Texas Environmental Update - December 4, 2013

by Bracewell LLP
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The environmental practice of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP offers seamless, front-rank representation in local, state, national, and cross-border regulatory, enforcement, and litigation matters, as well as experienced counsel on the environmental aspects of transactions and operations across the country and around the world. We are dedicated to helping clients successfully navigate complex and costly environmental issues and to building longstanding client relationships founded on superior advice, integrity, and value. We are pleased to provide you with this issue of Bracewell's Texas Environmental Update, offering the latest news about permitting, enforcement, regulatory developments, and other matters of interest to the regulated community in Texas.

BRACEWELL ALERTS & PUBLICATIONS

Texas Greenhouse Gas Rules: Upcoming Hearing and End of Comment Period
Energy Legal Blog, December 2, 2013
As we discussed in an October post, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has proposed rules to create a greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting program for the state of Texas and take over permitting authority from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Because it hopes to make the transition as quickly as possible, TCEQ is [...]

California Releases New Proposed Regulations Applicable to Oil and Gas Well Treatments
Energy Legal Blog, November 16, 2013
Today, the California Department of Conservation ("DOC") released proposed regulations applicable to oil and gas well stimulation activities in the state. This follows up on the passage of SB 4 back on September 20, 2013, which established the first set of requirements specifically associated with hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation techniques. Previously, in December [...]

TEXAS COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' December 11, 2013 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

Commissioners' November 20, 2013 Agenda Meeting Webcast
TexasAdmin.com

In the News:

Air

State Predicts Air Will Improve
Denton Record-Chronicle, November 16, 2013
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has predicted a dramatic drop in North Texas ozone levels over the next three years, according to a preliminary model of air quality from now through 2018."

Enforcement

TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $700,609
TCEQ Web Site, November 20, 2013
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $496,288 against 21 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, November 22, 2013

Water

LCRA Votes to Cut Off Water to Rice Farmers
Southwest Farm Press, November 22, 2013
"The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Board of Directors, on an 8-7 vote Tuesday, Nov. 20, agreed to ask the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to approve an emergency drought request that would cut off Highland Lakes water to most rice farmers in 2014 if the combined storage of lakes Buchanan and Travis is less than 1.1 million acre feet on March 1 next year."

BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT

BOEM Announces Selection of Dr. William Yancey Brown as Chief Environmental Officer
BOEM Web Site, November 22, 2013
"Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau today announced the selection of Dr. William Yancey Brown, the former chief executive officer of the Woods Hole Research Center, to serve as the bureau's Chief Environmental Officer."

BUREAU OF SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT

60-Day Notice, Information Collection Activities: Application for Permit To Drill; Proposed Collection; Comment Request
78 Federal Register 72688, December 3, 2013

60-Day Notice, Information Collection Activities: Application for Permit To Modify; Proposed Collection; Comment Request
78 Federal Register 72693, December 3, 2013

60-Day Notice, Information Collection Activities: General;
Proposed Collection [BSEE-0011]; Comment Request

78 Federal Register 69118, November 18, 2013

COAST GUARD

Notice; Reopening of Comment Period; Tank Vessel Oil Transfers
78 Federal Register 71633, November 29, 2013

EPA

Draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges From Industrial Activities; Extension of Comment Period
78 Federal Register 72676, December 3, 2013

Final Rule, 2013 Revisions to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule and Final Confidentiality Determinations for New or Substantially Revised Data Elements
78 Federal Register 71904, November 29, 2013

Availability of Federally-Enforceable State Implementation Plans for All States
78 Federal Register 71508, November 29, 2013

Notice of Availability of the Environmental Protection Agency's 2011 Emissions Modeling Platform
78 Federal Register 70935, November 27, 2013

Extension of Comment Period for the Water Quality Standards Regulatory Clarifications Proposed Rule
78 Federal Register 70905, November 27, 2013

