Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Energy & Environmental Law Blog

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Monthly Archives: July 2010

New Air Regulations for E&P Operations?

Posted in Energy, Environment
U.S. EPA is continuing its review of how it regulates emissions from oil and natural gas facilities.  The latest step, public meetings "to establish a dialog among government, the affected industry, and other interested members of the public."  More: EPA will be conducting public meetings to provide an opportunity for public involvement during EPA’s review … Continue Reading

EPA Denies Claims of Flawed Climate Science

Posted in Environment
U.S. EPA has denied multiple petitions challenging its finding that climate change is based on sound science, according to this press release.  "After months of serious consideration of the petitions and of the state of climate change science, EPA finds no evidence to support [the petitioners'] claims. In contrast, EPA’s review shows that climate science … Continue Reading

EPA Environmental Justice Initiative

Posted in Environment
U.S. EPA has released an interim guidance document on how to incorporate environmental justice issues into its rulemaking process.  From the related press release:  "The document, Interim Guidance on Considering Environmental Justice During the Development of an Action, seeks to advance environmental justice for low-income, minority and indigenous communities and tribal governments who have been … Continue Reading

Gulf Spill Impact on Onshore Operations

Posted in Energy
We’ve mentioned before that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is likely to have an impact on onshore E&P operations.  Some environmental groups certainly hope so – here is a copy of a joint letter recently sent to Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) by Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, … Continue Reading

PA Preemption Decision

Posted in Energy
The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in Penneco Oil Company, Inc. v. The County of Fayette, Pennsylvania, recently affirmed a lower court decision holding that a local zoning ordinance was not preempted by the state’s Oil and Gas Act (58 P.S. §§601.101-601.605).  The court observed that the ordinance provided that an oil or gas well would … Continue Reading

New Marcellus Economic Study

Posted in Energy
The American Petroleum Institute (API) has just released a new study on the economic benefits of producing the Marcellus Shale for New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  See here for a copy of the report, which finds that it "could create 280,000 new American jobs and add $6 billion in new tax revenues to local, … Continue Reading

EPA Frac Study Update

Posted in Energy, Environment
U.S. EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) Staff Office is seeking public recommendations of technical experts to assist in reviewing EPA’s hydraulic fracturing study plan.  "Selection criteria to be used for Panel membership include: (a) Scientific and/or technical expertise, knowledge, and experience (primary factors); (b) availability and willingness to serve; (c) absence of financial conflicts of … Continue Reading

Biofuel GHG Emissions

Posted in Energy, Environment
U.S. EPA has asked for comments on how to account for greenhouse gas emissions generated from bioenergy and other biogenic sources.  It stated:  "The fact that the Tailoring Rule did not take final action one way or another concerning such an exclusion does not mean that EPA has decided there is no basis for treating biomass … Continue Reading

A Solar Panel on Every Roof?

Posted in Environment
Yesterday, proposed legislation on grants for residential and commercial solar energy systems received support from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The proposed legislation (S.3460), entitled the 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2010, would set a national goal for installation of solar electric or water heating systems over ten years, with $250 million … Continue Reading

Barnett Shale Air Study

Posted in Energy, Environment
The Barnett Shale Energy Education Council recently released an air study showing no harmful levels of benzene or other compounds being emitted from natural gas sites in Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas.  For more, including a copy of the report, see here… Continue Reading

PA Gathering Update

Posted in Energy
We’ve reported previously on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s (PA PUC) possible regulation of gathering (see here, e.g.), and the petition filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by Laser Marcellus Gathering Company, LLC, for a declaratory order that its pipeline facilities are functionally gathering and therefore exempt from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission jurisdiction under Section … Continue Reading

More SPCC Regulation on the Horizon?

Posted in Energy, Environment
Federal spill prevention control and countermeasure (SPCC) regulation has been at the forefront of recent U.S. EPA regulatory initiatives (see here, e.g.).  The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce is working on legislation that suggests we may see even more changes to the SPCC Rule in the near future.  See here (linking to H.R. 5626, … Continue Reading

PA Marcellus Drilling Personnel

Posted in Energy
According to this news release, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has concluded that untrained personnel and the failure to use proper well control procedures were the main causes of a natural gas well blowout in Clearfield County in June, leading to fines of more than $400,000.  Moreover, the DEP has told Marcellus drillers: • A … Continue Reading

It’s What You Think You Know!

Posted in Energy, Environment
Mark Twain wrote:  "It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so."  As an example, the NYT is reporting that most tar balls washing up on the Texas shore are not related to the Gulf spill, contrary to earlier opinion… Continue Reading

Oil Spill Panel Concerns

Posted in Energy
This should come as no surprise.  The WSJ is reporting that members of Congress of both political parties are questioning the competence and bias of a panel put together by the Obama administration to investigate the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  "Republicans and some Democrats in Congress have questioned panel members’ competence and ideological leanings. … Continue Reading

Shale Boom

Posted in Energy
The NYT has an article on the competing views on Marcellus drilling (a topic we’ve noted in the past).  An example:  "There [in Williamsport, PA], real estate and industrial space going for a premium blunt the impact of the worst American recession since the Great Depression." [Update:  For another NYT article on the development going … Continue Reading

GHG Confidentiality Rule

Posted in Energy, Environment
U.S. EPA has issued a proposed rule on the confidentiality determinations it believes are appropriate for the data and information submitted as part of a company’s compliance with its Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule obligations.  Among other things, "EPA is soliciting comment on several key issues related to the confidentiality determinations and proposed amendments, such as … Continue Reading

Moratorium Decision Stands for Now

Posted in Energy
We reported previously on the issuance of a preliminary injunction by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana prohibiting the Interior Department from enforcing a six-month moratorium on all drilling in the Gulf of Mexico’s Outer Continental Shelf.  See here.  The NYT is reporting that the Administration’s efforts to reinstate the moratorium … Continue Reading

Short-Term Energy Outlook for July 2010

Posted in Energy
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released its Short-Term Energy Outlook for July, 2010, projecting "lower-48 onshore production increases [of] 2 Bcf/d (3.8 percent) in 2010 and 0.2 Bcf/d (0.3 percent) in 2011. According to Baker-Hughes, natural gas rig counts have climbed from under 670 in July 2009 to about 950 in April this year … Continue Reading

Future Generations

Posted in Energy
This is good news.  For years, the oil and gas industry has been concerned about finding and training skilled workers for the future.  From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:  "With Penn State University researchers projecting that the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry will create or support about 88,000 jobs in Pennsylvania by the end of this year, … Continue Reading

Range War?

Posted in Energy
The Philadelphia Inquirer has an article highlighting the various interests at issue in the Marcellus Shale – from landowners looking to save the homestead in a challenging economy to environmentalists looking to shut down development.  "What is unfolding here is a mammoth clash between neighbors with starkly contrasting visions about the land. It is a … Continue Reading

New Gathering Line Regulation?

Posted in Energy
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing last week on "The Safety of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines:  Regulated vs. Unregulated Pipelines."  See here.  The focus – not surprisingly, given the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico – was on any perceived gaps in existing safety regulations, with much … Continue Reading