Texas Environmental Update - January 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.


EPA Issues NPDES Permit That Includes Limited Chemical Disclosure Requirements for Oil and Gas Operations Offshore California
Energy Legal Blog, January 10, 2014
Region 9 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency yesterday made available the finalized National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit applicable to discharges from oil and gas exploration facilities offshore Southern California. NPDES General Permit No. CAG280000 (2014 NPDES General Permit), issued under provisions of the Clean Water Act, authorizes discharges from exploration, development [...]

Pa. Supreme Court Strikes Down Fracking Zoning Law: Governor Tom Corbett Contests the Ruling
Energy Legal Blog, January 9, 2014
On December 19, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (the "Court") largely affirmed a 2012 ruling by the state's Commonwealth Court, which struck down several provisions of a law known as Act 13 (the "Act"). The Act created guidelines for natural gas drilling in the state, and included a provision restricting the power of local governments [...]

EPA Adopts New Standard for Conducting All Appropriate Inquiries
Energy Legal Blog, December 30, 2013
In a rule published on December 30, 2013 and effective immediately upon publication, EPA formally adopts a new standard for conducting All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) at potentially contaminated sites. 78 Fed. Reg. 79319. The AAI rule outlines steps for potential property purchasers to take to claim a limitation on CERCLA liability connected to purchased property. [...]


Agendas & Work Sessions

Commissioners' January 29, 2014 Meeting Agenda
TCEQ Web Site

Commissioners' January 15, 2014 Agenda Meeting Webcast

In the News:


TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $910,673
TCEQ Web Site, January 15, 2014
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $743,616 against 34 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations."

Tanker Cleaning Company Fined $1.2M in Texas
Beaumont Enterprise, January 14, 2014
"AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A tanker cleaning company and a manager have paid $1.2 million in fines to settle hazardous waste complaints at a facility in the Houston area."

TCEQ Opens Public Comment Period on Revised Penalty Policy Proposal
TCEQ Web Site, January 6, 2014
"Beginning today the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is accepting comments on a proposal to revise the agency's penalty policy."

Regulatory Developments

What's New in TCEQ Rules
TCEQ Web Site, January 10, 2014


Cleanup Costs Elusive More Than a Year After Exide's Closure in Frisco
Dallas Morning News, December 25, 2013
"Total costs to clean up contamination in Frisco are still up in the air more than a year after the Exide Technologies plant closed."

Other TCEQ News

Zak Covar Appointed TCEQ Commissioner
TCEQ Web Site, January 13, 2014
"Gov. Rick Perry Friday appointed Zak Covar to serve as TCEQ Commissioner, effective immediately."


Notice of Availability and Request for Comments, Draft Guidance for Interpreting Regulations for Marine Casualty Reporting
79 Federal Register 2466, January 14, 2014

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Harmonization of Standards for Fire Protection, Detection, and Extinguishing Equipment
79 Federal Register 2254, January 13, 2014

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Marine Casualty Reporting on the Outer Continental Shelf
79 Federal Register 1780, January 10, 2014


Notice of Availability of the Environmental Protection Agency's 2018 Emissions Modeling Platform
79 Federal Register 2437, January 14, 2014

Proposed Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Reasonably Available Control Technology for the 1997 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard
79 Federal Register 1612, January 9, 2014

Direct Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Texas; Environmental Speed Limit Revision for the Dallas/Fort Worth 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area
79 Federal Register 1596, January 9, 2014

Proposed Rule, Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units
79 Federal Register 1430, January 8, 2014

Withdrawal of Proposed Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units
79 Federal Register 1352, January 8, 2014

Withdrawal of Proposed Rule; Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Procedures for Stringency Determinations and Minor Permit Revisions for Federal Operating Permits
79 Federal Register 1349, January 8, 2014

EPA's Reproposed Carbon Limits Include Separate Standards for Coal, Gas Units
Bloomberg BNA, January 8, 2014
"The Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to publish reproposed carbon dioxide limits for new power plants Jan. 8, setting separate standards for coal-fired and natural gas-fired generating units."

