Methane Emissions: DOT and PHMSA Announce Pipeline Repair Funding to Reduce Emissions ⚡
On April 3, 2024, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced that $392 million of funding will be dedicated to modernizing pipeline systems and infrastructure with the stated goal of preventing methane pollution emissions. The funding will be divided amongst 130 projects proposed by municipality and community owned utility companies across 26 states. The selected projects involve repairing or replacing almost 500 miles of pipelines, for what PHMSA has said will result in a reduction of methane pollution equivalent to “taking nearly 10,000 vehicles off the road.” PHMSA announced the first two selected projects as the North Carolina cities of Wilson and Rocky Mount, with announcement of the others coming in the next few weeks at this link. This funding comes from the Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Safety and Modernization grant program, whose purpose is to promote new technology that will help reduce emissions, while protecting public health and creating jobs. More information about the grant program and future funding outlook can be found here.

Natural Gas Storage: Pennsylvania DEP Requests Public Comments on Draft Closure Requirements for Aboveground and Underground Storage Tanks
On Saturday, April 6, 2024, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a notice requesting written comments on draft changes to the technical guidance that establishes the closure requirements for aboveground and underground storage tanks systems. The guidance document is titled, Closure Requirements for Aboveground Storage Tank Systems. The stated purpose of these draft changes is to establish “minimum standards that must be met to comply with the closure requirements for regulated large aboveground storage tanks and aboveground storage tanks situated in underground vaults.” The DEP is authorized to make these changes, which will act to “supplement existing requirements,” under the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act of 1989. The draft closure guidance will apply only to aboveground storage tanks “situated in underground vaults” and those with a capacity greater than 21,000 gallons. Altogether, the 37-page draft provides guidance on the best procedures for “closure notification, tank handling, waste management and disposal, site assessment, sampling requirements, analytical requirements, release reporting, and record keeping.” The public will have until May 6, 2024, to submit their comments to the DEP.

Climate Change: Pennsylvania’s Bucks County Sues Fossil Companies for Climate Change Damages
On March 25, 2024, Bucks County, Pennsylvania sued various fossil fuel industry companies in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County for damages caused by climate change. Bucks County v. BP et al, Mar. 25, 2024.  The complaint alleges claims of strict and negligent products liability, negligence, public and private nuisance, trespass, and civil conspiracy. Defendants include ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66, and the American Petroleum Institute. The complaint alleges that these companies knew of the dangers of climate change, completed research on the alleged negative impacts of fossil fuels, exacerbated the cost of mitigation, and deliberately deceived consumers by misrepresenting themselves as “Climate-Friendly Energy Companies.” The complaint asks the court to hold these companies responsible for past and future damages incurred as a result of these actions.

Offshore Drilling: Texas Federal Circuit Court Upholds License Issued for the Sea Port Oil Terminal
On April 4, 2024, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a license for the construction and operation of the Sea Port Oil Terminal, a substantial deepwater oil facility off the coast of Texas, managed by Enterprise Products Partners LP. Clean Air & Clean Water in Brazoria County v. U.S. Dep’t of Transp. No. 23-60027, (5th Cir. Apr. 4, 2024). The court’s opinion affirms that DOT appropriately considered the environmental impacts of the project and did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act in approving the license.  The court also examined the petitioners’ challenge to the Final Environmental Impact Statement, which they petitioners claimed neglected to include new data showing evidence of the Rice’s whale population in the area. The court found that the new study would not alter the agency’s original analysis because the analysis already considered potential impacts to the Rice’s whale species.




Understanding Agricultural Law – A free monthly Zoom webinar series for all agricultural and rural business advisors. One hour of substantive CLE credit available for Pennsylvania-licensed attorneys at no charge. Recordings and materials from the series, more information, and registration available here.

On Tuesday, April 23, 2024, from 12 noon–1:00 ET, the Penn State Center for Agricultural and Shale Law will conduct the latest installment in its Quarterly Dairy Legal Webinar series. Each quarter’s free one-hour webinar covers the legal and regulatory developments in the U.S. dairy industry from the preceding quarter, as well as including an in-depth look at a single focus topic of law, regulation, or government policy of interest to dairy professionals of all kinds.

On May 4, 2024, from 9:30am–3:00pm (ET), Penn State Extension will present “Succession Planning for Forest Landowners” at the Dauphin County Extension in Dauphin, PA. Center Staff Attorney Brook Duer will present as part of the program.

Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw—Top #ShaleLaw HotLinks 

EQT to sell some natgas assets in Pennsylvania to Equinor USA (Reuters)

The United States exported a record volume of natural gas in 2023 (EIA)

CNX Completing $20 Million Fresh Water Pipeline To Serve Future Shale Gas Drilling, And Potentially Local Communities As An Alternative To The Westmoreland Municipal Authority (PA Environment Digest)

Texas earthquake could further restrict oil companies’ saltwater disposal options (Reuters)

US asks court to revisit decision to shut down portion of Enbridge’s Line 5 (Oil & Gas Journal)

Connect with us on Facebook.

