Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Energy & Environmental Law Blog

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Monthly Archives: June 2010

WV Marcellus Drilling

Posted in Energy
The Intelligencer has an interesting article on drilling activity in the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia (with a side note regarding Ohio).  "The Marcellus Shale rush is hitting on the west side of the Ohio River as well. Information provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources shows there are currently 12 completed Marcellus wells … Continue Reading

Study: Natural Gas Use to Double

Posted in Energy, Environment
Natural gas is expected to double its share of the energy market, according to a study done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and reported on here by the NYT.  The article:  "The increase, the report concluded, will come largely at the expense of coal and will be driven both by abundant supplies of natural … Continue Reading

KY Marketers Take Note

Posted in Energy
Directed to study whether natural gas retail market competition would benefit the state’s small-volume consumers, the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) is seeking public comment from everyone that might be impacted by the change.  See here (public notice).  For related testimony and other information, see here (Case No. 2010-00146)… Continue Reading

No NEPA Violation

Posted in Energy
The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently upheld a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) decision allowing natural gas development in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.  See Biodiversity Conservation Alliance v. Bureau of Land Management, Case No. 09-8011 (Jun. 18, 2010) (here; search using case number).  Environmental groups challenged the decision, arguing that it … Continue Reading

FERC Order No. 704-C

Posted in Energy
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued Order No. 704-C recently to clarify certain aspects of Form 552, "under which natural gas market participants must annually report information regarding physical natural gas transactions that use an index or that contribute to or may contribute to the formation of a gas index."  Among other things, Order … Continue Reading

Natural Gas Company NOPR

Posted in Energy
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) soliciting comments on a proposal to revise certain financial reporting requirements for natural gas companies in Form Nos. 2, 2-A, and 3-Q.  Among other things, the revisions would require information on the amount of fuel waived, discounted or reduced as part … Continue Reading

Moratorium Struck Down

Posted in Energy, Environment
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction today prohibiting the Interior Department from enforcing a six-month moratorium on all drilling in the Gulf of Mexico’s Outer Continental Shelf in water at depths greater than 500 feet.  See Hornbeck Offshore Services, LLC v. Kenneth Lee "Ken" Salazar, Case No. 10-1663 (you … Continue Reading

Coal Combustion Residual Indecision?

Posted in Environment
Today the USEPA proposed two alternative options (75 FR 35128) for regulating coal combustion residuals ("CCR").  Under the first proposal, CCR would be listed as a special waste subject to RCRA subtitle C regulation when destined for disposal.  The second proposal would continue to regulate CCR under RCRA subtitle D by issuing national minimum criteria.  This proposed regulation also would … Continue Reading

Appalachian Gateway Project

Posted in Energy
Dominion Transmission, Inc., has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for approval of its Appalachian Gateway Project.  See here (Docket No. CP10-448).  Among other things, it requests authorization to construct approximately 107 miles of varying diameter pipeline, several new compressor stations, and approval of related incremental transportation rates.  Estimated cost:  Just … Continue Reading

New Royalty Class Actions Filed

Posted in Energy
The Bristol Herald Courier is reporting that two class action lawsuits were filed last week claiming that EQT Corp. and Consol Energy, Inc., failed to pay Southwest Virginia landowners for producing coalbed methane from their properties.  This follows a 2004 Virginia Supreme Court ruling that methane constitutes a distinct mineral estate from coal for purposes … Continue Reading

EPA Frac Study – Public Meetings

Posted in Energy, Environment
We posted earlier on the hydraulic fracturing study that U.S. EPA plans to do (see here, e.g.).  EPA has announced that it will be holding four public meetings around the country to gather further input (including one on July 22 from 6 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Canonsburg, Pa.)… Continue Reading

Qualified Energy Projects

Posted in Energy
The Ohio General Assembly recently enacted Sub. S.B. 232, which (among other things) exempts certain qualified energy projects from real and personal property taxation for upcoming tax years; expands the solar panel revolving loan program to include other alternative energy technologies; and requires the Public Utilities Commission to study reactive power in the state. [Note:  Vorys … Continue Reading

Forgotten Workers

Posted in Energy
With all of the talk of a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf, one group of workers gets little national attention:  Rig workers.  The NYT has an article looking at the impact a drilling ban would have on these skilled employees.  A sample:  "The securities firm Raymond James & Associates predicts that the moratorium could … Continue Reading

Tawney Stopped at the Ohio Border

Posted in Energy
Building on the royalty-interest owners’ success in Estate of Garrison G. Tawney v. Columbia Natural Resources, LLC (West Virginia), plaintiffs filed a nearly-identical suit in Ohio asserting class-action claims for the deliberate and fraudulent underpayment of natural gas royalties by CNR and its successors.  See Lutz v. Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, Case No. 4:09CV2256 (United States District Court, Northern … Continue Reading

EPA Reanalyzing Dioxin Toxicity

Posted in Environment
On June 14, USEPA gave notice of a July 9, 2010 "listening session" related to its external review draft document entitled "EPA’s Reanalysis of Key Issues Related to Dioxin Toxicity and Response to NAS Comments."  The draft document includes new analyses on potential human effects from exposure to 2, 3, 7, 8 tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD).  The draft … Continue Reading

Tax Proposal Defeated

Posted in Energy
The WSJ is reporting that a proposal made by Senator Sanders (I-Vt.) to repeal the expensing of intangible drilling and development costs and percentage depletion has been defeated (at least for the moment), despite being part of a budget request made by the President this year. (Note:  Subscription required.)… Continue Reading

Are Construction Costs About to Go Up?

Posted in Environment
The NYT is reporting that the U.S. Conference of Mayors is supporting a mandatory "green" construction code designed to reduce the impact of commercial buildings on the environment.  The article goes on to note:  "A handful of states and cities already require new public buildings to meet sustainable design benchmarks, such as the U.S. Green … Continue Reading

Drilling Moratorium Expanded

Posted in Energy
The Delaware River Basin Commission has announced that its ban on new drilling permits in the Delaware River Basin has been expanded to include exploratory wells too, according to this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  "The commission said the action was a recognition of ‘the risks to water resources . . . that the land … Continue Reading

Dominion Marcellus Project

Posted in Energy
Dominion has announced that its transmission and storage subsidiary, Dominion Transmission, has entered into a 15-year firm transportation agreement with CONSOL Energy, Inc., for CONSOL’s Marcellus production… Continue Reading

Forecast Uncertainties

Posted in Energy, Environment
Take the oil spill forecasts you hear with a grain of salt.  This article from the Houston Chronicle reports on the related uncertainties and warns:  "Predicting the long-term trajectories, it seems, is therefore a riskier business than even long-range hurricane forecasting."  Sounds like good advice… Continue Reading

Ouch! No Tax Credit?

Posted in Energy, Environment
The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting on the loss of state solar tax credits despite homeowner reliance when installing the related equipment.  "Turns out that the money for those tax credits – about $50 million over eight years from the state’s general fund – was eliminated as part of the 101-day budget duel last fall."… Continue Reading

Hollywood and the Gulf Spill

Posted in Energy
The federal government is meeting with Hollywood celebrities to discuss options for addressing the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The Houston Chronicle reports here on congressional testimony given by Kevin Costner on separators that he has been developing over the last several years (motivated by the Exxon-Valdez spill); and here on a … Continue Reading

Policy Brief on Severance Tax

Posted in Energy
The Times-Tribune is reporting that the Commonwealth Foundation has issued a policy brief opposing the new severance tax proposed for Pennsylvania oil and gas producers.  You can find a copy of the brief here… Continue Reading