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Texas Environmental Update

May 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.


Hydraulic Fracturing Bans: New York Appellate Court Affirms Zoning Bans at the Local Level
Energy Legal Blog, May 3, 2013
In New York, municipalities can effectively "zone out" oil and gas operations by passing zoning ordinances. An appellate panel of the New York Supreme Court affirmed the decision of a lower court, holding local municipalities have the power to enact zoning ordinances that ban "all activities related to the exploration for, and the production or [...]


Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' May 22, 2013 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

In the News:

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, May 15, 2013


West Texas Plant Turns Sewage Into Tap Water
Beaumont Enterprise, May 13, 2013
"LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - With every flush of a toilet, residents in parts of parched West Texas are adding to their drinking water supply."

Texas Rice Farmers Could Get Relief From New Reservoir Project
Southwest Farm Press, May 9, 2013
"One of the worst droughts in modern history caused the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to propose two consecutive years of an emergency water plan that, once approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), left Texas rice growers in a three-county coastal region without adequate irrigation water to sustain their entire rice crops, forcing most farmers to limit rice acres and scramble to plant alternative crops, like cotton or sorghum."



Notice of Intent; Notice of Scoping Meetings; and Request for Scoping Comments; Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Geological and Geophysical Exploration Activities in the Gulf of Mexico
78 Federal Register 27427, May 10, 2013


Notice, Final Safety Culture Policy Statement
78 Federal Register 27419, May 10, 2013

BSEE and Coast Guard Sign Agreement to Improve Offshore Oversight
BSEE Web Site, May 9, 2013
"Houston - Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director James Watson and U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Joseph Servidio announced today at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas a new Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will strengthen the working relationship between their two agencies on the management of safety and environmental protection responsibilities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)."


Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Revision of Crane Regulation Standards for Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs), Offshore Supply Vessels (OSVs), and Floating Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Facilities
78 Federal Register 27913, May 13, 2013


Denial of Petition for Rulemaking, Notice of Final Action on Petition From Earthjustice to List Coal Mines as a Source Category and to Regulate Air Emissions From Coal Mines
78 Federal Register 26739, May 8, 2013

Direct Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Texas; Revisions to Control of Air Pollution from Nitrogen Compounds From Stationary Sources
78 Federal Register 26251, May 6, 2013

Direct Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Texas; Approval of Texas Low Emission Diesel Fuel Rule Revisions
78 Federal Register 26255, May 6, 2013

Notice of Public Comment Period, Draft Plan for Development of the Integrated Science Assessment for Nitrogen Oxides - Health Criteria
78 Federal Register 26026, May 3, 2013


Proposed Rule; Revision and Reopening of Comment Period; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as a Threatened Species With a Special Rule
78 Federal Register 26302, May 6, 2013


State Lets Dangerous Gas Pipes Remain in North Texas
WFAA.com, May 8, 2013
"DALLAS - State regulatory officials ruled this week that Atmos Energy is not mandated to remove more than 800 miles of natural gas piping made of cast-iron, a material that the federal government began warning gas operators to phase out in 1973 because of concerns over deterioration."


LEGISLATIVE ROUNDUP: Texas Budget Leaders Remain Hopeful of Deal
Your Houston News, May 16, 2013
"AUSTIN - House and Senate negotiators remained optimistic Wednesday they would finalize a new Texas budget by midnight amid last-minute uncertainty over how much money would be restored to public schools socked by historic spending cuts two years ago."

Agency Name Change and Ethics Proposal Derailed
Houston Chronicle, May 15, 2013
"For the second session in a row, efforts to revamp the state agency in charge of regulating oil and gas producers have died in the Texas Legislature."

Texas Appealing to Other States for Radioactive Trash, Looks to Expand Program
FoxNews.com, May 7, 2013
"When it comes to nuclear waste, many states have a not-in-my-backyard attitude."


House Committee on Energy Resources

House Committee on Environmental Regulation
House Committee on Natural Resources

Senate Committee on Natural Resources


Few Texas Counties Follow Federal Chemical Preparedness Law
WFAA.com, May 14, 2013
"A statewide survey by News 8 has found a dramatic lack of compliance with a federal mandate that orders counties to operate a planning committee that helps anticipate and respond to emergencies at plants storing hazardous chemicals."

Council Expresses Concerns on Water Monitoring
Denton Record-Chronicle, May 14, 2013
"The Denton City Council declined this week to give much direction on a proposed program to test groundwater wells, and instead asked for a closed session with the city attorneys to discuss ramifications of the program."

Company Shows Off Carbon Capture System
San Antonio Express-News, May 10, 2013
"Federal officials Friday celebrated the success of a government-backed project in Port Arthur that's capturing carbon dioxide and putting it to use in the oil patch."

West, Texas Blast Reveals Lack of Insurance Rule
El Paso Times, May 4, 2013
"AUSTIN - The insurance on the fertilizer plant that blew up in West, Texas, on April 17 was a 'drop in the bucket' next to the damage it caused, the spokesman for an industry group said Friday."


Dangerous Drillers: Offshore Safety Lapses Continue Three Years After BP Spill
Natural Resources Committee Democrats Web Site, May 10, 2013
"The Democratic staff of the House Natural Resources Committee analyzed data from the Department of the Interior (DOI) - including company-by-company data, which has not been publicly disclosed before - to assess progress over the last three years, comparing accidents, inspections, violations and civil penalties before and after BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster."

Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States
Ceres Web Site, May 2013
"This report examines and compares the stack air pollutant emissions of the 100 largest power producers in the United States based on their 2011 generation, plant ownership, and emissions data."

State-Level Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2000-2010
Energy Information Administration Web Site, May 2013
"This paper presents a basic analysis of the factors that contribute to a state's carbon dioxide profile."