Hydraulic Fracturing Bans: Fossil Fuel Companies Petition Supreme Court to Reverse Ban on All New Permits for Oil Production on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf
On January 25, 2023, the American Petroleum Institute, Exxon Mobile, and DCOR petitioned the Supreme Court to review the decision by the Ninth District Court of Appeals to uphold an injunction against all new well-stimulation treatment permits in the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf. In their petition, the three companies first argue that the Ninth Circuit erred in upholding the Department of the Interior’s finding that “hypothetical future approvals of permits to conduct well-stimulation treatments” in this region would not have a significant impact on the continental shelf, as this finding did not constitute a final agency action subject to judicial review. Second, they argue that the Ninth Circuit’s analysis applied the wrong provision of the Coastal Zone Management Act, leading the court to erroneously conclude that the Department failed to comply with its requirements.

Oil and Gas Leasing: Conservation Groups Sue Interior Department over Oil and Gas Leasing Approvals in New Mexico’s Permian Basin
On January 23, 2023, Citizens Caring for the Future, New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, Center for Biological Diversity, and Wildearth Guardians sued the Interior Department and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)for the 32 oil and gas leases issued across 5,942 acres in New Mexico. Citizens Caring for the Future et al. v. Deb Haaland et al., No. 2:23-cv-00060. The plaintiffs allege that these leases violate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. The Plaintiffs’ first claim for relief argues that BLM has violated NEPA by failing to sufficiently consider the impact on public health and the environment brought about by the leasing of public lands for oil and gas development. The second claim for relief asserts that BLM has also violated NEPA by failing to prepare an EIS before approving the 32 leases. In closing, the conservation groups request the court vacate BLM’s leasing authorization and enjoin the bureau from approving additional leases until it complies with NEPA regulations.  

Municipal Regulation: Los Angeles County Expands City-Wide Ban on Oil and Gas Drilling
On January 24, 2023, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the Oil Well Ordinance, which will prohibit the development of new oil wells, implement additional regulations for existing facilities, and classify existing wells as nonconforming uses in all unincorporated areas of the county. This county-wide ordinance mirrors the LA City Ordinance that went into effect on January 18, 2023. It will go into effect thirty days after adoption, which will be on February 23, 2023.

Pipelines: FERC’s Final EIS Concludes that the Ohio Valley Expansion Project by Equitrans Will Not Have Significant Adverse Impacts
On January 20, 2023, FERC staff released a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Equitrans’ Ohio Valley Connector Expansion Project, which will involve the acquisition and development of several compressor stations across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. The project also involves the construction of 5.5 miles of additional pipeline and permanent roads to allow access to the stations. According to the statement, the Project will provide an estimated 350,000 dekatherms of natural gas to markets in the mid-continent and the Gulf Coast every day. With respect to the environmental impact, the report concludes that the Project will not have significantly adverse effects on environmental resources. Additionally, the report emphasizes that climate change impact considerations are not included as part of FERC’s EIS analysis.


Oil & Gas Law & Policy Resources:


Energy Connects, Eni and Sonatrach sign strategic agreements to strengthen energy security (January 24, 2023)

Bibikos, At the Well Weekly (v.1.20.2023) (January 26, 2023)

Sartain, Who Bears the Burden of a Newly Discovered Non-Participating Royalty Interest? (January 26, 2023)

Hug, et al., FERC Directs NERC to Tighten Bulk Electric System Cybersecurity (January 26, 2023)

Bloomberg, Canadian Oil Flows to Asia Surge After US Refinery Disruptions (January 26, 2023)

Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw—Top #ShaleLaw HotLinks January 21– January 27, 2023:

Colorado oil and gas panel to study ‘cumulative impacts’ after environmentalist petition (Colorado Newsline)

FERC chair vows to continue clean energy ‘momentum’ (E&E News)

The Offshore Oil Business Is Gushing Again (Wall Street Journal)

D.C. Circuit grills refineries on EPA rule challenge (E&E News)

US Climate Bill To Boost Renewables Investment To $114B By 2031 (Rigzone)

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Penn State Farmland Energy Legal Podcast: Listen to the latest episode here.



