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
EPA Proposes TCEQ Take Over GHG Permitting in Texas
Energy Legal Blog, February 7, 2014
On Tuesday, February 4, 2014, EPA issued a pre-publication copy of a proposed rule that if adopted would transfer greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting in Texas from EPA Region 6 to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The proposed rule has yet to be published in the Federal Register. When it is published, the public [...]
European Union Decision Clears the Way for Fracking Investment
Energy Legal Blog, February 3, 2014
Major news out of Europe confirmed the strongly held belief of many in the energy sector that European states will be the next frontier in the shale gas revolution, and it seems sooner rather than later. In a much anticipated decision, on January 22, 2014, the European Union adopted a series of non-binding recommendations on [...]
TEXAS COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Agendas & Work Sessions
Commissioners' February 26, 2014 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site
Commissioners' February 12, 2014 Agenda Meeting Webcast
In the News:
Study: Idling Hurts Air Quality
Denton Record-Chronicle, February 9, 2014
"A local study of air emissions in the Barnett Shale suggests that trucks serving the oil and gas field spend an average of six hours per trip in extended idling, contributing to air pollution and ozone levels in North Texas."
TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $ 386,735
TCEQ Web Site, February 12, 2014
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $196,888 against 22 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."
What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, February 10, 2014
Impacts of Historic Drought Linger in Texas
Beaumont Enterprise, February 13, 2014
"HOUSTON (AP) - Almost three years have passed since the rains returned and Texas emerged from a historic drought. Yet there still isn't enough water."
TCEQ Defers Decision on Colorado River Rice Farmers
The Texas Tribune, February 12, 2014
"Following hours of heated public testimony, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on Wednesday determined it couldn't yet make a decision on instituting a temporary emergency plan that would likely cut off the flow of water to rice farmers in the Lower Colorado River Basin for the third straight year."
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Environmental Policies and Procedures
79 Federal Register 6740, February 4, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Notice of 30 Day Public Comment Period Regarding the National Interest Determination for TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P.'s Presidential Permit Application
79 Federal Register 6984, February 5, 2014
Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Revisions to the New Source Review (NSR) State Implementation Plan (SIP); Standard Permit for Oil and Gas Facilities and Standard Permit Applicability
79 Federal Register 8861, February 14, 2014
Proposed Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Revisions for Permitting of Particulate Matter With Diameters Less Than or Equal to 2.5 Micrometers (PM2.5)
79 Federal Register 8916, February 14, 2014
Availability of Guidance Documents; Permit Appeals; Citizens' Guide to the Environmental Appeals Board; Superfund Program; Consent Agreements
79 Federal Register 8967, February 14, 2014
Notice of Availability of EPA Documents Regarding Implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act's Underground Injection Control Program Existing Requirements for Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing Activities Using Diesel Fuels
79 Federal Register 8451, February 12, 2014
Proposed Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Revisions to the New Source Review State Implementation Plan; Flexible Permit Program
79 Federal Register 8368, February 12, 2014
Final Rule, Hazardous Waste Management System; Modification of the Hazardous Waste Manifest System; Electronic Manifests
79 Federal Register 7518, February 7, 2014
Annual EPA Enforcement Results Highlight Focus on Major Environmental Violations
EPA Web Site, February 7, 2014
"WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its annual enforcement and compliance results demonstrating a focus on violations that have the most impact on public health."
Notice of Availability and Public Comment Period; Release of Draft Integrated Review Plan for the Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Oxides of Nitrogen
79 Federal Register 7184, February 6, 2014
Publicly Available Tool Reports on Different Types of Pollution
EPA Web Site, February 6, 2014
"DALLAS - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data is now available for the reporting year of 2012."
Comment Request; Draft Supporting Materials for the Science Advisory Board Panel on the Role of Economy-Wide Modeling in U.S. EPA Analysis of Air Regulations
79 Federal Register 6899, February 5, 2014
EPA's 2012 Toxics Release Inventory Shows Air Pollutants Continue to Decline
EPA Web Site, February 4, 2014
"WASHINGTON - Total releases of toxic chemicals decreased 12 percent from 2011-2012, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report released today."
Direct Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Texas; Approval of Texas Motor Vehicle Rule Revisions
79 Federal Register 5287, January 31, 2014
TEXAS RAILROAD COMMISSION
Texas Railroad Commission Sends Warning to Drillers About Flaring
Dallas Business Journal, February 13, 2014
"The State of Texas issued more than 3,000 permits to flare gas on oil wells in 2013, compared to just 651 issued in 2011."
Editorial: For Railroad Commission
Houston Chronicle, February 12, 2104
"The Texas Railroad Commission doesn't regulate railroads."
Editorial: We Recommend Sitton in GOP Race for Railroad Commissioner
Dallas Morning News, February 4, 2014
"This newspaper recommends oil and gas technology executive Ryan Sitton in a four-way GOP primary contest for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission."
OTHER TEXAS ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS
Nuclear Waste Storage on Texas Lawmakers' Agenda
The Texas Tribune, February 12, 2014
"Could Texas' wide-open spaces help solve the country's nuclear waste storage problem?"
Who's Carlos Rubinstein?
Houston Chronicle, February 9, 2014
"AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - To get a sense of the pressure Carlos Rubinstein faces five months into his job as chairman of the Texas Water Development Board, consider this: Not only has he had meetings with dozens of underwriters hoping for a hand in the billions of dollars under his control and fielded questions from civic groups, he also has found himself getting grilled by a 9-year-old girl."
SMU Earthquake, Drilling Findings Are Years Off
Dallas Morning News, February 7, 2014
"Scientists at SMU studying the earthquakes around Azle warned Friday that it would be years before they were able to determine a possible link to nearby natural gas drilling."
Methane Leaks From North American Natural Gas Systems
Science, February 14, 2014
"This study synthesizes the state of knowledge of leakage of gas from natural gas (NG) systems in North America."
Hydraulic Fracturing & Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers
Ceres, February 2014
"This Ceres research paper analyzes escalating water demand in hydraulic fracturing operations across the United States and western Canada."
83rd Legislature Interim Committee Charges
Texas Speaker of the House Web Page, January 31, 2014
"These charges will help every standing committee in the Texas House begin the important work of preparing for the 2015 legislative session."
Source and Fate of Hydraulic Fracturing Water in the Barnett Shale: A Historical Perspective
Environmental Science & Technology, January 27, 2014
"Our objective was to quantify HF water volume in terms of source, reuse, and disposal, using the Barnett Shale in Texas as a case study. Data were obtained from commercial and state databases, river authorities, groundwater conservation districts, and operators."