Archives: Energy & Utilities

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Faced with Drought and Water Shortage, California Water Board Can’t Win For Losing

Things couldn’t be going much worse for the California State Water Resources Control Board (“Board”). In the midst of one of California’s worst droughts on record that has seen water levels drop to historic lows in California Reservoirs, Governor Jerry Brown and the Board have been desperate to find and implement ways to conserve water … Continue Reading

Draft US EPA Assessment Finds No Systematic Risk to Drinking Water from Hydraulic Fracturing

Earlier this month, US EPA released its long-awaited draft assessment on the impact of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on the nation’s drinking water resources.  The assessment, titled Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources, represents over four years of study into the potential of hydraulic fracturing to … Continue Reading

US Chamber of Commerce Joins House of Representatives in Calls for Greater Regulatory Transparency From EPA

Recently, the US Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) published its report Truth In Regulating: Restoring Transparency to EPA Rulemaking, criticizing EPA for not providing critical details about the regulatory intent and true costs associated with significant Agency rulemakings.  The Chamber report follows on the heels of last week’s passage of H.R. 1029, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform … Continue Reading

The US BLM Issues Controversial New Fracking Rule

The Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) issued a final rule on March 20, 2015 to regulate hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” on public and American Indian Lands.  Although the new rule has been final for less than three weeks, it is already a source of controversy. In a press release, the BLM explained that the new rules “will … Continue Reading

Ohio Supreme Court Finds That Local Ordinances Conflict With Statewide Statutory Scheme For Permitting of Oil And Gas Operations

On February 17, 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Ohio ex rel. Morrison et al. v. Beck Energy et al.., with a majority of the justices of the high court finding that R.C. §1509.02  gives the Ohio Department of Natural Resources  (ODNR) “sole and exclusive” authority to regulate the permitting, … Continue Reading

MSHA Launches Aggressive Fatality Prevention Initiative in US Metal /Non-Metal Mines

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is rolling out an aggressive fatality prevention initiative in response to a spike in fatalities at metal and non-metal (MNM) mines over the last sixteen months.  Since October 2013, 37 MNM miners have lost their lives, more than double the number of MNM fatalities in the previous three … Continue Reading

Onshore Oil And Gas – Monitoring And Minimising Environmental Degradation In The UK

United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas (“UKOOG”), the representative body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry, have published guidelines for establishing environmental baselines that aim to identify variations in environmental conditions which may be attributable to onshore hydrocarbon activities.  The UKOOG guidelines are summarised below. Industry Regulators The guidelines note that the UK’s onshore hydrocarbon industry … Continue Reading

No Gambling in Las Vegas – At Least When it Comes to the Future of Colorado River Water Rights

Every December, the members of the Colorado River Water Users Association – including water users, federal, tribal, state and local regulators, irrigation districts, engineers, conservationists, and others from all over the southwestern United States — gather at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada to get wild and talk about Colorado River water policy for a … Continue Reading

Environmental Safety and Health Practice Receives National First-Tier Rankings by the US News and World Report

The Squire Patton Boggs Global Environmental, Safety & Health Practice Group has been named among the nation’s best law firms for “Environmental Law” and “Litigation: Environmental” by the US News & World Report. The practice group also earned First-Tier rankings in several metropolitan areas, including: Cleveland; Columbus; Los Angeles; and Phoenix, and was recognized for … Continue Reading

Controversial “Waters of the US” Rule Proposal Draws Criticism as Public Comment Period Expires

The extended public comment period for the US EPA and Army Corp of Engineers’ proposed rule to redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA) expired November 14, 2014.  The proposed rule has come under intense scrutiny for its apparent expansion of CWA jurisdiction.  US EPA received nearly 500,000 public comments … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Appoints Special Master in Interstate Water Dispute

A. Gregory Grimsal has been appointed by the US Supreme Court as the Special Master in State of Texas v. State of New Mexico et al., Case No. 220141 ORG. Special Master Grimsal, a commercial litigation attorney from New Orleans, Louisiana, will now manage the proceedings in the case going forward and eventually recommend a decision to the Court.  … Continue Reading

What the 2014 Mid-Term Congressional Election Results Mean for Key Environmental Issues in the Run Up to the 2016 Presidential Election

Major policy developments that will drive the agenda in Washington DC over the next two years are outlined in Squire Patton Boggs’ 2014 Mid-Term Congressional Elections Analysis, What to Expect From the 114th Congress in the Run-Up to the 2016 Presidential Election.  Key environmental policy developments include the following: Climate Change Look for the President … Continue Reading

