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EPA Proposes to Require $7+ Billion of Financial Assurances from U.S. Hardrock Mining Industry Under CERCLA Section 108(b)

Last week the EPA officially published its proposal to impose over $7 billion of financial assurance requirements on the owners and operators of currently active or idle hardrock mines and mineral processing facilities. 82 Fed. Reg. 3388 (Jan. 11, 2017).  These proposed requirements are intended to cover estimated response costs, natural resource damages, and health … Continue Reading

BREAKING: Wyoming Federal Court Delays Implementation Of BLM’s Final Fracking Rule

On the heels of yesterday’s day-long hearing on several preliminary injunction motions in litigation challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM”) new final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal public lands, the Wyoming district court has temporarily ordered a delay of the rule’s implementation for at least several weeks. (See our prior coverage of the preliminary injunction briefing … Continue Reading

More Injunction Arguments In BLM Fracking Rule Litigation Prior To Major Court Hearing Tomorrow

Several more key filings have come into the federal litigation challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands in advance of the June 23 consolidated preliminary injunction hearing. These briefs are summarized below: BLM’s Opposition To The Preliminary Injunction Motions Filed By The States Of Wyoming And Colorado … Continue Reading

California Governor Signs Bill Regulating Oil by Rail

On September 25, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that will provide California’s emergency responders with more information about trains carrying crude oil and require railroad companies to provide more information about potentially hazardous cargo to the state’s Office of Emergency Services (“OES”).  In summary, Assembly Bill 380 requires: a rail carrier to prospectively … Continue Reading

USGS Tool Could Predict, Prevent Wetlands Contamination By Sub-Surface Wastewater

While advances in hydraulic fracturing technology have resulted in an oil and gas boom in North Dakota and other parts of the U.S., the industry, federal and state regulators, and local communities have also had to contend with outgrowths of that development.  One particular issue confronting those groups is how to handle and dispose of … Continue Reading

House Passes Legislation Which Would Prohibit Department of the Interior from Enforcing Federal Fracturing Regulations

On November 20, 2013, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2728, Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act, which was introduced by Representative Bill Flores (R-Texas).  As discussed in a previous post (see Nov. 15, 2013 post), H.R. 2728 prohibits the Department of the Interior from enforcing federal regulations, guidance, or permit requirements … Continue Reading

House of Representatives to Consider Legislation Relating to Hydraulic Fracturing

The House of Representatives plans to consider two bills relating to hydraulic fracturing next week.  The first of the two, H.R. 2728, Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act, was introduced by Representative Bill Flores (R-Texas) on July 18, 2013.  This bill would amend the Mineral Leasing Act and prohibit the U.S. Department … Continue Reading

New Study Shows Methane Emissions at Natural Gas Production Sites Are Less Than Previously Estimated

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently published a study of direct measurements of methane emissions from sources at 190 onshore natural gas production sites using operational practices. The estimate of total emissions from this study is similar to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent National Emissions Inventory of methane emissions from natural … Continue Reading

Uncertain Future? California Carbon Sequestration Bill

Senate Bill 34 (Carbon Capture and Storage Act of 2013), which would close certain key legal gaps that hinder carbon capture and storage in California, lost its sponsor late last week when Senator Rubio (D – East Bakersfield) suddenly resigned.  Earlier this week the Senate Environmental Quality Committee decided to postpone its hearing on SB-34.  … Continue Reading

EPA Issues Final Rule Governing Fracking Emissions

Last week, EPA issued a final rule imposing New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) on fracking well completions.  The rule applies to new gas wells and refractured gas wells, which are considered “modifications” subject to NSPS.  Under the new rule, fracking operators must use reduced emission completions, also known as RECs or green completions, to reduce … Continue Reading

Industry Report Suggests Improvements for EPA’s Proposed Fracking Study

The American Petroleum Institute and America’s Natural Gas Alliance sponsored a report finding that EPA’s proposed hydraulic fracturing study plan could be improved in several areas.  The report finds that the proposed EPA study reaches beyond the scope of Congress’s stated purpose – studying the relationship between fracking and drinking water.  Rather than focus on … Continue Reading

Oil & Gas Industry Law Alert: U.S. EPA Continues Refinery Enforcement, Focuses on Flares

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice recently announced the latest proposed settlement in EPA’s Clean Air Act enforcement initiative against petroleum refiners. Hess Corporation will pay an $850,000 civil penalty and spend more than $45 million on new pollution controls at its Port Reading, New Jersey refinery to resolve alleged … Continue Reading
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