DOE and FEMA Release One-Year Progress Report on Joint Effort to Modernize Puerto Rico’s Grid With 100% Clean Energy (January 23, 2023)

U.S. Department of Energy Awards $118 Million to Accelerate Domestic Biofuel Production (January 26, 2023)

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $47 Million to Develop Affordable Clean Hydrogen Technologies (January 27, 2023)


Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services Inc. to Address Clean Air Act Violations in Settlement with United States (January 24, 2023)

City of Westminster to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency for local businesses through HVAC system upgrades (January 26, 2023)

EPA Takes Key Step to Stop Unsafe PFAS from Reentering Commerce (January 27, 2023)

EPA Launches New Initiative to Accelerate Lead Pipe Replacement to Protect Underserved Communities (January 27, 2023)

FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register January 21–January 27, 2023):

Environmental Protection Agency

88 FR 5558: Proposed Rule, Comments Close 3/28/2023: “Reconsideration of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter” (January 27, 2023)

88 FR 4937: Proposed Rule, Comments Close 3/27/23: “Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Chemical Substances Designated as Inactive on the TSCA Inventory; Significant New Use Rule” (January 26, 2023)

88 FR 4178: Notice, Comments Close 2/23/23: “Proposed Consent Decree, Clean Air Act Citizen Suit” (January 24, 2023)

88 FR 4296: Rule: “Control of Air Pollution From New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards” (January 24, 2023)

Natural Resources Revenue Office

88 FR 5038: Notice, Comments Close 3/27/23: “Agency Information Collection Activities: OCS Net Profit Share Payment” (January 26, 2023)

Other Agencies

88 FR 4973: Notice: “Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys Related to Oil and Gas Activities in the Gulf of Mexico” (January 26, 2023)

88 FR 4216: Notice, Comments Close 2/23/23: “Monthly Notice; Applications and Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses Involving No Significant Hazards Considerations” (January 24, 2023)


H.R.484 “To repeal the natural gas tax.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. (January 24, 2023)


S.94 “A bill to require certain information and financial assistance under the State energy program and the Weatherization Assistance Program to be distributed without undue delay to support State and local high-impact energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (January 26, 2023)

S.49 “A bill to amend the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 to extend the moratorium on drilling off the coasts of the States of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (January 24, 2023)

S.44 “A bill to require the Secretary of Energy to establish a program to incentivize investment in facilities that carry out the metallurgy of rare earth elements and the production of finished rare earth products, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (January 24, 2023)

S.34 “A bill to require the Secretary of Energy to establish a program to provide loans to manufacturers of energy grid products and components.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (January 24, 2023)

S.31 “A bill to provide for the development and issuance of a plan to increase oil and gas production on Federal land in conjunction with a drawdown of petroleum reserves from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (Sponsor introductory remarks on measure: CR S75-76) (January 24, 2023)

S.23 “A bill to establish a more uniform, transparent, and modern process to authorize the construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of international border-crossing facilities for the import and export of oil and natural gas and the transmission of electricity.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (Sponsor introductory remarks on measure: CR S75-76) (January 23, 2023)

S.22 “A bill to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to permanently prohibit the conduct of offshore drilling on the outer Continental Shelf off the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (Sponsor introductory remarks on measure: CR S56) (January 23, 2023)

S.9 “Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (January 23, 2023)


DEP Releases Final 2022 Pennsylvania State Water Plan and Online Atlas of Water Resources and Use (January 27, 2023)

PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 53, No. 4 January 28, 2023)


53 Pa.B. 596: Executive Order No. 2023-01 “Pennsylvania Longitudinal Data System”


53 Pa.B. 674: Notice “2023 Mine Map Grant Program”

53 Pa.B. 676: Notice “Issuance of General Plan Approval and/or General Operating Permit No. 1 for Gas and No. 2 Oil Fired Small Combustion Units (BAQ-GPA/GP-1)”

Written by:
Kole Zellers, Research Assistant
Kendal Ashman, Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler, Staff Attorney