Oil and Gas Regulations: Act Establishing Oil and Gas Well Plugging Grant Program Passes PA House
On June 20, 2022, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed HB 2644, which would amend Title 58 (Oil and Gas). The bill would establish and allocate funds to the Orphan Well Plugging Grant Program, a program receiving applications, approving applications, and issuing grants to plug oil and gas wells.
Oil and Gas Regulations: PA House Introduces Bill to Research Impact of Hydraulic Fracturing
On June 14, 2022, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives introduced HB 1467, which would amend Title 58 (Oil and Gas). The bill would require the Pennsylvania Department of Health to collect and analyze data regarding hydraulic fracturing’s impacts on public health and safety, including investigating complaints and collecting health data of individuals. The bill would also establish an Interdepartmental Coordinating Task Force between the Dept. Of Health, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and other local health officials to carry out the mandated duties and submit quarterly reports. According to the Representatives who introduced the bill, the purpose is to create a “full public health response” to harms caused by the hydraulic fracturing industry.
Climate Change: Conservation Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Federal Drilling Approvals
On June 15, 2022, the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians (“Conservation Groups”) filed a lawsuit challenging “at least 3,535 permits to drill (“APDs”) for oil and gas in New Mexico’s Permian Basin and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin” as violating multiple federal environmental and endangered species laws. Center for Biological Diversity, et al., v. U. S. Dept of the Interior, et al., Case No. 1:22-cv-1716. The Conservation Groups alleged drilling these wells could potentially release emissions to the equivalent of 131 to 161 coal power plants and asked the court to vacate or set aside all permits.
Pipelines: D.C. Circuit Court Rules In Favor of FERC in Mountain Valley Case
On June 21, 2022, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling that a federal district court did not have jurisdiction to hear a lawsuit challenging FERC’s authority to grant pipeline certificates. The D.C. Circuit found that “the National Gas Act’s review scheme precluded district-court jurisdiction” over the lawsuit. The lawsuit was originally filed by Cletus and Beverly Boton to “preempt” Mountain Valley’s intended use of eminent domain to claim the Boton’s land for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
Pipelines: FERC Issues Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Spire STL Pipeline
On June 17, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Spire STL Pipeline Project in Missouri and Illinois. In the draft EIS, FERC found that any potential impact from the pipeline was “less than significant, with the exception of climate change impacts resulting from GHG emissions.” The draft EIS comment period closes August 8, 2022.
Methane Emissions: DOE Announces Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute
On June 23, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the “Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CEMII) for Industrial Decarbonization through Electrification of Process Heating Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).” This provides up to $70 million for the institute to research and develop processes related to reducing admissions and improving efficiency in industrial process heating.
Community Impacts: PA Public Utilities Commission Distributes $234 Million in Drilling Impact Fees
On June 17, 2022, the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission announced information on the distribution of approximately $234 million in natural gas drilling impact fees to county and municipal governments affected by said drilling. It also transferred approximately $86 million collected in impact fees to the Marcellus Legacy Fund. The fund supports numerous projects, including “environmental, highway, water and sewer projects.”
Oil & Gas Law & Policy Resources:
Markowitz & Fleming, This Week’s Climate Policy Update, (June 21, 2022).
Bloomberg, Energy Is Now Viewed as the Next Fault Line for Global Markets, (June 23, 2022).
Bloomberg, Crude Oil Hit Again as Recession Angst Rips Through Commodities, (June 23, 2022).
Sartain & Wood, Pipeline Prevails Over Governmental Entity in Condemnation Dispute, (June 24, 2022).
Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw—Top #ShaleLaw HotLinks June 18, 2022-June 24, 2022:
Oil & Natural Gas Facility Health Impacts Assessment Bill Introduced In The House, PA Environmental Digest
Connect with us on Facebook. Every week we post the CASL Ledger detailing our publications and activities from the week.
Penn State Shale Law Podcast: Listen to the latest episode here.
FEDERAL ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register June 18 – June 24, 2022):
Environmental Protection Agency
87 FR 36920: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 8/22/2022: “Revisions and Confidentiality Determinations for Data Elements Under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule” (June 21, 2022).
87 FR 37783: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 7/25/2022: “Significant New Use Rules on Certain Chemical Substances (21-3.5e)” (June 24, 2022).
Bureau of Land Management
87 FR 37524: Notice: “Notice of Intent To Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Colorado River Valley Field Office and Grand Junction Field Office Resource Management Plans, Colorado” (June 23, 2022).
87 FR 37836: Notice: “Urea Ammonium Nitrate Solutions From the Russian Federation: Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination” (June 24, 2022).
87 FR 37498: Notice: “Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys Related to Oil and Gas Activities in the Gulf of Mexico” (June 23, 2022).
STATE ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
PENNSYLVANIA DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION PRESS RELEASES
PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 52, No. 26- June 25, 2022)
Kendal Ashman, Research Assistant
Ethan Durand, Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler, Staff Attorney