Methane Emissions: DCP and EPA Resolve Clean Air Act Lawsuit with Consent Decree
On July 27, 2022, DCP Operating Company, along with its affiliates, filed notice of a proposed consent decree with the federal government (on behalf of the EPA) and Colorado in a lawsuit alleging DCP violated the Clean Air Act and Colorado air pollution laws. U.S. v. DCP Operating Co., et al., Civil Action No. 1:22-cv-01829-NRN. The initial suit alleged “violations of leak detection and repair requirements” from DCP’s eight natural gas plants in the Denver area. The consent decree would resolve all claims and DCP would agree to implement “significant measures” of oversight for its equipment leaking emissions and to pay $3.25 million to the federal government and Colorado.
Oil and Gas Leasing: Western Watersheds Project Files Lawsuit Challenging BLM Drilling Regulation
On July 22, 2022, conservation organization Western Watersheds Project (WWP) filed a petition in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asking the court to declare unlawful the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Permanent Instruction Memorandum (PIM) regarding “Fee/Fee/Fed” wells. W. Watersheds Project v. Bureau of Land Mgmt., Case No. 22-cv-2168. The PIM, originally issued June 12, 2018, established policies “for processing Federal Applications for Permit to Drill (APD) proposing to drill into and produce leased Federal minerals from well pads on entirely non-Federal locations.” WWP claims the PIM violates federal laws and contains a “loophole” allowing BLM to approve well drilling without restrictions on environmental impacts.
Pipelines: Environmental Groups File Petition for Rulemaking on Alleged FERC Oversight
On July 22, 2022, multiple environmental groups led by the WWALS Watershed Coalition filed a petition for rulemaking, requesting that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reconsider several past decisions relating to governmental oversight of LNG export facilities. Specifically, the environmental groups argue against FERC’s determination that an LNG facility must be connected to a pipeline to be considered an LNG terminal. Those past decisions resulted in FERC disclaiming oversight of inland LNG facilities, and the petitioners claimed this failed to follow legislative intent and caused “economic, environmental, and safety problems.”
Pipelines: TSA Issues Revised Cybersecurity Requirements for Pipelines
On July 21, 2022, the Transportation Security Administration issued an announcement revising and reissuing a 2021 Security Directive (“directive”) for oil and natural gas pipeline cybersecurity. The 2021 directive, part of a series, was a result of a May 2021 ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline. The reissued directive requires pipeline operators to create and maintain plans for upkeep, incident response, and continued assessment of pipeline security. According to TSA’s press release, the reissued directive allows the industry to “leverage new technologies and be more adaptive to changing environments.”
National Energy Policy: DOE Issues Funding Notice for Geothermal Energy Development
On July 28, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy issued its Geothermal Energy from Oil and Gas Demonstrated Engineering Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), providing a $10 million award to “form a consortium that will develop a roadmap” to address geothermal energy issues using technology from the oil and gas industry. The DOE also anticipates awarding up to an additional $155 million over the next four years, pending congressional approval, for the research on expanding geothermal energy.
Oil & Gas Law & Policy Resources:
Sartain, Texas Correction Deed Statute Revisited (July 25, 2022)
Bloomberg, Oil Rises as US Crude Stockpiles Shrink Ahead of Fed Decision (July 27, 2022)
Energy Connects, Shell posts record quarterly earnings of $11.5 billion amid higher refining margins (July 28, 2022)
Bloomberg, Oil Set for Weekly Gain as Tight Markets Offset Slowdown Fears (July 29, 2022)
Energy Connects, ADNOC announces second gas discovery from offshore concession in Abu Dhabi (July 29, 2022)
Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw—Top #ShaleLaw HotLinks July 22, 2022-July 29, 2022:
EU countries rewrite plan to cut gas demand, seek carve-outs (Reuters)
U.S. Becomes Top LNG Exporter In First Half Of 2022 (Rigzone)
Lawsuit alleges Diversified and EQT played hot potato with abandoned oil and gas well responsibility (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
FERC must regulate small-scale LNG export projects to ensure safety, methane oversight, green groups say (Utility Drive)
Record US Oil Exports Set to Grow as WTI Discount Deepens (Bloomberg)
Connect with us on Facebook. Every week we post the CASL Ledger detailing our publications and activities from the week.
Penn State Shale Law Podcast: Listen to the latest episode here.
