Texas Environmental Update - February 28, 2014

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.


Beyond Shale: Are Methane Hydrates the Next Energy Source?
Energy Legal Blog, February 24, 2014
Beyond Shale: Are methane hydrates the next energy source? The energy of the future could lie buried deep underneath the world's oceans and the Arctic permafrost. Methane hydrates, also known as "flammable ice," are vast reservoirs of natural gas trapped in ice-like crystals and hold out the potential to alter trade flows and reshape the [...]

Will the Ban on Oil Exports Stop the Fracking Boom?
Energy Legal Blog, February 21, 2014
The fracking revolution marches on as more and more oil and natural gas is extracted from the continental U.S. and delivered to market. In a development almost no one predicted even several years ago aggregate production of oil and gas within the United States is tops in the world, outpacing both Russia and Saudi Arabia. [...]


Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' February 26, 2014 Agenda Meeting Webcast

In the News:


Luminant Wins Ruling in Pollution Suit, Sierra Club Says
Bloomberg, February 26, 2014
"Energy Future Holdings Corp. and its Luminant Generation unit, the largest power generator in Texas, won a ruling in a lawsuit accusing it of violating U.S. air pollution standards at its Big Brown plant near Longview, according to the company and the Sierra Club."

Honeycutt: Proposed Ozone Standards Are Based on Contradictions
Houston Chronicle, February 22, 2014
"Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released two draft ozone documents signaling their plans to lower the ozone standard."


TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $563,170
TCEQ Web Site, February 26, 2014
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $506,715 against 24 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, February 21, 2014


Frisco Accuses Exide of Being In Default of Agreement
CBS 11 News, February 25, 2014
"It's been nearly two years since the city of Frisco and Exide Technologies agreed to shut down and demolish the battery recycling plant."


Irrigation Water Cut, but Central Texans Worry Over Supply
The Texas Tribune, February 26, 2014
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality voted Wednesday to cut off water deliveries to most rice farmers in the Lower Colorado River Basin for the third straight year."


Proposed Rule, Consumer Price Index Adjustments of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 Limit of Liability for Offshore Facilities
79 Federal Register 10056, February 24, 2014


Final Rule, Revisions to Test Methods and Testing Regulations
79 Federal Register 11228, February 27, 2014

Notice of Data Availability, Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units
79 Federal Register 10750, February 26, 2014

Supreme Court Weighs EPA Powers on Clean Air
Washington Times, February 24, 2014
"A divided Supreme Court grappled Monday with just how much power Congress intended to give the EPA in the Clean Air Act, in a case that could determine how much of an end run President Obama can do around Capitol Hill as he seeks to impose his own solutions to climate change."

Notice of Document Availability and Request for Comments; Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2012
79 Federal Register 10143, February 24, 2014

Proposed Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Withdrawal of Federal Implementation Plan; Texas; Prevention of Significant Deterioration; Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule Revisions
79 Federal Register 9123, February 18, 2014


Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; Non-Federal Oil and Gas Development Within the National Wildlife Refuge System
79 Federal Register 10080, February 24, 2014

Proposed Rule, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Special Rule for the Georgetown Salamander
79 Federal Register 10077, February 24, 2014

Final Rule, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of Threatened Species Status for the Georgetown Salamander and Salado Salamander Throughout Their Ranges
79 Federal Register 10236, February 24, 2014


Withdrawal of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Hazardous Materials: Cargo Tank Motor Vehicle Loading and Unloading Operations
79 Federal Register 10461, February 25, 2014


Lack of Coal-Waste Oversight Is Under Fire After Giant Spill
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 26, 2014
"WASHINGTON - A massive North Carolina coal waste spill into a major river is increasing pressure on the Obama administration to start policing the more than 1,000 such waste storage sites across the nation."


Complaints Regarding Debris Management at the West, Texas, Fertilizer Plant Explosion Have Been Addressed
EPA Office of Inspector General Web Page, February 24, 2014
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General received an anonymous hotline complaint about the EPA's management of debris at the Adair Green Inc. Fertilizer Plant explosion site in West, Texas, known as the West Fertilizer explosion."

Draft Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2012
EPA Web Site, February 2014
"This inventory adheres to both (1) a comprehensive and detailed set of methodologies for estimating sources and sinks of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, and (2) a common and consistent mechanism that enables Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to compare the relative contribution of different emission sources and greenhouse gases to climate change."

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes
National Academy of Sciences, 2014
"The Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences, with their similar missions to promote the use of science to benefit society and to inform critical policy debates, offer this new publication as a key reference document for decision makers, policy makers, educators, and other individuals seeking authoritative answers about the current state of climate-change science."

Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale; Big Oil and Bad Air on the Texas Prairie
Weather Channel, 2014
"Our eight-month investigation reveals the dangers that come with releasing a toxic soup of chemicals into the air and just how little the government of Texas knows - or wants to know - about it."

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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