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Category Archives: Environment

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New guidance for TSCA Nanoscale Rule

Posted in Environment
On August 14th, 2017, the U.S. EPA issued new guidance for the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”) Nanoscale Rule regulating chemical substances produced at the nanoscale (1-100 nm in at least one dimension).  The Nanoscale Rule will require all current and future manufacturers and processors to report to EPA when such nanoscale chemical substances are… Continue Reading

Governor Kasich Signs Senate Bill 2 Into Law

Posted in Environment
On July 7, 2017, Governor Kasich signed Senate Bill 2 (SB 2), which addresses Ohio’s authority under several environmental regulatory programs. Notable provisions of SB 2 include: • Expanding Ohio EPA’s authority to take actions to abate contamination at locations where hazardous waste was disposed of to include locations where solid waste and construction and… Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Vacates Stay of Oil and Gas Methane Emissions Rule

Posted in Energy, Environment
This post provides an important update to our April 20, 2017 post regarding U.S. EPA’s reconsideration of its rule regulating methane emissions from the oil and gas industry (“NSPS OOOOa”). On June 5, 2017, EPA published a notice of reconsideration and partial stay of NSPS OOOOa. Specifically, EPA stayed the effectiveness of the fugitive emissions… Continue Reading

BLM Postpones Waste Prevention Rule Compliance Date

Posted in Energy, Environment
On June 15, 2017, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued notice that it was postponing compliance date for certain sections of its Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation Rule, 81 Fed. Reg. 83008 (“Waste Prevention Rule”). The Waste Prevention Rule regulates the loss of natural gas through venting, flaring, and leaks… Continue Reading

White House Approves Keystone XL Pipeline

Posted in Energy, Environment
The White House issued a permit today approving Keystone XL, “bringing the mammoth oil pipeline a step closer to fruition more than a year after former President Barack Obama blocked its construction,” writes The Wall Street Journal. The paper notes that the pipeline, which will carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil a day once completed,… Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Holds WOTUS Case Pending Supreme Court Review

Posted in Energy, Environment
On January 25, 2017, the Sixth Circuit granted a motion to hold in abeyance litigation regarding U.S. EPA’s rule defining “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) pending the Supreme Court’s review of whether the Sixth Circuit has jurisdiction to hear the case. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to settle the jurisdictional issue on January 13,… Continue Reading

The Nanoscale Rule

Posted in Environment
On May 12, 2017, EPA’s first rule regulating chemical substances produced at the nanoscale will take effect as part of the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”).  The Nanoscale Rule, part of TSCA Section 8(a), will require all current and future manufacturers and processors to report to EPA when such nanoscale chemical substances are produced in… Continue Reading

U.S. E.P.A. Agrees to Review Drilling Waste Regulations to Settle Suit

Posted in Energy, Environment
In May of 2016, environmental groups sued the U.S. E.P.A., alleging that the agency failed to review and revise its regulations and state waste management plan guidelines regarding waste materials from oil and gas production as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. § 6901 et seq.  On December 28, 2016, the court… Continue Reading

New Revisions to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mitigation Policy

Posted in Environment
Effective November, 21, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) revised its guiding 1981 Mitigation Policy to provide a new structure for mitigation during permitting in order to diminish the impact of private development upon fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats. The policy revision’s stated purpose is to replace project-by-project or single-source mitigation with… Continue Reading

BLM Issues Notice of Auction for Oil/Gas Leases in Wayne National Forest

Posted in Energy, Environment
On October 17, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management released a Notice of Competitive Oil and Gas Internet-Based Lease Sale for approximately 1,600 acres of the Wayne National Forest in Monroe, Noble and Washington Counties, Ohio. The notice of the lease sale was issued shortly after the BLM issued a final Environmental Assessment and associated… Continue Reading

USFWS Proposes Endangered Listing for Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

Posted in Energy, Environment
On September 22, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to list the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The primary reason for the Service’s proposed listing is the 91 percent decline in the bumble bee’s population abundance and distribution since the late 1990s, according… Continue Reading

Governor Kasich Signs Executive Order for Implementation of Oil and Gas Emergency Notification System

Posted in Energy, Environment
On August 9, 2016, Governor Kasich signed Executive Order 2016-04K authorizing the immediate adoption of rules creating an emergency notification process for oil and gas related emergencies, such as an uncontrolled fire or the release of natural gas, oil, brine, hazardous substances and other wastes at a production or processing facility. Under the rules, such… Continue Reading

Climate Change Conspiracy?

Posted in Energy, Environment
In 2015, several attorneys general began an investigation into energy companies, focusing upon whether those companies lied to the public about the risk of climate change or to investors about how such rights might hurt the oil business.  Subsequently, ExxonMobil Corp., a primary target of those investigations, sued two attorneys general in an effort to thwart… Continue Reading

States and Industry Groups Challenge U.S. EPA’s Oil & Gas Methane Regulations

Posted in Energy, Environment
In July, the State of North Dakota filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging U.S. EPA’s final rule amending the Agency’s 2012 New Source Performance Standards for the Oil and Gas Sector. Opposition to the amendments, which became effective on August 2, 2016, has increased significantly since North Dakota… Continue Reading

Climate Change and Pennsylvania’s Environmental Rights Amendment

Posted in Energy, Environment
In 2015, several minors living in Pennsylvania filed a climate change lawsuit in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania against the Governor and various state agencies, demanding that the Executive Branch develop a comprehensive plan to protect them from alleged deleterious effects of global climate change.  The youths premised their argument upon Article I, Section 27… Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Finalizes Rule Prohibiting Oil/Gas Wastewater Discharges to POTWs

Posted in Energy, Environment
On June 27, 2016 U.S. EPA finalized a regulation under the Clean Water Act that prohibits the discharge of wastewater from certain oil and gas extraction facilities to POTWs. Specifically, the rule applies to onshore extraction from shale and/or tight geologic formations – referred to as unconventional oil and gas resources. EPA determined that current… Continue Reading

TSCA Reform: Major Chemical Management Changes on the Horizon

Posted in Articles, Environment
The Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”) became law in 1976 with the objective of regulating chemicals in commerce that posed an “unreasonable risk of injury to human health or the environment.”  While originated with good intent, TSCA had become a stale law that lacked clarity for industry and regulators alike.  Now, after years of legislative… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds CWA Jurisdictional Determinations are Final Agency Actions

Posted in Energy, Environment
On May 31, 2016, The U.S. Supreme Court held that Clean Water Act jurisdictional determinations by the Army Corps of Engineers are final agency actions that can be reviewed by federal courts.  In reaching its decision, the Supreme Court declined to follow a 2014 decision from the Fifth Circuit which held that jurisdictional determinations are… Continue Reading