Oil and Gas Regulations: PA Governor Requests DEP Review of Well Plugging Law
On July 30, 2022, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued a Notice of Bill Enacted without Signature in regard to the recently passed well plugging law, HB 2644. Gov. Wolf directed the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to evaluate the oil and gas industry’s record of compliance, to evaluate Pennsylvania’s current use of existing authority regarding oil and gas well bonds and abandoned wells, and to make recommendations for regulatory reform. Gov. Wolf in the notice cited the DEP’s past identification of “more than 17,000 violations at conventional oil and gas wells” and issuance of “over 3,300 Notices of Violations to the conventional industry specifically due to attempts to abandon wells since July 1, 2017” as causes for concern over the program the law establishes. [Ethan]
Pipelines: Court Rejects Challenge to FERC Review of Adelphia Gateway Expansion
On August 2, 2022, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an opinion finding that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s review of the Adelphia Gateway pipeline expansion was not arbitrary, capricious, or unconstitutional. Del. Riverkeeper Network and van Rossum v. FERC, Case No. 20-1206. Originally, FERC found the project would have “no significant impact” on the environment and that there was market need demonstrated. This case was brought by the nonprofit Delaware Riverkeeper Network who challenged this review under the National Environmental Policy Act and the constitutionality of FERC’s decision.
Municipal Regulation: DC Passes Acts Banning Fossil Fuels in Buildings and Requiring Carbon Neutrality
On July 29, 2022, the Mayor of Washington, D.C. signed the “Climate Commitment Amendment Act of 2022,” the second of two acts pushing for sustainability in D.C. The Climate Commitment Amendment Act would require the Mayor to adopt policies reducing greenhouse gas emissions to eventually reach net zero emissions by 2040. The Act would ban the government purchase or installation of appliances and vehicles using fossil fuels beginning in 2025 and 2026, respectively. Its sister act, the “Clean Energy DC Building Code Amendment Act of 2022,” was signed by the Mayor on July 27, 2022, and would require the Mayor ban the use of fossil fuels in all government buildings and new commercial buildings beginning December 31, 2026. Both acts now proceed to congressional review before officially becoming law.
Oil & Gas Law & Policy Resources:
Sartain, Climate Change Lawsuits Plague Oil and Gas Producers (July 31, 2022)
Bloomberg, Shale Profits Finally Blossoming After Decade of Steep Losses (July 31, 2022)
Markowitz, et al., This Week’s Climate Policy Update (August 1, 2022)
Bloomberg, US Equity Futures Fall With Oil as Rally Wobbles: Markets Wrap (August 1, 2022)
Markowitz, et al., CFTC Turns Spotlight on the Voluntary Carbon Markets (August 2, 2022)
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FEDERAL ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
DOE Launches New Research Group to Grow America’s Solar Industry (August 1, 2022)
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
EPA Highlights $19.7 Million Brownfields Investment in Maine (August 2, 2022)
FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register July 27 – August 3, 2022):
Environmental Protection Agency
87 FR 47354: Rule: “Air Plan Approval; California; Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District; Reasonably Available Control Technology” (August 3, 2022).
Ocean Energy Management Bureau
87 FR 46992: Notice, Comments Period Ends 9/30/22: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Oil and Gas Production Requirements in the Outer Continental Shelf” (August 1, 2022).
87 FR 47424: Notice, Comments Period Ends 10/3/22: “Proposed Data Collection Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations” (August 3, 2022).
87 FR 47437: Notice, Comments Period Ends 11/1/22: “Use of Wing-in-Ground Craft in Logistical Support of Offshore Platform Operations” (August 3, 2022)
U.S. HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
H.R.8614 “To amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to prohibit the export or sale of petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to certain entities, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. (July 29, 2022).
U.S. SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
S.4733 “A bill to amend the Mineral Leasing Act to provide for certain reforms to the process relating to applications for permits to drill and the eligibility requirements for prospective bidders in lease sales, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (August 2, 2022).
STATE ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
PENNSYLVANIA DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION PRESS RELEASES
PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 52, No. 31- July 30, 2022)
Ethan Durand, Research Assistant
Kendal Ashman, Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler, Staff Attorney