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Category Archives: Environment

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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

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

U.S. EPA Finalizes NSPS OOOO Amendments

Posted in Energy, Environment
On May 12, 2016, U.S. EPA finalized amendments to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the oil and natural gas source category at 40 CFR Part 60, Subpart OOOO, and established new standards at 40 CFR Part 60, Subpart OOOOa.  The final rule establishes standards for greenhouse gas emissions in the form of limitations on… Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Denies En Banc Review of WOTUS Jurisdictional Issue

Posted in Energy, Environment
This entry is a follow-up to our blog post on February 23, 2016 regarding the Sixth Circuit’s decision that it has jurisdiction to adjudicate challenges to the EPA-Army Corps WOTUS rule.  On April 21, 2016, the Sixth Circuit denied six petitions for rehearing en banc.  In order to obtain en banc (full court) review, the issue presented must be… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Bars Implementation of Clean Power Plan Pending Further Review

Posted in Energy, Environment
On February 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an emergency stay barring the implementation of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  The Court’s order prevents implementation of the Clean Power Plan until the D.C. Circuit Court issues a decision in the pending cases challenging the rule’s legality and until a petition for Supreme Court review… Continue Reading

USFWS Issues Final 4(d) Rule for Northern Long-Eared Bat – Allows Broader Incidental Take Than Interim 4(d) Rule.

Posted in Energy, Environment
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) provided notice today that it has finalized its 4(d) Rule for the Northern Long Eared Bat (“NLEB”).  The NLEB was listed on April 2, 2015, (80 FR 17974) as Threatened due to White Nose Syndrome; a 4(d) Rule allows incidental take under certain circumstances.  The interim 4(d) rule… Continue Reading

Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline

Posted in Energy, Environment
The Obama administration rejected a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The Wall Street Journal reports: The Obama administration rejected the Keystone XL pipeline Friday, capping a politically charged review of the oil project that lasted more than seven years and escalated into a broader debate on energy, climate change and the economy. “The… Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Amends GHG Reporting Requirements for Oil and Natural Gas Sector

Posted in Energy, Environment
On October 22, 2015, U.S. EPA published a final rule amending the greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting requirements for the petroleum and natural gas systems source category, 40 CFR Part 98, Subpart W. The final amendments to Subpart W require the reporting of GHG emissions from completions and workovers of oil wells with hydraulic fracturing as… Continue Reading