Category: Oil & Gas

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Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Proposes Changes to Bond Regulation

The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (“AOGCC”) is considering revisions to 20 AAC 25.025 of the Alaska Administrative Code.  One revision would “allow a reduction in the requisite bond amount if an operator demonstrates that it has a bond in place with the landowner dedicated exclusively to the plugging and abandonment of a well … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds that Natural Gas Pipeline May Cross Under Appalachian Trail

On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court held in United States Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association that the U.S. Forest Service was authorized to issue a special use permit granting a 0.1-mile right of way under the Appalachian Trail (“Trail”) to Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (“Atlantic”) for a proposed underground natural gas … Continue Reading

Draft North Slope Area Plan Available for Public Review and Comment

Stoel Rives is actively monitoring developments in the North Slope Area Plan (NSAP).  This week, the Public Review Draft of the NSAP was issued for public review and comment. Comments must be received by mail, email, fax, or through the online public comment portal by not later than July 15, 2020. Comments may also be hand delivered to … Continue Reading

AOGCC Implements Electronic Permitting Procedures in Response to Office Shutdowns Caused by COVID-19

Last month, the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) announced that it would be implementing electronic permitting procedures in response to office shutdowns caused by COVID-19. The electronic process will also serve as the initial step in developing a fully electronic permitting and reporting system. The initial system will utilize “AOGCC-designed fillable PDF and … Continue Reading

EPA Proposes Changes to the Multisector General Permit That Will Affect Oil and Gas Extraction Permittees

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a draft Multisector General Permit (MSGP) under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program for stormwater discharges related to industrial activity. In Alaska, EPA has jurisdiction over NPDES permitting on federal property within Denali National Park, in federal waters (three miles or more offshore), and on certain … Continue Reading

Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Proposes Repeal of Certain Alaska Administrative Code Regulations

The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) has proposed a repeal of regulation changes in 20 AAC 25. of the Alaska Administrative Code. Specific regulations proposed for repeal are as follows: 20 AAC 25.037 well control requirements for other drilling and completion operations; 20 AAC 25.047 reserve pits and tankage; 20 AAC 25.225 potential … Continue Reading

The Battle Over the Alaska Oil and Gas Production Tax Credit

Alaska’s oil and gas production tax has been subject to continuing debate and change as lawmakers and policymakers struggle with balancing budgets in times of volatile oil prices while also encouraging the investment necessary to monetize the state’s resources to run its government, create jobs, build and maintain infrastructure, and promote economic activity. In my … Continue Reading

Trump’s BLM Cannot Delay Implementation of Oil and Gas Methane Rules after Effective Date

On October 4, 2017, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California held that the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) cannot postpone implementation of natural gas methane emission rules because such action would violate the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”).  Plaintiffs – the State of California, the State of New Mexico, and a … Continue Reading

Federal Bill Proposes Streamlined Pipeline Permitting, Vesting Authority in FERC

On July 19, 2017, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that grants the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) increased autonomy over pipeline approvals.  The bill, Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act (H.R. 2910), is aimed at streamlining the federal permitting process for pipeline approvals. H.R. 2901 would specify … Continue Reading

Reconsidering Helium Production on Federal Lands Amid Privatization of Federal Helium Reserve

On Wednesday the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will auction helium stored in its Cliffside Field underground storage facility in west Texas (aka the Federal Helium Reserve).  This annual auction under the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 is part of a privatization effort that began back in 1996 and will culminate with the BLM divesting itself … Continue Reading

Senate Proposes Legislation to Modernize Federal Energy Policies

On June 28, 2017, the Senate introduced a bill that aims to revitalize and overhaul various federal energy and natural resources policies.  Senate Bill 1460 (S.1460), sponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Arkansas) and Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), broadly proposes reform of United States policies on topics such as energy efficiency, supply and conservation.  A key highlight … Continue Reading

North Dakota’s UIC Class VI Primacy Wait is Almost Over

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is poised to approve North Dakota’s application for primary enforcement authority over the underground injection of CO2 for geologic sequestration in that state.  Nearly four years after North Dakota became the first state to seek primacy from EPA over carbon sequestration wells – known as Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class … Continue Reading

Some Not-So-Good News Out of Washington, D.C. for Pipeline Operators – Feds Increase Fines for Pipeline Safety Violations

President Trump’s recent executive orders have benefited the oil pipeline industry in a number of ways, including most notably, giving the final “okay” to the Dakota Access Pipeline.  But some legislative mandates have been out of the reach of the President’s pen.  On April 27, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”), within … Continue Reading

Idaho Modifies Oil and Gas Statutes (Again)

Both houses of the Idaho Legislature unanimously approved House Bill 301a last week following a seven-hour negotiation and two days of hearings earlier this month.  Supported by Governor Otter, this bill will (among other things) amend the forced pooling provisions enacted just 12 months ago.  In fact, House Bill 301a is the latest in a … Continue Reading

Oil Transportation and Suction Dredge Mining Legislative Topics in Washington Too

Following up on last week’s post about Oregon legislative proposals, here are some of the mineral-related bills currently pending in the Washington State Legislature: Oil and Gas SB 5462 and HB 1611 – These two almost identical bills are follow-ups to the Oil Transportation Safety Act that was enacted in Washington two years ago. Among other … Continue Reading

Mineral-Related Bills Pending Before Oregon Legislature

The Oregon Legislature’s 2017 session officially kicked off last week. A variety of mineral-related bills have been introduced.  Here are some of the ones to follow: Mining SB 3 – SB 3 is primarily focused on suction dredge mining.  It would build on the 2013 enactment of a moratorium, currently in effect until 2021, on … Continue Reading

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

In Effort to Increase Both Transparency and Safety, PHMSA Releases Civil Penalty Framework

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) issued a General Policy Statement for civil penalties (“Penalty Framework”) on October 17, 2016.  The Penalty Framework allows a respondent in a PHMSA enforcement case to request a proposed civil penalty calculation related to its case, and provides a penalty range with corresponding factors … Continue Reading

Pipeline Operators Take Note: PHMSA Issues Interim Emergency Pipeline Safety Rules – Should You Be Concerned?

On October 3, 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”), within the U.S. Department of Transportation, released a new rule on its authority to issue emergency orders for pipeline safety.  The Interim Final Rule, titled “Pipeline Safety: Enhanced Emergency Order Procedures,” comes as a result of the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and … 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

Wyoming Court Strikes Down BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule; Existing Appeal Remains Pending (For Now)

UPDATE: Quickly following on the heels of the Wyoming federal district court’s order striking down the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) hydraulic fracturing rules, the state governments of North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah have now moved to dismiss the pending Tenth Circuit appeal of the district court’s preliminary injunction order.  Those state government indicated in their … Continue Reading
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