Withdrawal of 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
79 Federal Register 551, January 6, 2014

Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Texas; Revisions to Rules and Regulations for Control of Air Pollution; Permitting of Grandfathered Facilities
79 Federal Register 577, January 6, 2014

Withdrawal of 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
79 Federal Register 551, January 6, 2014

Petition to Add the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry, Standard Industrial Classification Code 13, to the List of Facilities Required to Report Under the Toxics Release Inventory; Notice of Receipt of Petition
79 Federal Register 393, January 3, 2014

Final Rule, Hazardous Waste Management System: Conditional Exclusion for Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Streams in Geologic Sequestration Activities
79 Federal Register 350, January 3, 2014

Final Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Attainment Demonstration for the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria 1997 8- Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area
79 Federal Register 57, January 2, 2014

Proposed Rule, Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Texas; Stage II Vapor Recovery Program and Control of Air Pollution From Volatile Organic Compounds
78 Federal Register 79340, December 30, 2013

Final Rule, Amendment to Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries Under CERCLA
78 Federal Register 79319, December 30, 2013

Proposed 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
78 Federal Register 77621, December 24, 2013


Notice of Availability of Final NPDES General Permit; Reissuance of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration, Development and Production Operations Off Southern California
79 Federal Register 1643, January 9, 2014


Proposed Rule; Notice of Availability and Reopening of Comment Period; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Endangered Status for the Georgetown Salamander and Salado Salamander
79 Federal Register 800, January 7, 2014

Notice of Availability; Request for Comment; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Recovery Plan for the Gulf Coast Jaguarundi
79 Federal Register 661, January 6, 2014


Notice, Request for Comments; Draft Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammals - Acoustic Threshold Levels for Onset of Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts
78 Federal Register 78822, December 27, 2013


Proposed Rule; Extension of Comment Period; Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
79 Federal Register 778, January 7, 2014


Parker, Wise Residents Vow to Confront State Officials About Quakes
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, January 14, 2014
"AZLE - Armed with the battle cry 'Shake the earth in Austin!' residents of Parker and Wise counties on Monday vowed to pack the next meeting of the Texas Railroad Commission to demand answers about the earthquakes that have rattled their communities since November."


Review: Site's Groundwater, Soil Cleanup Working
Beaumont Enterprise, January 15, 2014
"LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - The effort to clean up soil and groundwater contamination at the nation's only plant for assembling and disassembling nuclear weapons has been effective so far and will continue for years, according to the first five-year review of the site."

Texas High Court Ruling Gives Hope to Landowners in Eminent Domain Fight
Miami Herald, January 14, 2014
"TransCanada, the energy company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, was ordered by the Texas State Supreme Court last week to submit information on its use of eminent domain - an action that keeps a key landowner lawsuit alive."


Texas Water Report: Going Deeper for the Solution
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, January 2014
"In this report, we revisit the issue of drought, with a new focus on the larger issue of Texas' water supplies, an essential resource that can bolster our economic growth - or limit it."

Reduced Emissions of CO2, NOx and SO2 From U.S. Power Plants Due to the Switch from Coal to Natural Gas with Combined Cycle Technology
Earth's Future, January 8, 2014
"Concerns have been raised about the impact of atmospheric emissions associated with these production methods and their effects on climate and air quality."

Drought and the Water - Energy Nexus in Texas
Environmental Research Letters, December 20, 2013
"Although water use for gas production is controversial, these data show that water saved by using natural gas combined cycle plants relative to coal steam turbine plants is 25-50 times greater than the amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing to extract the gas."

Changes Needed If Key EPA Program Is to Help Fulfill the Nation's Water Quality Goals
Government Accountability Office, December 2013
"GAO was asked to examine the TMDL program, specifically (1) EPA's and states' responsibilities in developing and implementing TMDLs, (2) what is known about the status of long-established TMDLs, (3) the extent to which such TMDLs contain features key to attaining water quality standards, and (4) the extent to which TMDLs exhibit factors that facilitate effective implementation."

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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