Oil and Gas Regulations: Interior Department Grants $560 Million for Well Plugging
On August 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced it had issued an initial $560 million to 24 states to plug and remediate abandoned oil and gas wells. Funding will also allow for research, equipment, inspections, and data collection to better find and address these orphaned wells. Over 129,000 wells have been listed as abandoned and over 10,000 are marked as a priority for state efforts. This funding is part of the $1.15 billion “Phase One” funding announced in January for states to plug abandoned wells.
GHG Emissions: Court Affirms ExxonMobil Fine in Clean Air Act Case
On August 30, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in a 2-1 ruling, affirmed the lower court’s adjusted fine of ExxonMobil for $14.25 million, for violations of the Clean Air Act. Environmental Texas Citizen Lobby, Inc., et al. v. ExxonMobil Corp., et al., Case No. 17-20545. The circuit court rejected ExxonMobil’s challenges to the district court’s weighing of factors of standing, as well as economic cost, duration, and seriousness of the violations. ExxonMobil had originally been sued for emissions totaling “over 1.5 million pounds of pollutants” at its Baytown complex near Houston, Texas.
International Development: Canada Invokes 1977 Treaty in Enbridge Line 5 Dispute
On August 29, 2022, Canada announced it was invoking a 1977 agreement between the U.S. and Canada to prevent the shutdown of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, according to Global News. The Line 5 pipeline crosses southwestern Lake Superior and the states of Wisconsin and Michigan, before connecting to the Canadian border with Minnesota. The agreement ensures the “uninterrupted transmission…of hydrocarbons” and the invocation will force the U.S. to negotiate with Canada, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly.
Pipelines: Amplify Energy Reaches Plea Deal in Southern California Pipeline Incident Case
On August 26, 2022, Amplify Energy and the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California said in their respective statements that Amplify had agreed to plead guilty to one count of misdemeanor negligent discharge of oil, which would resolve all federal criminal charges resulting from the October 2021 Southern California Pipeline Incident. Amplify would pay a $7.1 million fine, compensate agencies $5.1 million, and serve four years of probation. The deal is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Oil and Gas Regulations: Texas RRC Announces Weatherization Rule for Natural Gas Facilities
On August 30, 2022, the Texas Railroad Commission announced its first weatherization rule, Statewide Rule 3.66, for natural gas facilities. The rule requires critical natural gas facilities to weatherize, to prepare for weather emergencies of extreme temperatures, under penalty of fines up to $1 million. “Critical” natural gas facilities include natural gas wells, gas processing plants, gas processing plants, and gas pipelines, as well as other types of facilities. [Ethan]
Oil & Gas Law & Policy Resources:
Markowitz, et al., High Court Judgment on U.K. Government Net-Zero Strategy (August 26, 2022)
Markowitz, et al., This Week’s Climate Policy Update (August 29, 2022)
Sartain, Texas Correction Deed Statute Revisited … Again (August 31, 2022)
McFarland, The Disconnect Part 2 (August 31, 2022)
Elkin & Bouhassira, CONGRESS HAS ACKNOWLEDGED CLIMATE CHANGE 87 TIMES FROM 1978 THROUGH 2022 (August 31, 2022)
Harrison, et al., EU’s Sustainable Investing Taxonomy to Include Gas and Nuclear Sector Products – EU Parliament Vote (September 2, 2022)
Bloomberg, G-7 Set to Back Plan to Introduce Cap on Russian Oil Price (September 2, 2022)
Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw—Top #ShaleLaw HotLinks August 26, 2022- September 2, 2022:
OPEC chatter, EU energy crisis to tug at oil prices (Houston Chronicle)
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 Awards $29 Million to Advance Clean Hydrogen Production (August 26, 2022)
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register August 26– September 2, 2022):
Environmental Protection Agency
87 FR 52692: Rule: “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants; Delegation of Authority to Arkansas” (August 29, 2022)
87 FR 53381: Rule: “Federal Implementation Plan Addressing Reasonably Available Control Technology Requirements for Certain Sources in Pennsylvania” (August 31, 2022)
87 FR 53556: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 10/31/22: “Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs Under the Clean Air Act; Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention” (August 31, 2022)
87 FR 54158: Rule: “Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program: Alternative RIN Retirement Schedule for Small Refineries” (September 2, 2022)
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
87 FR 52713: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 10/28/22: “Pipeline Safety: Periodic Standards Update II” (August 29, 2022)
Ocean Energy Management Bureau
87 FR 54250: Notice, Comments Period Ends 11/1/22: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Renewable Energy and Alternate Uses of Existing Facilities on the Outer Continental Shelf” (September 2, 2022)
87 FR 52911: Notice: “Welded Line Pipe From the Republic of Turkey: Preliminary Determination of No Shipments and Partial Rescission of the Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2020-2021″ (August 30, 2022)
87 FR 52854: Rule: “Special Conditions: The Boeing Company, Leonardo S.p.a. Model AW139 Helicopter; Use of New Hovering Out of Ground Effect Utility Power on the Model AW139 Helicopter” (August 30, 2022)
87 FR 53016: Notice, Comments Period Ends 9/29/22: “Petition for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory Safety Standards” (August 30, 2022)
87 FR 53020: Notice, Comments Period Ends 10/28/22: “Process Safety Management (PSM); Stakeholder Meeting” (August 30, 2022)
87 FR 53832: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 10/11/22: “Form PF; Reporting Requirements for All Filers and Large Hedge Fund Advisers” (September 1, 2022)
U.S. HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
H.Res.1326: “Of inquiry requesting the President, and directing the Secretary of Energy, to transmit to the House of Representatives certain information relating to plans to protect baseload bulk power system generation and transmission to maintain bulk power system reliability.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. (August 26, 2022)
PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 52, No. 36- August 27, 2022)
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
52 Pa.B. 5721: Notice: “Availability of Rebates through the Pennsylvania Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program”
Ethan Durand, Research Assistant
Kendal Ashman, Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler, Staff Attorney