Texas Environmental Update - December 20, 2013

by Bracewell LLP

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.


Mexican Federal Congress Approves Important Constitutional Energy Reform Bill
Energy Legal Blog, December 13, 2013
As we previously reported, on August 12, 2013, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto submitted a highly anticipated constitutional reform proposal to the Mexican Congress for purposes of restructuring the Mexican energy sector, including oil, gas, petrochemical, and power, by allowing greater private participation in the Mexican energy market (the "Bill"). Following this proposal by President [...]

Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' December 11, 2013 Agenda Meeting Webcast

In the News:


TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $781,154
TCEQ Web Site, December 11, 2013
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $688,082 against 36 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, December 13, 2013


Leaking Landfills Fuel Contamination Concerns Across State
myFOXLubbock.com, December 18, 2013
"A report by the Texas Campaign for the Environment says 40 percent of the nearly 200 active landfills in Texas are leaking toxins, and one of Lubbock's two landfills is on the list."

Frisco Targets New Area for Cleanup of Lead
Dallas Morning News, December 6, 2013
"Frisco is targeting another area contaminated by Exide Technologies' operations for cleanup."


TCEQ Colorado River Decision of Concern to All Texas Agriculture
Southwest Farm Press, December 17, 2013
"A decision expected in January from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will have an immediate and possibly devastating effect on Texas rice production, but the precedent set could put all of Texas agriculture in jeopardy."

Texas Versus New Mexico Water Lawsuit Should Move Forward
TCEQ Web Site, December 11, 2013
"In an important legal action, the U.S. Solicitor General's office said Tuesday that the State of Texas has provided enough legal evidence at this stage to move forward with its water compact dispute case against the state of New Mexico before the U.S. Supreme Court."


Direct Final Rule, Standards of Performance for Petroleum Refineries for Which Construction, Reconstruction, or Modification Commenced After May 14, 2007
78 Federal Register 76753, December 19, 2013

Reports on Pavillion Water Pollution Delayed
Beaumont Enterprise, December 18, 2013
"CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Residents near Pavillion will have to wait longer to find out more about what might have caused contamination in their well water."

EPA Releases Chemical Screening Data on 1,800 Chemicals
EPA Web Site, December 17, 2013
"WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the release of chemical screening data accessible through the new interactive Chemical Safety for Sustainability or iCSS Dashboard."

Final Rule, Prevention of Significant Deterioration for Particulate Matter Less Than 2.5 Micrometers - Significant Impact Levels and Significant Monitoring Concentration: Removal of Vacated Elements
78 Federal Register 73698, December 9, 2013

Final Rule, Ocean Dumping; Sabine-Neches Waterway (SNWW) Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site Designation
78 Federal Register 73097, December 5, 2013

Final Rule, Electronic Reporting Under the Toxic Substances Control Act
78 Federal Register 72818, December 4, 2013


Notice of Availability; Request for Comments; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Enhancement of Survival Permit Application; Draft Oil and Gas Candidate Conservation Agreement With Assurances for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken; Draft Environmental Assessment
78 Federal Register 76639, December 18, 2013

Proposed Rule; Revision and Reopening of Comment Period; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as a Threatened Species With a Special Rule
78 Federal Register 75306, December 11, 2013

Final Rule, Eagle Permits; Changes in the Regulations Governing Eagle Permitting
78 Federal Register 73704, December 9, 2013


Request for Information, Process Safety Management and Prevention of Major Chemical Accidents
78 Federal Register 73756, December 9, 2013


Waste Disposal Raises Eagle Ford Water Concerns
Midland Reporter-Telegram, December 17, 2013
"STOCKDALE - On the pecan-dotted, rolling ranch her family has owned since 1875, Odell Zarsky's wells ran dry this summer."


Vast Rio Grande a Source of Numerous Legal Battles
The Texas Tribune, December 15, 2013
"LAREDO - Many Texans who live along the border with Mexico share the legend of La Llorona, a repentant mother who is said to have drowned her children in the Rio Grande."

Here's Why the West Disaster Could Happen Again
Dallas Morning News, December 14, 2013
"In the ritual of modern disaster politics, catastrophes are closely followed by elected officials on the scene to praise local grit and promise swift relief."

Texas Supreme Court to Mull Underground Trespassing
The Texas Tribune, December 6, 2013
"A case involving the disposal of industrial wastewater pits two interests that are dear to many Texans against each other: oil and gas resources versus private property rights."


Multimodel Assessment of Water Scarcity Under Climate Change
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December 16, 2013
"Here we use a large ensemble of global hydrological models (GHMs) forced by five global climate models and the latest greenhouse-gas concentration scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathways) to synthesize the current knowledge about climate change impacts on water resources."

Gas Rush: Increasing Greenhouse Gas Emissions From New Oil, Gas, and Chemical Plants
Environmental Integrity Project Web Site, December 5, 2013
"The shale gas boom has unleashed a tidal wave of proposals to build new compressors and pipelines, and expand chemical, fertilizer, and petroleum plants that depend on natural gas for feedstock or fuel."

Lower Rio Grande Basin Study
Bureau of Reclamation Web Site, December 2013
"The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the Rio Grande Regional Water Authority (RGRWA) with its 53 member entities, in collaboration with other Texas water and environmental agencies, and the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) conducted the cost-shared Basin Study to evaluate the impacts of climate variability and change on water supply imbalances within an eight-county region (State of Texas water planning Region M) along the U.S./Mexico border in south Texas."

Chevron Richmond Refinery Pipe Rupture and Fire, Regulatory Report, Draft for Public Comment
U.S. Chemical Safety Board, December 2013
"The following report fulfills the CSB's commitment to examine whether the implementation of the safety case regulatory regime could be a more effective regulatory tool to achieve major accident prevention for California petroleum refineries."

Use of Internal Carbon Price by Companies as Incentive and Strategic Planning Tool
CDP Web Site, December 2013
"According to findings from CDP's annual disclosure process in 2013, many major publicly traded companies operating or based in the United States have integrated an 'internal carbon price' as a core element in their ongoing business strategies."

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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