Hydraulic Fracturing: Delaware River Basin Commission Votes to Ban Wastewater Discharge from Hydraulic Fracturing
On December 7, 2022, the Delaware River Basin Commission announced it had voted 4-0, with the federal government abstaining, to ban the discharge of wastewater into the Delaware River Basin from hydraulic fracturing. The rule also “discourages, limits, and places conditions on” the importation of water into the Basin. The rule will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
GHG Emissions: DOE Announces Proposed Rule to Decarbonize Federal Buildings
On December 7, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy announced it had issued a proposed rule to require reduction of emissions and eventual decarbonization of federal buildings. The rule would require federal buildings to reduce emissions from energy consumption by 90% from 2003 levels, starting in 2025, and eliminate fossil fuel usage completely by 2030.
Oil and Gas Leasing: Energy Groups File Lawsuit Against DOI for Failure to Hold Lease Sales
On December 5, 2022, the Western Energy Alliance and Petroleum Association of Wyoming filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, seeking review of the Bureau of Land Management’s failure to hold lease sales since June 2022. W. Energy All. v. Haaland, Civil Case No. 1:22-cv-252. The lawsuit claims that BLM’s failure to hold lease sales violates the Mineral Leasing Act, which requires lease sales to be held for each state “at least quarterly.”
State Regulation: Environmental Group Sues California for Approving New Oil and Gas Wells
On December 1, 2022, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the California Geologic Energy Management Division in the Superior Court of California for Alameda County, alleging the division failed to allow public comment or sufficient independent review of new oil and gas drilling projects. Ctr. For Biological Diversity v. Cal. Geologic Energy Mgmt. Div. The lawsuit, which seeks to invalidate seventeen permits, also claims the division failed to post notice of its approval of the oil and gas wells and relied on outdated environmental analyses.
National Energy Policy: EPA Issues Proposed Rule for Renewable Fuel Standards and Obligations
On December 1, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it had issued a new proposed rule for volume standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard. The proposed rule would reduce oil imports and increase volumes of biofuels in the nation’s fuel supply. Next, the EPA will seek public comment and conduct a public hearing in January 2023.
Pipelines: National Park Service Approves Dominion Energy Pipeline in Blue Ridge Parkway Boundary
On November 30, 2022, the National Park Service issued a press release announcing its Finding of No Significant Impact for an underground natural gas pipeline by Dominion Energy along North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Parkway in Buncombe County. The NPS addressed public comments on water resources, emissions, safety, and pipeline placement in its appendix to the Finding.
Oil & Gas Law & Policy Resources:
Silverman-Roati & Tigre, MUNICIPALITIES OF PUERTO RICO V. EXXON: A UNIQUE CLASS ACTION AGAINST FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES PRESSES FOR CLIMATE ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE UNITED STATES (December 2, 2022)
McFarland, Hahn v. ConocoPhillips — another case on fractional vs. fraction of royalty (December 5, 2022)
Energy Connects, Petronas and ADNOC sign unconventional oil deal (December 6, 2022)
Wentz, NEW ARTICLE EXAMINES HOW PLAINTIFFS CAN ESTABLISH CAUSATION IN FOSSIL FUEL DISINFORMATION LAWSUITS (December 6, 2022)
Sartain & Blakey, A Harsh Result From a Lopsided Indemnity Agreement (December 6, 2022)
Markowitz, et al., This Week’s Climate Policy Update (December 6, 2022)
Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw—Top #ShaleLaw HotLinks December 3– December 9, 2022:
EU agrees on a $60/bbl price cap on Russian oil (Oil & Gas Journal)
Connect with us on Facebook.
Penn State Farmland Energy Legal Podcast: Listen to the latest episode here.
FEDERAL ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
DOE Announces $8 Million to Integrate Solar Energy Production with Farming (December 8, 2022)
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Registration Open for EPA Virtual Public Hearing on EPA’s Supplemental Proposal to Cut Methane Pollution to Protect Communities, Combat Climate Change, and Bolster American Innovation (December 6, 2022)
NEWS UPDATE: TC Energy Pipeline Oil Discharge Near Washington, Kansas (December 8, 2022)
FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register December 3–December 9, 2022):
87 FR 74850: Proposed Rule, Comments Close 2/6/23: “Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Circulator Pumps” (December 6, 2022)
Environmental Protection Agency
87 FR 75625: Notice: “Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of Availability” (December 9, 2022)
87 FR 75334: Rule: “Federal Implementation Plan for Managing Emissions From Oil and Natural Gas Sources on Indian Country Lands Within the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation in Utah” (December 8, 2022)
87 FR 74702: Proposed Rule, Comments Close 1/5/23: “Standards of Performance for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources and Emissions Guidelines for Existing Sources: Oil and Natural Gas Sector Climate Review” (December 6, 2022)
87 FR 74356: Proposed Rule, Comments Close January 4, 2023: “Air Plan Approval; Tennessee; Revisions to Control of Sulfur Dioxide Emissions” (December 5, 2022)
87 FR 74379: Proposed Rule, Comments Close 2/3/23: “Changes to Reporting Requirements for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances and to Supplier Notifications for Chemicals of Special Concern; Community Right-to-Know Toxic Chemical Release Reporting” (December 5, 2022)
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
87 FR 75248: Notice: “Rio Grande LNG, LLC; Notice of Schedule for the Preparation of an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Carbon Capture and Sequestration System Amendment” (December 8, 2022)
87 FR 75206: Proposed Rule, Comments Close 2/6/23: “Clarification to the Applicability of Emergency Exemptions” (December 8, 2022)
87 FR 75040: Notice: “Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys Related to Oil and Gas Activities in the Gulf of Mexico” (December 7, 2022)
87 FR 74604: Notice: “Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys Related to Oil and Gas Activities in the Gulf of Mexico” (December 6, 2022)
U.S. SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
S.5217: “A bill to promote the diligent development of Federal oil and gas leases, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (December 8, 2022)
S.5205 “A bill to amend the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to require the Secretary of Energy to establish an abandoned wells research, development, and demonstration program, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (December 7, 2022)
STATE ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 52, No. 50 December 10, 2022)
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
52 Pa.B. 7566 Notice: “Coal Mining Reclamation Fee Amount for 2023”
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BASIN COMMISSION
Environmental Quality Board
52 Pa.B. 7635 Rules and Regulations “Control of VOC Emissions from Conventional Oil and Natural Gas Sources.”
52 Pa.B. 7587 Rules and Regulations “Control of VOC Emissions from Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Sources.”
Ethan Durand, Research Assistant
Kendal Ashman, Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler, Staff Attorney