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

Oil & Gas Law & Policy Resources:

Bloomberg, US Regional Banks Dramatically Step Up Loans to Oil and Gas (April 14, 2024)

Sartain, How Exclusive is an “Exclusive” Pipeline Servitude? (April 16, 2024)

Abel, Mixed Signals for Domestic Climate Law: The Climate Rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (April 17, 2024)

Fralick, et al., Illuminating a Path to a Cleaner and More Resilient Energy System in Cuba (April 17, 2024)

Energy Connects, ADNOC to redeem exchangeable bonds in ADNOC Distribution upon maturity in June 2024 (April 18, 2024)

Tigre, Exploring the Intersection of Human Rights and the Climate Crisis: Insights from new “Advisory Opinion on Climate Change” Report (April 19, 2024)



DOE Releases New Report on Accelerating Deployment of Grid Solutions to Lower Costs and Improve Reliability (April 16, 2024)

DOE Finalizes Four Consensus-based Efficiency Standards to Save Americans Billions on Utility Bills (April 16, 2024)

DOE Releases First-Ever Roadmap to Accelerate Connecting More Clean Energy Projects to the Nation’s Electric Grid (April 17, 2024)

DOE Releases New Report Outlining Solutions to Meet Growing Electricity Demand (April 17, 2024)

Biden-Harris Administration Awards First State Funding and Announces Progress on Historic $8.8 Billion Home Energy Rebate Programs to Lower Utility Bills (April 18, 2024)

Biden-Harris Administration Announces First Projects Receiving Clean Energy Manufacturing Investments in America’s Industrial and Energy Communities (April 19, 2024)


Biden-Harris Administration Finalizes Critical Rule to Clean up PFAS Contamination to Protect Public Health (April 19, 2024)

EPA Issues Emergency Fuel Waiver for E-15 Sales (April 19, 2024)

EPA New England issues three air permits for offshore wind farm projects (April 16, 2024)

EPA finalizes permit following public comment period to bring the largest offshore wind farm project to Virginia’s coast (April 12, 2024)

FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register April 13, 2024– April 19, 2024)

Environmental Protection Agency

89 FR 27842: Rule: “Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium-Duty Vehicles” (April 18, 2024)

89 FR 27392: Rule: “Other Solid Waste Incinerators; Air Curtain Incinerators Title V Permitting Provisions” (April 17, 2024)

89 FR 26817: Proposed Rule, Comments Close 5/16/24: “Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; State of California; Coachella Valley; Extreme Attainment Plan for 1997 8-Hour Ozone Standards” (April 16, 2024)

89 FR 26835: Proposed Rule: “Petition To Remove the Stationary Combustion Turbines Source Category From the List of Categories of Major Sources of Hazardous Air Pollutants” (April 16, 2024)

89 FR 26813: Proposed Rule, Comments Close 5/16/24: “Air Plan Revisions; Arizona; Maricopa County Air Quality Department” (April 16, 2024)

89 FR 27288: Rule: “Clean Water Act Methods Update Rule for the Analysis of Effluent” (April 16, 2024)

89 FR 26620: Proposed Rule, Comments Close 6/14/24: “Review of the Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Oxides of Nitrogen, Oxides of Sulfur, and Particulate Matter” (April 15, 2024)

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

89 FR 27006: Rule: “Improvements to Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements” (April 16, 2024)

Energy Department

89 FR 28856: Rule: “Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for General Service Lamps” (April 19, 2024)

Land Management Bureau

89 FR 26904: Notice: “Public Meeting for the Missouri Basin Resource Advisory Council” (April 16, 2024)

Other Agencies

89 FR 28797: Notice: “Adoption of Categorical Exclusions Under Section 109 of the National Environmental Policy Act” (April 19, 2024)

89 FR 28812: Notice, Comments Close 5/20/24: “Petition for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory Safety Standards” (April 19, 2024)

89 FR 28808: Notice, Comments Close 5/20/24: “Petition for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory Safety Standards” (April 19, 2024)

89 FR 26915: Notice, Comments Close 6/17/24: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Accounts Receivable Confirmations Reporting” (April 16, 2024)


H.R.8022 “To amend the Natural Gas Act to establish a deadline for the review of applications for natural gas export and import orders, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. (April 16, 2024)


S.4190 “A bill to require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to promulgate regulations that accelerate the interconnection of electric generation and storage resources to the transmission system through more efficient and effective interconnection procedures.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (April 18, 2024)

S.4171 “A bill to amend the Natural Gas Act to protect consumers from excessive rates, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (April 18, 2024)

S.4140 “A bill to require the Secretary of Energy to identify, analyze, and share available data for the purpose of improving the reliability and resilience of the electric grid, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (April 17, 2024)



Shapiro Administration Honors 22 Projects Statewide with 2024 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence (April 15, 2024)

PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 54, No. 16 – April 20, 2024)

Department of Environmental Protection

54 Pa.B. 2172: Notices: “Interstate Pollution Transport Reduction; Final 2024 Ozone Season Nitrogen Oxide Emission Limits for Nonelectric Generating Units”

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission

54 Pa.B.2193: Notices: “Electric Generation Supplier License Cancellation of Companies with an Expired Financial Security, Insufficient Financial Security Amount or Language”

54 Pa.B.2195: Notices: “Service of Notice of Motor Carrier Formal Complaints”

Pennsylvania Legislature

HB 254 “An Act authorizing the Department of Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Department of General Services to lease certain submerged lands within Erie County and associated wind, water and solar resources for the assessment, development, construction and operation of utility scale offshore wind, solar or kinetic energy generation facilities; providing for collection of certain lease and royalty payments; establishing the Lake Erie Large-Scale Energy System Development Fund; and providing for distributions and transfers from the fund.” Third consideration and final passage, (102-99) [House] (April 16, 2024)


Written by:
Kendal Ashman, Research Assistant
Kole Zellers, Research Assistant
Jasmine Gunning, Research Assistant
Sergio Porras, Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler, Staff Attorney