Definition of “Waters of the US”: US EPA Science Advisory Board Calls For Less Exclusions, More Jurisdiction

On April 21, 2014, US EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers issued a proposed rule to redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA). As previously reported here, the proposed rule has come under intense scrutiny for its apparent expansion of CWA jurisdiction. Now, recent reports published by US EPA’s … Continue Reading

The UK Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme – An opportunity not to be missed

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (“ESOS”), which came into force in the UK on 17 July 2014, seeks to encourage businesses to identify energy efficiency savings and to adopt good energy management practices. It implements Article 8(4) of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU. Who does ESOS apply to? ESOS is compulsory for all Large … Continue Reading

US EPA Extends Public Comment Period on the Clean Power Plan Until December 1, 2014

In response to widespread requests from states, lawmakers, and industry stakeholders, US EPA announced on September 16, 2014 that it is extending the initial 120-day public comment period for its proposed Clean Power Plan by 45 days until December 1, 2014. As previously reported, the Clean Power Plan proposes guidelines for states to use in developing plans … Continue Reading

US EPA Hears Comments From Stakeholders on Proposed “Clean Power Plan” in Public Hearings in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C.

During the week of July 28, 2014, US EPA hosted a series of hearings in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. to take public comments on the Agency’s proposed rules to cut carbon pollution from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants.  US EPA proposed the “Clean Power Plan” on June 2, 2014, nearly a year after President Obama … Continue Reading

Coal Processor Regulated By US Mine Safety and Health Administration Says Third Circuit

When asked for comment on the recent opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Shamokin Filler Co. v. Fed. Mine Safety and Health Review Comm’n, which held that a coal processor was subject to the jurisdiction of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) instead of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),  Squire Patton … Continue Reading

recent developments set to ease the way for oil and gas companies in the UK seeking to develop onshore gas reserves through hydraulic fracturing (fracking)

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) estimates that fracking activity will pick up “quite quickly” in response to two recent initiatives concerning 1) onshore petroleum exploration and development licences (PEDLs) and 2) underground access rights. DECC estimates that these initiatives will lead to the creation of 6 shale gas well centres, or pads, … Continue Reading

US EPA Establishes New Requirements for Cooling Water Intake Structures at Existing Facilities

On May 19, US EPA finalized a new rule governing cooling water intake structures at existing facilities. US EPA anticipates that the rule will impact approximately 1,065 existing facilities (521 manufacturing facilities and 544 power plants) nationwide that require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The … Continue Reading

US EPA’s 2013 Proposed Power Plant New Source Performance Standards Continue to Raise Concerns

US EPA has its work cut out for it as the Agency begins to review over 10,000 comments submitted concerning its proposed 2013 Clean Air Act New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new power plants through the close of the comment period on May 9, 2014.  US EPA’s work begins just as it plans to release its proposed … Continue Reading

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Announces Tougher Conditions for Horizontal Drilling Near Faults or Areas of Seismic Activity

Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director James Zehringer announced that the Department will include tougher conditions in permits for horizontal drilling for oil and gas near faults or areas of past seismic activity.  The new policy is a response to its investigation of recent seismic events in Poland Township, Mahoning County, Ohio which ODNR described … Continue Reading

US Allowed to Intervene in Rio Grande Compact Dispute Between Texas and New Mexico

On March 31, the US Supreme Court granted the federal government’s petition to intervene in a dispute between Texas and New Mexico over certain terms of the 1938 Rio Grande Compact (State of Texas v. State of New Mexico et al., Case number 22O141 ORG). As we reported here and here, Texas believes the Compact … Continue Reading

It’s All Significant: Proposed US EPA Rule to Expand the Definition of “Waters of the United States” Under the CWA

As part of an effort to streamline implementation of the Clean Water Act (CWA), US EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) released a proposed rule that will establish defined categories of waters that qualify as “waters of the United States” under the CWA and will be subject to its jurisdiction. The proposed rule is a … Continue Reading

US EPA Proposes Changes to Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule for Oil and Gas Industry

On March 10, 2014, US EPA published proposed revisions to its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting requirements for petroleum and natural gas sources under the GHG Reporting Program.  The Program, which was enacted in 2008, collects GHG data from facilities that conduct petroleum and natural gas systems activities, including production, processing, transmission, and distribution and produce … Continue Reading
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