad Commission Effectively Administering Annual Fund Used To Plug Abandoned Wells Statewide'
Railroad Commission Web Site, July 8, 2013
"AUSTIN - The State Auditor's Office today released an audit report on the Railroad Commission's administration of a fund that uses industry fees to plug abandoned wells and clean up abandoned oil field sites, concluding that the Commission is effectively overseeing the fund."


Drought, Drilling Add Up to Problems for Migrating Birds
MyWestTexas.com, July 14, 2013
"Texas is a major migration flyway for birds, is in a severe drought and is experiencing a drilling renaissance - three things that some bird rehabilitators say add up to increasing pressure on wildlife."

Cave Discovered on RM 620 Project
Austin American-Statesman, July 11, 2013
"Although the discovery of endangered cave bugs has in the past delayed local construction projects, Williamson County authorities said this week they don't expect that to be the case during the ongoing widening of RM 620."

Study: Distant Quakes Can Affect Oil, Gas Fields
MyWestTexas.com, July 11, 2013
"LOS ANGELES - The powerful earthquake that rocked Japan in 2011 set off tremors around a West Texas oil field, according to new research that suggests oil and gas drilling operations may make fault zones sensitive to shock waves from distant big quakes."


Improving Public and Worker Safety at Oil Refineries, Draft Report of the Interagency Working Group on Refinery Safety
California Environmental Protection Agency Web Site, July 2013
"In October 2012, the Brown Administration formed an Interagency Working Group on Refinery Safety to identify means of improving refinery and agency performance."

U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather
Department of Energy Web Site, July 2013
"This report-part of the Administration's efforts to support national climate change adaptation planning through the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force and Strategic Sustainability Planning process established under Executive Order 13514 and to advance the U.S. Department of Energy's goal of promoting energy security-examines current and potential future impacts of these climate trends on the U.S. energy sector."

Dump Now, Pay Later: Coal Ash Disposal Risk for the U.S. Electric Power Sector
Rainforest Action Network, July 2013
"The U.S. coal-fired power plant fleet produces over 130 million tons of coal ash each year."

Water-Energy Nexus Research: Recommendations for Future Opportunities Water and Energy Nexus Research Database
Alliance for Water Efficiency Web Site, June 2013
"With increasing interest and attention being directed at the relationship between water and energy resources, it is important to understand what research and studies have been completed."

Gas Pipeline Safety: Guidance and More Information Needed Before Using Risk-Based Reassessment Intervals
Government Accountability Office, June 2013
"The Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 established the gas integrity management program, which required gas transmission pipeline operators to assess the integrity of their pipeline segments in high consequence areas by December 2012 and reassess them at least every 7 years."