Tag: Oil And Gas

Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment Released for Central California Federal Lands

On January 6, 2017, the federal Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) issued a notice of Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment (“DRMP Amendment”) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (“DEIS”) for oil and gas leasing and development on federal lands administered by the BLM, Central Coast Field Office (“Planning Area”).  82 Fed. Reg. 1754 (Jan. 6, 2017).  … Continue Reading

Industry Groups Push Back Against Environmental Activists in Suit Over Oil & Gas Waste Disposal Regs.

As we discussed earlier, environmental activists have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to update its oil and gas drilling waste disposal rules under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”).  The groups sought to force the EPA’s hand by suing the EPA in an attempt to get a court order requiring the EPA to … Continue Reading

EPA Issues Expansive, Costly New Source Performance Standards for Oil and Gas Sector

Widely anticipated on both sides of the aisle, on May 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released final regulations to curb emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds (“VOC”) from additional new, modified, and reconstructed sources in the oil and gas industry.  The Final Rule, titled,  ‘Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards … Continue Reading

BLM Fights Back Against Activists’ Criticisms of CA Resource Management Plan

The Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) recently filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in a lawsuit brought by a coalition of environmental activists who have challenged the BLM’s Resource Management Plan (“RMP”) for public lands and minerals in California managed by the Bakersfield Field Office.  The activists asked a California federal judge to strike down … Continue Reading

BLM Proposes “Commonsense” Rule to Limit Methane Emissions from Oil & Gas Operations

On Friday, January 22, 2016 the federal Department of the Interior’s (“DOI”) Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) issued a proposed rule on reducing waste and methane emissions in oil and gas operations.  The rule would limit oil and gas flaring, venting, and leaking on federal and Indian lands.  While the U.S. has become the largest … Continue Reading

Utah Congressmen Unveil Landmark Public Land Bill

On January 20, Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz unveiled a “discussion draft” of the Utah Public Lands Initiative Act. The proposed bill undertakes the difficult task of balancing economic development and conservation on public land in the State of Utah. Congressmen Bishop and Chaffetz began working together on the bill in February 2013. Since … Continue Reading

Two Frackquake Lawsuits Filed in Oklahoma

Two lawsuits were filed within days of each other in Oklahoma, claiming that energy companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing and underground disposal of produced water are causing earthquakes throughout the state. These lawsuits probably come as no surprise to the industry after the Sierra Club recently threatened to sue four oil companies for contributing to … Continue Reading

Activists Make Good on Promise to Sue DOT over Pipeline Regs.

On October 8, the National Wildlife Federation (“NWF”) fulfilled its promise to sue the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”). The lawsuit alleges that for 20 years the DOT has allowed pipelines to operate illegally by failing to issue regulations under section 311(j) of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), which requires pipeline operators to submit plans … Continue Reading

Pipeline Operators Take Heed – Threatened Enviro Lawsuit May Lead to Greater Regulatory Requirements

On July 28, 2015, the National Wildlife Federation (“NWF”) filed an intent to sue notice against the Department of Transportation (“DOT”), arguing the DOT has not properly approved pipeline projects for more than 20 years. The legal action carries nationwide implications: Every U.S. oil pipeline that intersects a navigable water may soon be subject to additional … Continue Reading

Activists Threaten to Sue if EPA doesn’t Update RCRA Regs to Cover Oil & Gas Industry

On Wednesday, August 26, a coalition of environmental groups threatened to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) if the regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) are not updated to restrict the disposal of waste associated with oil and gas production. The coalition specifically asked the EPA to review and revise the … Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Proposes New Rules to Curb Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Sector

On August 18, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released proposed regulations aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from oil and gas facilities. These first-ever proposed standards are a key part of a broader strategy, under the President’s Climate Action Plan, to cut methane emissions in the sector by 40% … Continue Reading

EPA Finds No Systemic Threat to Drinking Water from Fracking

On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released a long awaited, and congressionally mandated, study detailing the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water. The EPA found no signs of “widespread, systemic” drinking water pollution from hydraulic fracturing. “It is the most complete compilation of scientific data to date,” says Dr. Thomas Burke, with the EPA’s … Continue Reading