FEDERAL ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
DOE Issues Fifth Emergency Notice of Sale of Crude Oil From the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (July 26, 2022)
Biden-Harris Administration Launches New Solar Initiatives to Lower Electricity Bills and Create Clean Energy Jobs (July 27, 2022)
DOE to Invest Up to $165 Million to Advance Domestic Geothermal Energy Deployment (July 28, 2022)
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
EPA, Justice Department, and State of Colorado settlement with DCP Operating Company LP Resolves Clean Air Act Violations at natural gas plants in Colorado (July 25, 2022)
EPA Seeks Input on Latest Pollution Prevention Grant Opportunity Funded by $100 Million Investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (July 28, 2022)
FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register July 22 – July 29, 2022):
87 FR 44194: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 9/23/22: “Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Fans and Blowers” (July 25, 2022).
87 FR 45164: Rule: “Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Direct Expansion-Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems” (July 27, 2022).
Environmental Protection Agency
87 FR 45251: Rule: “State of Michigan Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II Program; Primacy Approval” (July 28, 2022).
87 FR 45508: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 9/12/22: “Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Listing of Substitutes Under the Significant New Alternatives Policy Program in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, and Fire Suppression” (July 28, 2022).
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
87 FR 44944: Rule: “Hazardous Materials: Harmonization With International Standards” (July 26, 2022).
87 FR 45564: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 9/26/22: “Train Crew Size Safety Requirements” (July 28, 2022).
U.S. HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
H.Res.1260 “Of inquiry requesting the President, and directing the Secretary of Energy, to transmit to the House of Representatives certain information relating to plans to draw down and sell petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and plans to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. (July 26, 2022).
H.Res.1265 “Of inquiry requesting the President to provide certain documents to the House of Representatives relating to plans to exploit the energy crisis to pursue a radical climate agenda.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. (July 26, 2022).
H.R.8488 “To prohibit the Secretary of Energy from sending petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. (July 26, 2022).
H.R.8499 “To prohibit the Secretary of Energy, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Transportation, the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from considering, in taking any action, the social cost of carbon, the social cost of methane, the social cost of nitrous oxide, or the social cost of any other greenhouse gas, unless compliant with Office of Management and Budget guidance, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Natural Resources, and Transportation and Infrastructure, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned. (July 26, 2022).
H.R.8519 “To promote competition in the area of digital energy management tools, enhance consumer access to electric energy and natural gas information, allow for the adoption of innovative products and services to help consumers manage their energy usage, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. (July 26, 2022).
H.R.8547 “To direct the Secretary of Energy to require as a condition of any sale of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that the crude oil not be exported to certain countries, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. (July 27, 2022).
H.R.8578 “To amend the Federal Power Act and the Natural Gas Act with respect to the enforcement of certain provisions, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. (July 28, 2022).
H.R.8554 “To prohibit the 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 28, 2022).
U.S. SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
S.4626 “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. (July 27, 2022).
S.4634 “A bill to require the Secretary of Energy to administer polygraph examinations to certain foreign nationals with access to nonpublic areas or information of the National Laboratories.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (July 27, 2022).
S.4640 “A bill to promote a 21st century energy workforce, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (July 27, 2022).
S.3145 “Small Scale LNG Access Act of 2021” Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearings held. (July 28, 2022).
S.4061 “A bill to amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to modify the definition of water heater under energy conservation standards, and for other purposes.” Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearings held. (July 28, 2022).
S.4679 “A bill to amend the Federal Power Act and the Natural Gas Act with respect to the enforcement of certain provisions, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (July 28, 2022).
S.4651 “A bill to amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to require the Secretary of Energy to stipulate, as a condition on the sale at auction of any petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, that the petroleum products not be exported to certain countries, to prohibit such sales to certain state-owned entities, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (July 28, 2022).
STATE ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
PENNSYLVANIA DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION PRESS RELEASES
Wolf Administration Highlights Commitment to Clean Transportation (July 28, 2022).
PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 52, No. 31- July 30, 2022)
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
52 Pa.B. 4316 Notice of Availability “2023 Environmental Education Grants.”
52 Pa.B. 4317 Notice “Pennsylvania’s 2022 Annual Ambient Air Monitoring Network Plan.”
Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BASIN COMMISSION
Environmental Quality Board
25 Pa.B. 4235 Proposed Rulemaking “Administration of the Land Recycling Program Vanadium MSC Rule.”
Ethan Durand, Research Assistant
Kendal Ashman, Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler, Staff Attorney