Oil and Gas Leasing: Judge Orders Reinstatement of Drilling Permit for Solenex on Blackfeet Nation Lands
On September 9, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a memorandum opinion, finding that the Secretary of the Interior did not have authority to rescind an oil and gas lease which the Interior Department had previously granted to Solenex for leasing and drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine area in Montana (land sacred to the Blackfeet Nation). Solenex v. Haaland, et al., Civil Case No. 13-993 (RJL). The court also found that the Secretary acted arbitrarily and capriciously in disapproving Solenex’s Application for Permit to Drill and remanded the case to the Secretary with orders to reinstate both the lease and the permit.
Oil and Gas Leasing: U.S. Department of the Interior Reinstates 307 Gulf of Mexico Bids from November 2021 Lease Sales
On September 14, 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), under the U.S. Department of the Interior, announced it reinstated 307 bids totaling over $189 million in compliance with the Inflation Reduction Act. BOEM noted that the leases from Lease Sale 257 included stipulations to protect sensitive resources and “mitigate adverse effects on protected species.” These bids had previously been vacated by a federal judge in February 2022.
Public Lands: Natural Resources Committee Introduces Bill to Manage Lands in Alignment with Climate Goals
On September 13, 2022, the Natural Resources Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives announced that it had introduced the Public Lands and Waters Climate Leadership Act. The Act would prohibit the Department of the Interior from granting new oil and gas leases and permits on public lands unless the Department can demonstrate that emissions from any such new projects would be consistent with the goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and other climate goals.
Pipelines: October Hearing Set for Proposed Pipeline from Marcellus Shale Region to New Jersey
On September 12, 2022, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection set an October 5th virtual public hearing to review permit applications by Williams Co. for its Regional Energy Expansion Project, which would connect Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale to stations in New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The expansion is proposed to begin service in 2024 and would still require approvals from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and FERC.
Oil and Gas Regulations: Interior Department Announces Proposed Rule for Offshore Drilling
On September 12, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced a new proposed rule to modify existing safety regulations for offshore oil and gas drilling. The rule would revise certain items which were amended or rescinded in 2019 under the previous administration. Proposed revisions include clarifying blowout preventer systems and requiring failure investigations to start within 90 days instead of 120 days. The public may submit comments on the rule until November 14, 2022.
LNG Exports: FERC Finds Potential Adverse Environmental Impact if Commonwealth LNG Project Approved
On September 9, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced it had completed its Final Environmental Impact Analysis for the Commonwealth LNG Project, proposed by Commonwealth LNG, LLC, to be built in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. The Commission determined that “some adverse environmental impacts” would result if the LNG export facility and connection pipelines were approved. Specifically, those impacts would include, “significant impacts on visual resources and impacts on environmental justice communities.” Moving forward, the Commission will administer an additional proceeding to further evaluate the project’s potential greenhouse gas emissions.
Oil & Gas Law & Policy Resources:
Bloomberg, US Treasury Releases Guidance on Russian Oil-Price Cap Plan (September 9, 2022)
Bloomberg, Ukraine Latest: Russia Cedes Ground; Putin, Macron Nuclear Talk (September 11, 2022)
Markowitz, et al., This Week’s Climate Policy Update (September 12, 2022)
Sartain & Cowan, Arbitration Over Offshore Leases Does Not Warrant Lawsuit Dismissal (September 13, 2022)
Bloomberg, Oil Extends Advance as Dollar Drops, Iran Talks Suffer Setback (September 13, 2022)
Bloomberg, Oil Set for Third Weekly Drop as Global Demand Concerns Escalate (September 16, 2022)
Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw—Top #ShaleLaw HotLinks September 9, 2022- September 16, 2022:
Proposed expansion of Pa.-N.J. natural gas pipeline is focus of October hearing (Lehigh Valley Live)
Connect with us on Facebook. Every week we post the CASL Ledger detailing our publications and activities from the week.
Penn State Farmland Energy Legal Podcast: Listen to the latest episode here.
FEDERAL ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
DOE Announces $178 Million to Advance Bioenergy Technology (September 13, 2022)
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
EPA Secures Settlement with General Electric Company to Study the Lower Hudson River (September 13, 2022)
FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register September 10 – September 16, 2022):
Environmental Protection Agency
87 FR 55697: Rule: “Air Plan Approval; Virginia; Negative Declaration Certification for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard for the 2016 Oil and Natural Gas Control Techniques Guidelines” (September 12, 2022)
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
87 FR 56639: Notice: “Commonwealth LNG, LLC; Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Commonwealth LNG Project” (September 15, 2022)
87 FR 56354: Proposed Rule, Comments Period 11/14/22: “Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf-Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Revisions” (September 14, 2022)
87 FR 55415: Notice: “Rio Grande LNG, LLC; Notice of Scoping Period Requesting Comments on Environmental Issues for the Proposed Carbon Capture and Sequestration System Amendment, and Notice of Public Scoping Sessions” (September 9, 2022)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
87 FR 56156: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 11/14/22: “Improvements for Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Test Procedures, and Other Technical Amendments” (September 13, 2022)
Susquehanna River Basin Commission
87 FR 56482: Notice: “Projects Approved for Consumptive Uses of Water” (September 14, 2022)
Safety and Environmental Enforcement Bureau
87 FR 56980: Notice, Comments Period Ends 10/17/22: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Oil and Gas Production Requirements” (September 16, 2022)
87 FR 56979: Notice, Comments Period Ends 10/17/22: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Oil and Gas Well-Workover Operations” (September 16, 2022)
87 FR 56978: Notice, Comments Period Ends 10/17/22: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Oil and Gas Production Measurement Surface Commingling, and Security” (September 16, 2022)
87 FR 56977: Notice, Comments Period Ends 10/17/22: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Sulfur Operations” (September 16, 2022)
87 FR 56975: Notice, Comments Period Ends 10/17/22: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Well Operations and Equipment” (September 16, 2022)
87 FR 56354: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 11/14/22: “Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf-Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Revisions” (September 14, 2022)
87 FR 57068: Rule: “Implementation of Additional Sanctions Against Russia and Belarus Under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and Refinements to Existing Controls” (September 16, 2022)
87 FR 55787: Notice: “Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys Related to Oil and Gas Activities in the Gulf of Mexico” (September 12, 2022)
87 FR 55844: Notice, Comments Close 10/12/22: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Mining and Mining Claims and Non-Federal Oil and Gas Rights” (September 12, 2022)
U.S. HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
H.R.8847 “To amend the Natural Gas Act to bolster fairness and transparency in consideration of interstate natural gas pipelines, to provide for greater public input opportunities, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. (September 15, 2022)
STATE ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 52, No. 38- September 17, 2022)
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
52 Pa.B. 6009 Notice: “Agriculture Energy Efficiency Rebate Program; Notice of Availability”
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BASIN COMMISSION
87 FR 56482: Notice: “Projects Approved for Consumptive Uses of Water” (September 14, 2022)
Ethan Durand, Research Assistant
Kendal Ashman, Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler, Staff Attorney