States Show Their True Colors on Fracking – One Enacts a Ban, While Two Others Prohibit All Local Bans

Three states have recently taken a stand for or against controversial bans on hydraulic fracturing. Oklahoma, Texas, and Maryland have all passed laws within the past month relating to hydraulic fracturing bans. Oklahoma Last Friday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed Senate Bill 809, which prohibits local governments from choosing whether to have oil and gas … Continue Reading

New Federal Oil-By-Rail Regulations Published

Today, May 8, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a final rule for rail transport of crude oil in the Federal Register. These rules come after several high-profile oil train derailments, including one recently in North Dakota that caused the evacuation of a nearby town. The final rule applies to “high-hazard flammable … Continue Reading

New Rules on MLPs & Qualifying Income: What Oil Services and Exploration Companies Need to Know

On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released proposed regulations defining qualifying income for Master Limited Partnerships (“MLPs”). MLPs are publicly traded partnerships that are taxed as a partnership rather than a corporation. Being taxed as a MLP has many advantages. While shareholders in a corporation face double taxation  ̶  paying taxes … Continue Reading

Department of Energy Report Calls for U.S. to Modernize Energy Infrastructure, Invest in Natural Gas Pipelines

On Tuesday, April 21 the Obama Administration released the first Quadrennial Energy Review (“QER”) as a component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The extensive report analyzes energy infrastructure in the United States, and “identifies the threats, risks, and opportunities for U.S. energy and climate security, enabling the federal government to translate policy goals into … Continue Reading

North Dakota And Others Look To Challenge New Federal Fracking Regulations

Less than one week after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its Final Rule governing hydraulic fracturing practices on federal lands, North Dakota will proceed to explore the state’s legal options for challenging the new regulations.  At their March 24 meeting, the members of the North Dakota Industrial Commission—comprised of Governor Jack Dalrymple, Attorney … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Releases Federal Fracking Regulations

Today, Friday, March 20, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), an agency within the Department of the Interior, published regulations for hydraulic fracturing on Federal and Indian lands.  The Final Rule becomes effective in 90 days and will impact about 2,800-3,800 wells each year.  In 2013, 90% of the 2,800 new wells on Federal and … Continue Reading

The Early Bird Catches the Worm: A Lesson in Submitting Drilling Applications Early to Avoid Expiration of Federal Oil and Gas Leases

As many of you know, permitting delays are not only frustrating but can have real consequences for project applicants with contractual deadlines. In the case of a federal oil and gas lease, operators should be mindful of the primary term in their lease as recently highlighted by the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) in … Continue Reading

Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down Local Oil & Gas Regulations – How State Law Preemption Is Shielding the Oil and Gas Industry

In a closely watched, 4-3 decision issued yesterday, February 17, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the ‘Home Rule Amendment’ to the Ohio Constitution does not grant the city of Munroe Falls the power to enforce its own oil and gas permitting scheme simultaneously with a state-wide permitting regime. (State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Rules that State and Federal Law Preempts New Mexico’s Fracking Ban

On January 20, 2015 a U.S. District Judge overturned New Mexico’s ban on hydrocarbon extraction, which included a prohibition on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the state.  (SWEPI, LP v. Mora County et al., Case No. 1:14-cv-00035-JB-SCY, filed Jan. 19, 2015.) Mora County, a political subdivision of the State of New Mexico, enacted the ban through a … Continue Reading

EPA Announces Plan for Rulemaking to Reduce Methane Emissions from the Oil and Gas Industry

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced a new goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.  (See White House Fact Sheet.)  The EPA’s goal is to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45% from 2012 levels by 2025.  The proposed regulations will set standards to reduce methane … Continue Reading

Baker Hughes’ Policy to Disclose Chemical Components in Well Stimulation Fluids Designed to “Increase the Public Trust”

One of the largest oil-field services companies in the world, Baker Hughes, has revised its long-standing policies on disclosing the contents of hydraulic fracturing fluids on FracFocus.org – a non-profit database designed to provide the public with information related to oil and gas development. The policy states that the company believes it is “possible to … Continue Reading
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