Notice of Public Comment Period, Draft Integrated Science Assessment for Nitrogen Oxides-Health Criteria
78 Federal Register 70040, November 22, 2013

Direct Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Control of Air Pollution by Permits for New Construction or Modification; Permits for Specific Designated Facilities
78 Federal Register 69773, November 21, 2013

Notice of Availability, Request for Public Comments; Draft FY 2014-2018 EPA Strategic Plan
78 Federal Register 69412, November 19, 2013

Initiation of Scoping for an Environmental Assessment (EA)
78 Federal Register 68835, November 15, 2013

EPA REGION 6

Draft NPDES General Permit Modification for Discharges From the Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category to Coastal Waters in Texas and Onshore Stripper Well Category East of the 98th Meridian (TXG330000) 
78 Federal Register 72080, December 2, 2013

EPA Finalizes Approval of Public Participation Rules in Texas' Clean-Air Plan
Region 6 Web Site, November 25, 2013
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved Texas' clean-air plan that covers public notification requirements for facilities applying for air permits."

EPA REGION 10

Proposed Issuance of the NPDES General Permit for Oil and Gas Geotechnical Surveying and Related Activities in Federal Waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas
78 Federal Register 70042, November 22, 2013

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

Notice of Availability and Request for Comments, Technical Support Document: Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order No. 12866
78 Federal Register 70586, November 26, 2013

PIPELINE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS SAFETY ADMINISTRATION

Notice and Request for Comments, Pipeline Safety: Information Collection Activities, Revisions to Incident and Annual Reports for Gas Pipeline Operators
78 Federal Register 71033, November 27, 2013

Pipeline Safety: Meeting of the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee and the Liquid Pipeline Advisory Committee
78 Federal Register 70623, November 26, 2013

Notice and Request for Comments, Paperless Hazard Communications Pilot Program
78 Federal Register 70399, November 25, 2013

Notice of Safety Advisory, Safety and Security Plans for Class 3 Hazardous Materials Transported by Rail
78 Federal Register 69745, November 20, 2013

TEXAS RAILROAD COMMISSION

Another Earthquake Makes for a Shaky Black Friday in North Texas
StateImpact Texas, December 2, 2013
"Another earthquake struck near the town of Azle just after midnight Friday, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale. It was the 17th quake in the area around Eagle Mountain Lake (northwest of Fort Worth) in November, the largest a 3.6."

Editorial: To the Railroad Commission: Do More Than Study Azle Quakes
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, November 30, 2013
"For 10 years, the counties around Fort Worth have shared the 100,000-plus jobs, economic development and wealth from horizontal drilling for natural gas in the Barnett Shale."

OTHER TEXAS ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

Fracturing: A Boon for Oil, Remains Controversial
Midland Reporter-Telegram, November 30, 2013
"Hydraulic fracturing, the controversial drilling technique that is driving America's energy boom, has been around for decades."

Fracking Without Freshwater at a West Texas Oilfield
Reuters, November 21, 2013
"At a dusty Texas oilfield, Apache Corp has eliminated its reliance on what arguably could be the biggest long-term constraint for fracking wells in the arid western United States: scarce freshwater."

REPORTS

Anthropogenic Emissions of Methane in the United States
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 25, 2013
"This study quantitatively estimates the spatial distribution of anthropogenic methane sources in the United States by combining comprehensive atmospheric methane observations, extensive spatial datasets, and a high-resolution atmospheric transport model."

Climate Information Needs for Financial Decision Making
American Meteorological Society, November 2013
"We explore four key topics: 1) the conditions and criteria that influence returns on investment of major financial decisions, 2) the climate sensitivity of financial decisions, 3) climate information needs of financial decision makers, and 4) potential new mechanisms to promote collaboration between scientists and financial decision makers."

US Water Report 2013
Carbon Disclosure Project Web Site, 2013
"In this report, CDP and Deloitte Consulting LLP (Deloitte) present results of the analysis based on the water disclosures of 148 S&P 500 companies that participated this year, representing a 43% response rate."

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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