Oil and Gas Leasing: Ohio Federal Court Denies Summary Judgment in Overriding Royalty Interests Dispute
On September 22, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, denied cross-motions for summary judgment filed by both parties in an overriding royalty interests (ORRI) dispute. Sabre Energy Corp. V. Gulfport Energy Corp., et al., No. 2:19-cv-05559. The court found that questions of fact remained regarding production capabilities on the disputed drilling units. Sabre Energy Corporation initially brought suit claiming it was owed royalty payments by Gulfport Energy Corporation on “horizontal deep wells” in the Utica Shale/Point Pleasant formation in Ohio.
Methane Emissions: PA Environmental Quality Board Approves Regulation of Emissions from Oil and Gas Facilities
On October 12, 2022, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board voted 15–3 to approve a rule which would adopt limitations on methane emissions from oil and gas wells consistent with EPA guidelines, according to PA Environment Digest. The board found good cause to forego a public comment period, as the combined rules from which the final rule was comprised already contained relevant comments.
Oil and Gas Leasing: DOI Announces Actions to Comply with Leasing Provisions in Inflation Reduction Act
On October 6, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced it would take steps to comply with new oil and leasing terms in the Inflation Reduction Act. Among these steps are a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for New Mexico lease sales and reviews of parcels for public leasing in New Mexico and Wyoming, with both reviews now open for public comment.
Regulation: EPA Proposes Endangerment Finding for Aircraft Lead Emissions
On October 7, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its proposed finding for certain aircrafts that operate on lead fuel and produce lead emissions. The finding, supported by EPA research, would declare that the aircrafts can be “reasonably anticipated to endanger public health and welfare” with lead emissions. According to the EPA’s press release, the finding is not a proposal of engine lead emissions standards; however, the EPA would “subsequently” propose regulatory standards if the finding is finalized.
Oil and Gas Regulation: DOI Announces Plan for Decommissioning Offshore Oil and Gas Platforms
On October 11, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the evaluation and decommissioning of offshore oil and gas platforms, associated pipelines, and “other facilities” off the California coast. The plan includes criteria for evaluation of the environmental impacts of not only the oil and gas facilities, but the processes of decommissioning them in the context of other proposed actions in the coastal region.
Oil and Gas Regulation: Texas and New Mexico Sign Agreement to Collaborate on Cross-Border Wells
On September 2, 2022, oil and gas regulatory agencies from Texas and New Mexico signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to collaborate on regulation of oil and gas wells that cross the border between the two states; for example, wells in the Permian Basin. The agencies agreed they each had necessary authority to enforce guidelines on operators and impose “other reasonable requirements” the other state agency may request.
Oil & Gas Law & Policy Resources:
Bloomberg, Stocks Slump on Rates Outlook, US-China Friction: Markets Wrap (October 10, 2022)
Markowitz, et al., This Week’s Climate Policy Update (October 10, 2022)
Bloomberg, France Faces More Fuel Shortages as Unions Plan to Prolong Strikes (October 11, 2022)
Bibikos, At the Well Weekly (v.10.7.2022) (October 12, 2022)
Bloomberg, Biden Team Grows Concerned Russia Oil Price Cap May Backfire After OPEC+ Cut (October 13, 2022)
Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw—Top #ShaleLaw HotLinks October 8–13, 2022:
EU Leaders Fail to Reach Deal to Cut Energy Prices (Wall Street Journal)
Iran oil workers go on strike (The Hill)
Iowa pipeline regulators reject tribe’s request for environmental impact study (Des Moines Register)
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Penn State Farmland Energy Legal 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 October 8–13, 2022):
Environmental Protection Agency
87 FR 61548: Proposed Rule, Comments Close 11/14/22: “Air Plan Approval; NC; Miscellaneous NSR Revisions and Updates; Updates to References to Appendix W Modeling Guideline” (October 12, 2022)
87 FR 61870: Proposed Rule, Comments Close 1/10/23: “Federal Implementation Plans Under the Clean Air Act for Indian Reservations in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington” (October 12, 2022)
87 FR 61249: Rule: “Air Plan Approval; Colorado; Addressing Remanded Portions of the Previously Approved Infrastructure Requirements for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards” (October 11, 2022)
Susquehanna River Basin Commission
87 FR 62173: Notice: “Projects Approved for Consumptive Uses of Water” (October 13, 2022)
87 FR 62174: Notice, Comments Close 11/14/22: “Public Hearing” (October 13, 2022)
Safety and Environmental Enforcement Bureau
87 FR 61628: Notice, Comments Close 11/28/22: “Oil and Gas Decommissioning Activities on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf” (October 12, 2022)
87 FR 61465: Rule: “Energy Labeling Rule” (October 12, 2022)
87 FR 61660: Rule: “Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Nonimmigrants in the United States” (October 12, 2022)
U.S. HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
U.S. SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
S.5071 “A bill to amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to require that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve only includes petroleum products produced in the United States, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (October 11, 2022)
S.5068 “A bill to amend the Northwestern New Mexico Rural Water Projects Act to make improvements to that Act, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (October 11, 2022)
STATE ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
PENNSYLVANIA DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION PRESS RELEASES
DEP Reaches Settlement with Shell Pipeline Company and Minnesota Limited for Falcon Pipeline Construction Violations (October 13, 2022)
PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 52, No. 41- October 8, 2022)
Ethan Durand, Research Assistant
Kendal Ashman, Research Assistant