National Energy Policy: EPA Establishes New Environmental Justice Office
On September 24, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the creation of the new Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights. The Office will manage the $3 billion climate and environmental justice program created by the Inflation Reduction Act. The EPA created the Office by merging its Office of Environmental Justice, External Civil Rights Compliance Office, and Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center.
Oil and Gas Regulation: Lawsuit Challenges BOEM Approvals of California Oil Rigs
On September 29, 2022, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Central District of California, claiming that the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) committed violations in authorizing offshore oil and gas drilling at the Beta Unit off Huntingdon Beach. Ctr. For Biological Diversity v. Haaland, et al. The lawsuit claims that BOEM failed in its obligations under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to periodically review plans, as the Beta Unit has allegedly been operating on plans over forty years old which have not been reviewed.
Pipelines: Virginia Landowners Appeal Mountain Valley Pipeline Eminent Domain Ruling
On September 15, 2022, a group of Virginia landowners filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging a D.C. Circuit ruling dismissing their suit against the Mountain Valley Pipeline for lack of jurisdiction. Bohon, et al., v. FERC and Mountain Valley Pipeline. The landowners had originally challenged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s constitutional authority under the Natural Gas Act to delegate eminent domain power to Mountain Valley Pipeline.
Infrastructure: DOE Announces Nearly $4.9 Billion Toward Carbon Management
On September 23, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy announced almost $4.9 billion available across three funding opportunities for carbon capture, storage, and transport projects. The purpose of the investment, according to the announcement, is to reduce carbon emissions produced by power generation and industrial operations to meet the Biden Administration’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Methane Emissions: House Committee Introduces Methane Emissions Monitoring Bills
On September 28, 2022, three bills were introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by members of the Science Committee. The Methane Emissions Research Act would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a national research study of methane emissions from oil and gas infrastructure. The Methane Super-Emitter Strategy Act would direct NASA and other federal agencies to develop a plan for addressing methane super-emitters. Finally, the Methane Emissions Research and Development Act would direct the EPA to lead a group of agencies to focus on detection, quantification, and mitigation of methane emissions.
GHG Emissions: California Board Approves Ozone Plan Including Shift to Zero-Emissions Trucks and Heaters
On September 22, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced it had approved the 2022 State Implementation Strategy (SIP) with the goal of meeting the federal ozone standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2015. The SIP includes proposed measures such as zero-emission requirements for fleets of heavy-duty vehicles by 2030 and zero-emissions requirements for space and water heaters by 2030. The SIP’s approval will soon be followed by presentation of specific regulations from the California Environmental Protection Agency for approval.
GHG Emissions: New York Announces 2035 Zero-Emissions Goal for All New Vehicles
On September 29, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced she would direct the State Department of Environmental Conservation to craft regulation requiring all new vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emissions by 2035. According to the press release by the Governor’s office, the regulation would accomplish this by requiring progressively higher percentages of vehicles sold to be zero-emissions, beginning with 35 percent in 2026.
Oil & Gas Law & Policy Resources:
Energy Connects, QatarEnergy partners with TotalEnergies in the North Field South expansion project (September 26, 2022)
Johnson & Hug, FERC Again Proposes Incentives for Voluntary Cybersecurity Investments (September 26, 2022)
Markowitz, et al., Landmark $7 Billion Clean Hydrogen Funding Opportunity Announced (September 28, 2022)
Sartain, North Dakota Supreme Court Invalidates Pore-Space Statute (September 28, 2022)
Bloomberg, Oil Falls Under Wall Street’s Weight as Growth Concerns Mount (September 29, 2022)
Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw—Top #ShaleLaw HotLinks September 23, 2022- September 30, 2022:
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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
DOE Releases Roadmap to Achieve Carbon Neutral Aviation Emissions (September 23, 2022)
Chair’s Summary: Global Clean Energy Action Forum 2022 (September 24, 2022)
Secretary Granholm Announces 7th Tribal Energy Summit (September 29, 2022)
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register September 24 – September 30, 2022):
Environmental Protection Agency
87 FR 59370: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 10/31/22: “Air Plan Approval; Indiana; Revisions to Particulate Matter Rules; Vertellus” (September 30, 2022)
87 FR 59314: Rule: “Limited Approval, Limited Disapproval of California Air Plan Revisions; California Air Resources Board” (September 30, 2022)
Natural Resources Revenue Office
87 FR 59350: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 11/29/22: “Electronic Provision of Records During an Audit” (September 30, 2022)
87 FR 58648: Proposed Rule, Comments Close 11/28/22: “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Threatened Species Status with Section 4(d) Rule for Florida Keys Mole Skink and Designation of Critical Habitat” (September 27, 2022)
87 FR 58933: Notice, Comments Period Ends 11/28/22: “Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Forms 1065, 1066, 1120, 1120-C, 1120-F, 1120-H, 1120-ND, 1120-S,1120-SF,1120-FSC,1120-L,1120-PC,1120-REIT,1120-RIC,1120-POL, and Related Attachments” (September 28, 2022)
87 FR 59204: Notice, Comments Period Ends 10/31/22: “Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to a Geophysical Survey in the Ross Sea, Antarctica” (September 29, 2022)
87 FR 59047: Notice: “Oil Country Tubular Goods From the Russian Federation: Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination and Final Negative Critical Circumstances Determination” (September 29, 2022)
87 FR 59598: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 11/29/22: “Permits for Incidental Take of Eagles and Eagle Nests” (September 30, 2022)
U.S. HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
H.R.8989 “To lower consumer fuel prices, and for other purposes” Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Oversight and Reform, 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. (September 26, 2022)
H.R.9000 “To amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to establish a Hydrogen Technologies for Heavy Industry Grant Program, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and in addition to the Committees on Energy and Commerce, 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. (September 28, 2022)
H.R.9008 “To increase the size of the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. (September 28, 2022)
H.R.9087 “To restart onshore and offshore oil and gas leasing, streamline permitting for energy infrastructure, ensure transparency in energy development on Federal lands, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committees on Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, Energy and Commerce, and Armed Services, 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. (September 29, 2022)
H.R.9046 “To establish a program to issue rebates for energy efficiency improvements at industrial facilitates, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. (September 29, 2022)
H.Res.1272 “Of inquiry requesting the President to provide certain documents to the House of Representatives relating to plans to declare a “climate emergency” in order to invoke emergency authorities to impose regulations on industrial activity, or the supply and delivery of energy or electric power, in the United States.” Placed on the House Calendar, Calendar No. 132. (September 29, 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.” Placed on the House Calendar, Calendar No. 131. (September 29, 2022)
U.S. SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
S.4983 “A bill to require the Secretary of Energy to establish a program to encourage deployment of electric school buses and vehicle-to-grid technologies and applications, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (September 28, 2022)
S.5009 “A bill to require certain information and financial assistance under the States 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. (September 29, 2022)
STATE ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
PENNSYLVANIA DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION PRESS RELEASES
DEP Provides $2.9 Million to Replace Old Diesel Vehicles with Clean-Energy Models (September 30, 2022)
PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 52, No. 40- October 1, 2022)
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BASIN COMMISSION
52 Pa.B. 6304: Notice: “Actions Taken at September Meeting” (October 1, 2022)
Ethan Durand, Research Assistant
Kendal Ashman, Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler, Staff Attorney